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IBM's Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper Award

Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan, Steven Esser, Horst Simon, and myself authored the paper "The Cat is Out of the Bag" last year at Supercomputing 2009 where it won ACM's Gordon Bell Prize. We just found out that this paper was one of the recepients of IBM's Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper Award. Over 145 papers in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences published in refereed conference proceedings and journals in 2009 were submitted by IBM Research authors worldwide for consideration.

Citation: The work reported in this paper is truly multidisciplinary, combining both neuroscience (physiology and anatomy of the brain) with computer science (parallelism, scaling, performance evaluation).  The paper won the prestigious 2009 ACM Gorden Bell Award. It is a "tour-de-force" in supercomputing, in the sense that it uses very large configurations of Blue Gene/P (36k nodes and 144 TB of memory) to their fullest. The computations are CPU intensive, memory intensive, communication intensive, I/O intensive, and prone to load-imbalance. Several challenges had to be addressed before this application could run at the scale and performance reported. The performance evaluation is very detailed, reporting scaling results for all modes of execution. Both weak and strong scaling are reported. In addition to measuring execution time, more detailed measurements with performance counters were also performed. The scientific result is unprecedented. The authors were the first to simulate a cortex at the scale of a cat cortex.  This scale is more than an order of magnitude larger than that of any previously reported cortical simulations. The collaboration between a group of scientists with widely different backgrounds makes this work particularly attractive.

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