The personality of any well-designed organization naturally morphs over time. There are lots of reasons for this; in the case of the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) some of the key ones might be:
- Growing adoption of RDMA by the computing community and what that means to the OFA
- New or emerging fabrics
- Galloping advances in technology
- New usage models for computing systems
Recognizing that change is the status quo, the OFA Board has undertaken a review of our mission with an eye toward answering two deceptively simple questions: What should the Alliance look like and how should it behave in the years to come? What more can we do as an Alliance to add more value to the community of network developers and consumers?
Answering these questions requires a real dialog with Alliance members and with the broader networking community. To open that dialog, we’ve set aside some time at the upcoming Workshop for a Town Hall discussion. We’ll start by framing the question during Susan Coulter’s ‘State of the Alliance’ talk on Tuesday and continue it at the Town Hall discussion on Thursday.
Now comes the request; it is for you to do a bit of homework before the Workshop. The success of the Town Hall depends on a lively dialog, but that won’t happen unless we all spend a little time beforehand reflecting on the topic. You can begin by asking yourself a few leading questions such as, “Strategically, why is the OFA important to my organization?” Or, “What value does my organization get from the Alliance?” Or even more importantly, “What value are we not receiving today?”
Obviously, in addressing these questions, no organization should reveal its strategic secrets. But with a moment’s reflection, and keeping in mind the goal of building a better, stronger Alliance, I’ll bet there are ways to share your insights, and even more importantly, your vision for the OpenFabrics Alliance going into the future. The key word here is ‘Alliance’.
Since not everybody has a clear view of the Alliance today, we’ll start on Tuesday with a kind of a framework to describe the OFA of today. Hopefully this will serve as a jumping off point to a lively conversation about the OFA of tomorrow.
I hope you’re planning to attend the workshop. If you do, please come prepared to be an active participant in shaping the OFA’s future so it continues to meet the needs of the networking community. If you can’t make it to the workshop, please reach out to either me, or our Chair, Susan Coulter, to express your views directly. There’s always room for more ideas.
OpenFabrics Alliance Vice Chair
The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop is now just over four weeks away, and plans are proceeding at a rapid pace. The Technical Program Committee has received a large number of session proposals to be presented at the workshop, with quite a few more proposals than available slots. It’s now the committee’s unenviable task to choose the best sessions from among an excellent field in order to meet the needs of workshop participants.
Notice that I used the word ‘participants’, instead of a more generic word like ‘attendees’, or ‘audience’. That’s because the workshop, by design, is intended to be just what its name implies – a workshop that engages everyone present in the creative act of pushing forward the development of network technologies to enable current and future generation computing systems.
Without exception, the proposals received this year were uniformly high in quality. We received proposals in all 12 topic areas including subjects on current deployments of RDMA in today’s systems, developments in network APIs, and new and advanced network technologies. As always, the OFA is focused on building and maintaining the state of the art in network technology while pushing forward into the next generation and the proposals received reflect that underlying goal.
As you might expect, there were multiple proposals from some of the largest actors working in the field of computer networking. But also notable this year was that there were proposals from 23 separate companies and organizations. All that for a workshop for which there are roughly only 50 slots available. Beyond the proposals you would expect dealing with the maintenance and development of OpenFabrics Software, there are exciting proposals related to Persistent Memory, Accelerators and GPUs, and Data Intensive Computing and Analytics. Also, new this year is a section devoted to developments in moving RDMA technology into the kernel. I can’t describe any particular proposals since the deadline for finalizing the list of accepted proposals is still a few days away, but it’s fair to say that the list is both broad and deep.
It might sound like a lot to absorb in four short days, but it’s all in the service of a single goal – to enable the development of networks that simply work better and to advance the state of the art so computer systems continue to meet the evolving needs of those who use them.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Austin in March.
OpenFabrics Alliance Vice Chair
The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is excited to announce that it has published the list of session abstracts for the 13th annual OFA Workshop. The workshop program will include more than 50 sessions covering a variety of critical networking topics, which range from current deployments of RDMA to new and advanced network technologies. As reported earlier this month, the workshop will be kicked off by a keynote on “Exascale Computing Project - Driving a HUGE Change in a Changing World” delivered by Al Geist of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (see our recent blog for more details).
To view the full list of abstracts, visit the OFA Workshop 2017 Abstracts and Agenda page. A detailed workshop agenda will be published soon.
As a reminder, early bird registration and discounted lodging for the OFA Workshop 2017 ends March 6, 2017. More information on registration and lodging can be found on the OFA Workshop 2017 Registration page.
OFA Workshop 2017 to Kick Off with Keynote by ORNL’s Al Geist; Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended
The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) Workshop 2017 is nearing and with the Call for Sessions now closed and the agenda undergoing finalization, we are excited to announce that Al Geist of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will start the program with a keynote speech on “Exascale Computing Project - Driving a HUGE Change in a Changing World.”
Mr. Geist is a Corporate Research Fellow at ORNL and serves as the chief technical officer of the Exascale Computing Project, CTO of the Leadership Computing Facility, and chief scientist for the Computer Science and Mathematics Division.
In his keynote, Mr. Geist will discuss the need for future Department of Energy supercomputers to solve emerging data science and machine learning problems in addition to running traditional modeling and simulation applications. In August 2016, the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) was approved to support a huge lift in the trajectory of U.S. High Performance Computing (HPC). The ECP goals are intended to enable the delivery of capable exascale computers in 2022 and one early exascale system in 2021, which will foster a rich exascale ecosystem and work toward ensuring continued U.S. leadership in HPC. He will also share how the ECP plans to achieve these goals and the potential positive impacts for OFA.
We are also pleased to announce that the early bird deadline for registration has been extended to March 6, 2017. More information on registration and lodging can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you all there!