Tools and Techniques to start with HPC

Previous to the event

A group of interns from different fields in computer science at ORNL decided to share our experiences with a topic we consider we are passionate to work with. Kirsten, Xequing, Kuldeep, Ben and myself shared a couple of lunch to organize the event and thanks to the help of Sherry, the event was published at OLCF website.  We set the event date to July 13.

During the event

Getting started with basic Linux commands

I started by giving an overview of the basic rules in GNU/Linux and highlighting the importance of this Operating System in supercomputers around the world and in ORNL.I tried to focus the Linux commands to support daily operations in the world of newbies in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. This workshop lasted an hour and a half, switching from a little lecturing and hands-on of around 40 essential commands.Git basic commands

Mark Coletti was in charge of the Git talk, he gave an hour of overview, gave reasons and importance of this tool for projects and provided useful links to start to practice with it!

First look into Parallel Computing

Kirsten Hess talked about Parallel computing concepts during her first hour and then after the break, she led a hands-on workshop using OpenMP for Unix flavours computers.Interact with Python for the first time

Kuldeep Kurte gave a glance of Python in an hour.  He covered aspects such as types and basic functions to work with data on Anaconda and Python using GNU/Linux.Introduction to containers in HPC

Thanks to Benjamin, we knew more about containers, the difference with a virtual machine and how a container in ORNL works. It was an hour of a lecture-oriented talk.Diving into Deep Learning

This is a trending topic, but really few people, especially interns have a clear idea of what deep learning means. Thanks to Xequing Deng, we were able to understand more about it.

Registration and attendances

Thanks to Sheila and Sherry to support the day of the event with the registration of the attendees and the interns who were there the whole day. Glad to see women that want to learn more about HPC as well as the interns who did interesting questions.

Winners of the trivia

I dared to ask attendances during my talk questions related to GNU/Linux in supercomputers and thanks to ORISE, the ORNL Federal Credit Union we were able to prize the participants. Janice Greenwood also donated a Red Hat (beige sport hat) for our winners. Here are some of them during my workshop:


Thank you so much to Jayson Hines for the support, Dr. Arthur and Elizabeth from ORISE  for the gifts to participants, Sheila, Sherry and Ashely, the speakers and the participants.

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Introduction to HPC at ORNL

There was an event running by OLCF for three days (June 26-28) focused on new people to HPC or those who need a refresher on basic HPC skills. Hands-on workshops were included and it was open to everybody around the world.

My impressions of the first day:

It started with an overview of the structure of Summit and Titan, we were able to login into Titan and practice UNIX commands as well as learn more trick using VI as Linux editor.
After the break, we review the C and Fortran programming basics. An awesome talk Mister Messer. Thanks to Ruth, a smart high school intern who shared with me a productive day!Even better the next day!

I have the honour to meet John Levesque, the director of CRAY. He did a great talk because he witnessed the born of supercomputers and the parallelism concepts. We learned more about Git, OpenMP and I was inspired to by the MPI talk 🙂Last day of the event

NVIDIA was the star of the day, we learned about CUDA, OpenACC and profilers during the workshop. We had hands-on experience and I was able to achieve most of the exercises under the guidance and patience of Steve Abbott. Thank you OLCF for organizing this amazing event!

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ORNL’s Lab Day 2018

I am thrilled to share my experience of the 75th anniversary of ORNL with you! Celebrations started on June 8th with the initiative “Take Your Child to Work Day”, followed by the “Launch of the Summit supercomputer”, “Lab Day” on June 9th and finished June 11th with an “IceCream afternoon for Summer Interns”. This video summarizes some events of these historic and special days.

