This year, the SC12 “Supercomputing” conference was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and once again the CCNI had a booth at the conference. As usual, the conference was very interesting. We heard Michio Kaku’s vision of how pervasive computing could lead to a new boom in economic growth. We learned about the Blue Brain project, a proposal to simulate the human brain using supercomputers, based on fundamentals on how neurons operate rather than simply imitating the activity as is done with “artificial intelligence.” Many talks were about the convergence of cloud computing with supercomputing. Another theme was the need to co-design future computer architectures with programming models. This is because exascale computing will require vast amounts of electricity, unless our computer architectures change, particularly with respect to memory. As usual, the exhibit hall was amazing.
But also notable was Salt Lake City itself! It has snowed the day before I arrived. In every direction but west, mountains were visible. (The Great Salt Lake lay to the west. I saw it from the plane, but never from the ground.) There is a lot of construction going on, but also some pretty older architecture. Kitty corner from my hotel was city hall. Several mornings I was awed by the mountains, with the early morning sun shining on them.