Past Meetup

UniForum Chicago: Supercomputing and You

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UniForum Chicago is proud to announce the topic for the April 22, 2014 General meeting: "Supercomputing and You" by Sharan Kalwani.

Our meetings are free and open to the public and begin promptly at 7pm at the IIT Rice Campus in Wheaton, IL. Additional information regarding this presentation can be found at (

Hope to see you there!


Today we take all the mobile apps, web and devices in the computer world for granted. But perhaps we all are not aware of the massive technological struggles and breakthroughs that made this all possible. Many of the innovations came from the world of supercomputing (otherwise also known as High Performance Computing or HPC). HPC is even more active today and deemed mission critical by practically every organization and even countries. So where does HPC get used these days?

Well, here are some things that you cannot do on your favorite smartphone or tablet:
- Code Breaking (think NSA)
- Fusion Reactor Design, Nuclear Tests
- Understanding the mind boggling physics of the Universe
- Weather Forecasting (did you really think the app does all the hard work? :)
- Motion Picture Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality
- Medical Drug Design, Simulating the Brain and unlocking the secrets of life

To do any of those things, you need Supercomputing. At the extreme 'bleeding edge' of computing, HPC is always attempting to solve the hardest contemporary problems. Despite numerous road kills along the way, HPC has delivered very fast; very powerful & capable systems in the journey. We will explore all of the technologies behind this, tracing the past, sharing in the present and look at the future.


Sharan Kalwani recently joined the HPC group at Fermi National Accelerator Labs as a Computing Services Architect. Before Fermi, he was the Subject Matter Expert/Project lead at the UberCloud project, working on helping to realize HPC in the cloud. With 30 years of experience in Scientific and Technical computing, Sharan has worked at numerous HPC industry leaders that include Cray Research, Silicon Graphics, Intel, etc. He has also spent several years in the industry at General Motors - managing their global engineering HPC centers, as well as in the academic domain, helping to fulfill their research computing missions. Sharan is a member of the ACM, senior member of IEEE/Computer Society, USENIX/LISA. He was also one of the original founders of the michigan!/usr/group ( back in 1986. He also runs the popular discussion group 'Innovative Uses of HPC' on Linked In.

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