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image: IBM and Haifa

HiPEAC summer school takes European academics to new levels of high performance

International experts gear up to share scientific knowledge and build ties with EU students of high performance computer architecture

Most scientific conferences are a good opportunity for networking. But how do you create truly close relationships for researchers from academia with international experts from industry? And what kind of atmosphere will both educate and spark collaboration among scientists from different organizations?

"Living together, eating together, and having fun together is the ultimate way to build close ties," explained Prof. Koen De Bosschere, organizer of the HiPEAC ACACES summer school for the past six years and a professor of computer architecture and operating systems at Ghent University in Belgium.

HiPEAC ACACES Summer School
"The goal of the HiPEAC summer school is to train our next generation and improve the level of research by PhD students," added De Bosschere. "We bring them in contact with top people from around the world – people that you would normally never sit with at the breakfast table." In short, you can't force networking but you can build an environment to generate it organically.

HiPEAC, the European Network of Excellence on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation, is geared towards advancing the level of research in this field and stimulating the collaboration between academia and industry, and between computer architects and tool builders. The network comprises high level universities in Europe and major industrial players such as IBM Research – Haifa, ST France, ARM, Thales and others.

This year, the summer school agenda includes 12 courses covering a broad domain of computing systems. Just a few of the hot topics include architectures for emerging nanotechnologies, building secure hardware and software, system design, and Linux virtualization. Also the first time, the summer school will include a course dedicated to GPU architectures. In addition to coming from the best computer science departments in the world, the teachers also come from the research labs of major companies like IBM, HP, Microsoft and Intel.

"In addition to the outstanding courses, the summer school provides a great opportunity for initial collaboration and communication among different groups in Europe, and discussions with leaders from academia and industry from around the world," noted Dr. Bilha Mendelson, senior manager of code optimization and quality technologies at IBM Research – Haifa and one of the leaders of the HiPEAC network. Mendelson herself attended two of the previous summer schools sessions. In fact, most of the summer school sessions have had experts from IBM's global labs as lecturers.

According to De Bosschere, this is especially true for early PhD students who can meet people from around Europe to kickstart their research and networking ties. For example, last year, a group of students who met as the school joined together to form a consortium that answered one of the European Union's FP7 calls.

This year's HiPEAC ACACES summer school will take place from July 10 – July 16 in Fiuggi Italy, a small medieval town east of Rome in Italy. Only 200 people were accepted to the school, with about one third being senior experts and the other 140 European students. In July, HiPEAC will welcome their 1400th student to the summer school. This year's keynote speaker will cover system optimization and another exciting talk will be dedicated to entrepreneurship.

"In the design of modern computer systems one has to be knowledgeable about architecture as well as about the quality of the code, and how to improve it," concluded De Bosschere. "This summer school offers the ideal mix of the two worlds – both at the entry level and at the most advanced level."


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