From BDEC to BDEC2

Over the past years, the transition to the Exascale has prompted the creation of various actions – the International Exascale Software Project (IESP) and the European Exascale Software Initiative (EESI) to name but two. Realizing  the importance of High-Performance Data Analysis (HPDA), for both traditional supercomputing and large-scale cloud environments, led to the overhaul of the IESP community into that of the Big Data and Extreme-scale Computing (BDEC), with a large international involvement covering Europe, the United States and in Asia (China and Japan).

The BDEC2 series of workshops kicked off by addressing the subject of Convergence with a global prospective view. Taking part in such an initiative represents a unique opportunity for Europe to participate in the global definition of the future of HPC, based on a shaping strategy approach, which aims to affirm the European engagement in providing strategic directions for the profitable use of HPC in the context of HPDA and Big Data in general.

The main objective within BDEC2 is to enable transnational research communities, in a wide range of disciplines, to converge on a common “digital continuum platform” (DCP) - a next generation network computing platform for creating distributed services in a world permeated by devices and saturated by digital data, with actions spanning from drafting the design of said platform, organizing a demonstration of its potential and developing the corresponding shaping strategy.

In addition to the work of the international meetings themselves, inter-meeting working groups are intended to accelerate community-wide discussion and collaborative activities needed to address the multi-dimensional challenges of the emerging digital continuum.

Collaboration with EXDCI

Within BDEC2, the European HPC ecosystem is represented through the EXDCI-2 project.

The BDEC initiative organized a series of international workshops – in Europe, Asia and the U.S. – that aimed to explore the ways in which new forms of data-centric discovery introduced by this data revolution might be integrated with the established, simulation-centric paradigm of the high-performance computing (HPC) community.

Building on the positive feedback from these previous editions, BDEC2 plans six additional international workshops, over a 2-year period (2018-20), to transition from a data-compute convergence paradigm to a digital continuum vision, taking into account the complete chain: from sensors/instruments through the network, and up to the cloud/HPC centres. In 2019, the BDEC2 workshop was organised by the EXDCI-2 project in Poznań, Poland during the EuroHPC Summit Week 2019.

David Keyes presenting for the BDEC plenary at the EuroHPC Summit Week 2019 in Poznań

These workshops represent a means for the community to address the many challenges generated by such an ambition and consider the rapidly changing landscape of scientific computing and the prospects for future infrastructures and ecosystems. While usually ending with conclusions and recommendations for future investment and policy review related to the topic chosen each time, these not only act as a place for gathering international experts focused on “Shaping Strategies”, but also for sharing progress of HPC-HPDA research in each region or country and identifying new challenges and directions for further progress. After each workshop, a small group of rapporteurs will issue a short report presenting recommendations and research directions. The current objective (2019-20) is to develop demonstrators, which are working prototypes that embody and exhibit the continuum computing paradigm that is being elaborated at this moment (see outcomes of the Poznań meeting).

As an example, on the occasion of the 2019 Spring workshop in Kobe, the reflexion topic was the emergence of a Service Delivery Platform (SDP) paradigm that would facilitate the execution of complex applications mixing Internet of Things, data processing and analytics and simulation. The principal conclusion of the Poznan meeting was to pursue the elaboration of 2 demonstrators: a global data logistics network, and a learning everywhere approach.

Besides these regular meetings, BDEC organizes Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) sessions at supercomputing conferences such as ISC or SC, notably at SC17 in Denver (USA) and SC18 in Dallas, where the ”Pathways to Convergence” report developing a vision of the convergence of Big Data and HPC was first presented.

In 2020 and as done the previous times, the BDEC2 European meeting was to take place during the EuroHPC Summit Week in Porto (rescheduled in March 2021). However, because of impossibility to maintain the original meeting nor hold a postponed one due the Covid-19 pandemic, the EXDCI-2 project organised a series of 3 online interim meetings from June to September, which were hosted in turn by the American, European and Asian colleagues involved respectively, in order to keep the discussion going and continue fostering ideas, recommendations as well as collaborations for the BDEC community.