Take your Child to Work Day

There were trucks for science fair projects presented by many different divisions. Our NCCS division was lead by Katie and Scott with the “What’s your Problem” truck, where Tiny Titan’s features and power to solve problems were presented. Here are some photos inside the tour and of others volunteers that helped during this day:Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 11.19.06 AM

I was also impressed by how well other divisions’ demonstrations encouraged children to be interested in science because of the way they interacted and were so curious about the projects:Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 11.36.54 AM.png

Launching Summit

Summit was officially launched at ORNL on June 8th. It is now the fastest supercomputer in the world that computes at exascale using mixed precision calculations. It is a IBM AC922 system, which links more than 27,000 NVIDIA Volta GPUs with more than 9,000 IBM Power9 CPUs to provide unprecedented opportunities for the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and scientific discovery.  We had the honor to witness the announcement made by Ginni Rometty (IBM CEO), Jensen Huang (CEO Nvidia), Thomas Zacharia (Director of ORNL) and Rick Perry (Secretary DoE US).  If you have a project in mind that need super calculations, you are welcome to submit a proposal to use Summit!C1597640-8344-4B46-AC8A-FDD0F6F25E88In my eyes, it is not enough to have the best technical resources to do research, it is also about efficient people who are able to help and share technical support with others for science. So far I got lessons and innovative ideas from seminars that emphasize that our efforts can help the society in a range of fields. Receiving kind help from coworkers that makes my daily work easier. I really appreciate their support!

Lab Day

My journey started at 7 am with my dear friend Valerie, and then I started a morning shift to encourage people and children to read more about HPC and supercomputers. Meanwhile some conferences took placed in the auditorium according to the schedule of events.  The lab was open for families willing to learn from fun and educational activities such as touring supercomputers Titan and Summit, visiting the reactor, playing with robots and interacting with other projects. Also included was a variety of food, local music, and art science posters among other activities and attractions. I particularly enjoyed the science trivia contest during lunch and playing with hands-on activities.Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 1.49.05 PMThe day ended around 4pm. My days of volunteering were worth them because I had the opportunity to share time with awesome visitors and staff at ORNL. One special thanks to my dear Valerie F. for her friendship! Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 2.14.49 PM.png

Ice Cream afternoon for Summer Interns

It is a summertime, but in Oak Ridge sometimes we have storms and thunder in the late afternoon. During our ice cream afternoon social planned by ORISE to expand our network of contacts among interns, we were sprinkled by a rain. Still I enjoyed it! 😀Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 2.30.18 PM.png

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My first talk at ORNL

Today I had my first Lunch and learn talk to my CADES team at ORNL. It lasted an hour and I was so nervous at the beginning that my voice occasionally cracked (even I had a previous rehearsal with some members of my team). I was wondering also to myself how to make highest qualified HPC professionals participate as I used to do it as a professor in my classes to my students or when I did presentations on IT conferences. Then, suddenly when I started to present some supportive materials of what I wrote, and some members of the group questioned on the slides I had prepared intentionally to be questioned. When we started to have a dynamic session, I recovered again my confidence and I felt back alive because we were in the same harmony.  Thanks so much ADWG guys!  Special thanks to Michael, Benjamin and Robert D. to explained me technical concepts nicely.From my role as an intern, I took some detours around the pitfalls of new HPC technologies, but at the end I was able to demonstrate the improvements I did the current HPC user guide documentation. And, because you need to read a lot to write something, I read some references guides from TACC, HPC guides from University of Cambridge, IllinoisOhio, UCI HPC and Case Western Reserve Websites, OLCF user guide among others that let me come up with the structure of the topics in a proper way.

Thanks again to the CADES team who helped me in this endeavor and of course, another big thanks to the users who participated in the survey I did in my first week at ORNL, and those who were not there in person but helped so much Wendi, Pete, Alex, Arnold & Ying.

I am so happy with my first step in HPC, thanks to the ASTRO program and ORNL for this opportunity and I hope I will grow up in this field to contribute more in a near future. 

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2018 OLCF User Meeting

ORNL celebrated an event to guest supercomputers users from May 15 – May 17, 2018.

Wrap-up of Day 1

Day 1 was focused on the Achievements on Titan and the staff of OLCF (Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility) gave us an overview and updates of the efforts done over decades to have faster computers and now the computers are considered in the top500 list.


Researchers from universities such as University of California, Princeton University and other scientists of National Labs were invited to present their work on Titan. Very interesting applications were explained, and in my eyes, I got excited with the Cholla GPU Hydro simulation project by Evan Schneider from NASA and Prof. Yeung from Georgia Tech about simulating turbulence using GPUs


We had a Lunch and Learn where OLCF staff lead a table with a specific topic and every attendee decided where to sit depending on their interests. I was so glad to choose Katie, a leader that has been working for the SUMMIT team. She shared her story as well of all the ladies around the table. We brought the empowering more STEM women at the table, and there is a lot of endeavors to make it happen in the near future. 

