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The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) has published a Call for Sessions for its 14th annual OFA Workshop, taking place April 9-13, 2018, in Boulder, CO. The OFA Workshop is a premier means of fostering collaboration among those who develop fabrics, deploy fabrics and create applications that rely on fabrics. It is the only event of its kind where fabric developers and users can discuss emerging fabric technologies, collaborate on future industry requirements, and address problems that exist today. In support of advancing open networking communities, the OFA is proud to announce that Promoter Member Los Alamos National Laboratory, a strong supporter of collaborative development of fabric technologies, will underwrite a portion of the Workshop.

Call for Sessions:

The OFA Workshop 2018 Call for Sessions encourages industry experts and thought leaders to help shape this year’s discussions by presenting or leading discussions on critical high performance networking issues. Sessions are designed to educate attendees on current development opportunities, troubleshooting techniques, and disruptive technologies affecting the deployment of high performance computing environments. The OFA Workshop places a high value on collaboration and exchanges among participants. In keeping with the theme of collaboration, proposals for Birds of a Feather sessions and panels are particularly encouraged.

The deadline to submit session proposals is February 16, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. PST. For a list of recommended session topics, formats and submission instructions, download the official OFA Workshop 2018 Call for Sessions flyer.

Registration:

Early bird registration is now open for all participants of the OFA Workshop 2018. For more information on event registration and lodging, visit the OFA Workshop 2018 Registration webpage.

Dates: April 9-13, 2018

Location: Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder, CO

Registration Site: http://bit.ly/OFA2018REG

Registration Fee: $695 (Early Bird to March 19, 2018), $815 (Regular)

Lodging: Embassy Suites room discounts available until 6:00 p.m. MDT on Monday, March 19, 2018, or until room block is filled. 

The international high performance computing (HPC) community is preparing for the upcoming Supercomputing Conference 2017 (SC17) – being held this year at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO, November 12-17 – and the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is excited to be taking part in this annual gathering. The SC17 technical program will once again explore a broad range of HPC networking topics through a collection of individual talks, panel discussions, research papers, tutorials, workshops, poster presentations and birds of a feather (BoF) sessions.

The OFA’s OpenFabrics Interfaces Working Group (OFIWG) will contribute its expertise to this year’s program with a BoF session dedicated to the consumers of libfabric API. Since its introduction, libfabric has gained quite a bit of traction among the users of network-based services. This upcoming BoF will be focused on those deploying libfabric in support of applications, building on top of previous sessions covering initial libfabric developments.

The overall objective of the OFIWG BoF is to bring together individuals, companies, and institutions with a vested interest in deploying libfabric to share results, foster collaboration and spark new ideas for further development of the API.  Anyone who is curious about libfabric or networking operations from a consumer perspective, as well as those evaluating libfabric as a future path, will benefit from this discussion.

Last February, SNIA hosted its one-day Persistent Memory Summit in San Jose; it was my pleasure to be invited to participate by delivering a presentation on behalf of the OpenFabrics Alliance.  The day long program was chock full of deeply technical, detailed information about the state of the art in persistent memory technology coupled with previews of some possible future directions this exciting technology could conceivably take.  The Summit played to a completely packed house, including an auxiliary room equipped with a remote video feed.  Quite the event!

But why would the OpenFabrics Alliance (the OFA) be offering a presentation at a Persistent Memory (PM) Summit, you ask?  Fabrics!  Which just happens to be the OFA’s forte.

For several years now, SNIA’s NVM Programming Model Technical Working Group (NVMP TWG) has been describing programming models designed to deliver high availability, the primary thesis for which is simply stated – data isn’t truly ‘highly available’ until it is stored persistently in at least two places.  Hence the need to access remote persistent memory via a fabric in a highly efficient, and performant, manner.  And that’s where the OFA comes in.

For those unfamiliar with us, the OFA concerns itself with developing open source network software to allow applications to get the most performance possible from the network.  Historically, that has meant that the OFA has developed libraries and kernel modules that conform to the Verbs specification as defined in the InfiniBand Architecture specifications.  Over time, the suite has expanded to include software for derivative specifications such as RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) and iWARP (RDMA over TCP/IP).  In today’s world, much of the work of maintaining the Verbs API has been assumed by the open source community itself.  Success!   

Several years ago, the OFA began an effort called the OpenFabrics Interfaces project to define a network API now known as ‘libfabric’.  This API complements the Verbs API; Verbs continues into the foreseeable future as the API of choice for verbs-based fabrics such as InfiniBand.  The idea was that the libfabric API  would be driven mainly by the unique requirements of the consumers of network services.  The result would be networking solutions that are transport independent and that meet the needs of application and middleware developers through a freely available open source API. 

So, what does all this have to do with persistent memory?  A great deal!

Planning for next spring’s OpenFabrics Alliance Workshop is underway, and we’re looking for a few dedicated people to help guide the technical program. The annual Workshop is a highly regarded event dedicated to bringing together thought leaders in high performance fabrics to advance the state of the art. To drive the Workshop, each year the OFA forms a Technical Program Committee (TPC) and charges it with delivering top notch technical content.

The best way to ensure that the Workshop meets the needs of the high performance fabric community is to ask for your help in designing the Workshop. This is a hands-on opportunity to work with other industry leaders to shape this important event. The TPC is responsible for defining the themes and topics that frame the Workshop, and vetting proposed talks to ensure the Workshop meets the quality expectations of the participants.

The OFA seeks to constantly expand its horizons by including perspectives from across the broad community including vendors of fabric solutions, those who deploy and manage high performance fabrics, and consumers of network services. We’re looking for technical people with insight into fabrics, including how they are built, how they are deployed, and how they are used.

Typically, the TPC has a burst of activity during the fourth quarter, followed by a hiatus and then another burst during the first quarter. We’re looking for people who can devote a couple of hours a week during the busy periods to lend your thinking and your energy toward making the Workshop all it can be. We plan to kick off this year’s Technical Program Committee with an hour long teleconference tentatively set for Monday, October 16 at 1:00PM PDT.

If this interests you, please send a brief note describing your background to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll fill you in on the logistics.

Best Regards,
Paul Grun & Parks Fields
2018 TPC Co-chairs

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