Tours and Posters

We toured for Titan, SUMMIT and EVEREST(Thanks Kat for sharing your work). Postdocs and other students were able to present their researches. I invite you to enroll to the INCITE 2019 program if you want to participate in the supercomputer challenge.


We had two network breaks for making new friend which is easier on a full stomach. Delicious food was served  and we had many options to choose. I enjoyed all the details!

Meeting new people

I had a very educational time as well a nice day because I have met very thoughtful people. The original picture is in the OLCF Website. Please do not forget to do the User survey.

Thanks to my proofreading Arnold, kind Annabel and our inspirational director: Ashely.

What I learned

Every experience in our life is a lesson. I think I will keep in my mind forever the ice cream story from Dr. Jack. Thanks so much ORNL for the opportunity to let me  interact with Titan and SUMMIT! I was also lucky to carpool in an electric car!    I would like to share what our Director said: “ Planning for the future is today’s work.”

Wrap-up of Day 2

The day 2 was focused on SUMMIT, so all the talks and researchers were done early on SUMMIT.  You can find all the materials and slides presented during the event -> here!

We enjoyed again tasty food and I want to thank Rachel for sharing her job experiences.I had the pleasure to meet to Latin-American OLCF professionals at ORNL and beyond that, they are amazing people. Thank you so much Benjamin from Mexico and Veronica from Ecuador 🙂

Wrap up -Day 3

Data visualization was the topic for the third day and many impressive researches were presented as the Sight, DOI and Data Initiatives by Mister Valentine.

Thanks again to the organizers for providing us sweet mornings and here is again my official event partner Arnold. It was three days in a row so he was supportive and kind!The good job also was acknowledge in this last session, the OLCF chair got a big thanks!

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Reaching new heights | ORNL

I have recently won an internship called ASTRO at ORNL, and I am in the process of settling down in the US which so far, has been an adventurous journey because I have changed my lifestyle and I am still getting used to a culture different to that of my homeland: Peru.

This new endeavour has been supported by helpful, smart and lovely people such as Elizabeth and Arthur from ORISE, as well as Sheila, Arjun, Kate and Truly from ORNL.  If you are a foreigner involved in computer and/or science with an internship ORNL plan in your mind, you must give it a go. I am sharing my experience in this post to give you a hint of what the first steps of this experience are.

1.- Looking for a period of the internship

Depending on the time they may take, internships can go for as long as months or even a year. Personally, I feel lucky to be here during the Spring and Summer seasons!
If you come from Russia or any other cold climate in the world, you won’t mind to be here in Winter or Fall. I am only saying this because even though we are in Spring, I have to wear coats and warm pants to endure the very cold mornings and nights in Tennessee, US.

2.- Find a place to stay

ORNL has arranged many possibilities to stay and the options are published on the Website , most of the choices are houses located in Oak Ridge (small area), but quite far from the city town. In case you have a car, this is a good option because it is around a 25 minute drive from ORNL. However, if you do not drive, there is an option called carpool, where you and more interns can coordinate schedules to go to the lab or any other facility (Catching the bus is not an option in this case).

I chose an apt located in Knoxville near the UT, and I was evaluated prior to being admitted, they will ask you for a guarantor if you do not have a credit card, and also a financial proof that you can cover the payment. There is a bus system called Kat that can take you around the city for $1.5 each trip, but it does not take you to ORNL. Fortunately, there is a shuttle called T that takes me every business day to ORNL (around an hour journey). In my mind, finding an apt near Pellissipi (PSCC)  is a good alternative because the shuttle can take you for free to ORNL in around 30 minutes, and you can walk to K available stops.

3.- The VISA

Despite the documentation of approvals to go to ORNL, you have to pass an interview of around 20 minutes and present all the documentation that proves you are capable to belong to the ORNL staff. You have to be prepared to do it in English and take more money, I mean not only for the paperwork regarded the visa, I am talking about purses or bag, it could cost 16 soles in Peru and 18 soles the photography (in case they do not accept the passport picture). I would recommend to take in your hand only your documentation in a folder and present a passport picture that shows the whole ears and the right size.

4.- Your Flight Journey

If you search on Internet the airport to get Tennessee (TN) can take you at the Nashville airport, but it is recommendable to select Knoxville airport. I missed the domestic flight because the line had a very few people comparing with other international flights. Going to Knoxville is not common and the plane is so small (20 seats) so be so aware about the time of departure, they might not anounce but updated and visible itinerary are always displayed in the electronic panel at the airport.

5.- Food and Appliances

As I mentioned early, I chose a furniture apt (other cheaper options were to rent an apt with no furnitures and rent the appliances for a certain period of time). I have a stove, refrigetaror, microwave and a bed with lamps and closets, incuding a nice bathroom, but I had to buy the sheets, a broom, a blender, a spoon, a fork, some dishes, a vacuum cleaner, an iron, and so on… and of course, items to cleand and to prepare my meals. Then, I recommend to include in your budget this considerations that can cost around $500.

6.- Your USA cellphone number

There are companies that provide a service of communication such as AT&T, T-mobile, and verizon among others. It is not enought to by the SIM card and you also have to decide  for a montly plan to be communicated with others in the US. Approximately it can cost around $75 a montly plan plus $20 for the SIM card. I was searching for the cheapest and convenient plan, and I found there is a posibility to have a card if you are a student. I took the Criket limit plan for $35 that includes data and local calls, but not international ones.

7.- Getting around

I have paid the monthly bus card that cost $50 and you can go aroung the town using the Kat routes system and there also Trolley bus for free, which is helpful to go to Walmart (a marketplace where you can buy anything cheaper) and Publix (another cheap place to eat).  There is a Mall at Knoxville called West Town  where you can buy more sophisticated and personalized things. If I can give you on piece of advice when you check “how to get there” in Google or even in the bus Website, I would say that it is required to check not only times and stops, it is also important to check the direction of the route because it is not the same for both ways. As well as to not trust a 100% in Google Maps when it says that the route might take you a walk of 4 minutes, but in real, it takes more (unless you do giant steps and not waiting so long for the traffic signals to change).

8.- Paperwork

In order to have any formal paperwork you must wait 10 days after arriving to the USA. Insurances and social secure numbers can be only provided after that period. There is a wide range of possibilities but one recommendable is called BCBST. In order to open a bank account it is required to have these documents ready.

9.- First days at ORNL

ORNL is a huge place that offers lots of opportunities to grow up as a profesional in science and tech. I have seen creative and responsible people and my group is not an exception of this! This lab offers all the facilities to be comfortable and the policies they have are essential in order to be a cutting-edge institute. One of my dreams came true when I personally saw the SUMMIT and the TITAN supercomputers… now I can die in peace! Another tip… if you arrive before 8am, you  can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the cafeteria 🙂       

10.- Turistic places

I am planning to visit the east north area of TN to do a hicking around the mountains soon, and I want to complete a bucket-list as this Website suggests.

Special thanks to God, Phd. Manuel Bermudez, my new friends Valerie and Nellie, my parents and sisters, to my friends: Liz, Verito, Jane, Chio, Fio, Mateito, Martin and Gra, to my Linux mentors: Genghis Rios, Felipe Solari, Phil Bull, Jim Campbell and Peony, to my students Carlos Aznaran, Leo, Julitos and GG of UNI, my English teacher Yulian & Google.

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We are back! #LinuXatUNI on the stage

Yesterday, we had an ‘extreme’ workshop-day at Villa el Salvador to prepare ourselves to the LFCS Certification Exam in 2018. We had received a-year-scholarships from the Linux Foundation because they were the prizes to our winners of the programs the group LinuXatUNI organized last year, and we are more than happy to learn Linux Administration in deep.   

We differentiated the root shell from the user environments by using commands mixed with pipes and redirection commands. As well, we learned more about the configuration of the PATH, wildcards, ulimit, ipcs to check semaphores, shared memory process, Message queues, and the disk usage command experiences with regular expressions.

It was a journey of almost 5 hours roundtrip to Toto’s house, we enjoyed the sightseen, though. Thanks to Fiorella Effio and Carlos Aznaran for your effort and kindness! 

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