Exploiting Supercomputers and Containers for Data Science

The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre is pleased to announce that the workshop “Exploiting Supercomputers and Containers for Data Science” will be held from June 13 to 15, 2018 in the ML building of ETH Zurich in the meeting room ML H 37.1 .


Researchers in data science, analytics and artificial intelligence are increasingly seeing the need for incorporating supercomputing resources in their workflows. The challenge for supercomputing centres is providing the right tools and interfaces to the data science community.

Container technologies such as Docker and Shifter (a container deployment for HPC environments) provide the possibility for users or third parties to create and support workloads that are able to run efficiently and easily on platforms ranging from laptops to HPC centers to commercial elastic cloud providers. Containers provide advantages with respect to portability and reproducibility; data science applications are particularly amenable to containerization as they tend to involve very complex software stacks composed of anything from Python to GPU-enabled code, often with many, version-specific, software dependencies.

The focus of this workshop is data science applications and containerization. You will learn how to create and run your own container images, and how to make use of containers that are provided by third parties such as CSCS, Cray Inc., or NVIDIA.

A significant portion of the workshop will be dedicated to a hands-on exploration of Cray’s Urika-XC, which is an integrated suite of advanced analytics, AI, deep learning applications and graph tools that are optimized for the Cray XC platform and based on Shifter containers. Exercises will involve the use of interactive Jupyter notebooks. Familiarity with Cray systems is not a prerequisite for this course.

This two and a half day workshop will be of interest to data scientists who are already using – or are interested in exploring the use of – containerization to facilitate their workflows, as well as those who are interested in learning about novel data analytics tools and interfaces available at CSCS. All course attendees will be given the opportunity to present their use cases, experiences and expectations. Attendees will be able to test and deploy their workflows with the assistance of experts from Cray and CSCS.


Day 1

12:30 – 13:00   Lunch
13:00 – 13:15   Welcome and Workshop Overview (Tim Robinson, CSCS)
13:15 – 14:30   Short Presentations by Participants (All)
14:30 – 15:00   Success Story: CERN (Maxime Martinasso, CSCS)
15:30 – 16:00   Coffee Break
16:00 – 18:00   Tutorial: Introduction to Creating, Using, and Improving Containers (Alberto Madonna, CSCS)

Day 2

09:00 – 10:00    Success Story
10:00 – 10:30    Introduction to CSCS Systems (Tim Robinson, CSCS)
10:30 – 11:00    Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30    Tutorial: Urika-XC, a Container-based AI Environment (James Maltby, Cray Inc.)
12:30 – 13:30    Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00    Tutorial: Scalable Deep Learning (Charles Siegel, Cray Inc.)
15:00 – 15:45    Success Story (Ritabrata Dutta, USI)
15:45 – 16:00    Coffee break
16:00 – 17:30    Tutorial: Analytics Frameworks and Interfaces (James Maltby, Cray Inc.)

Day 3

09:00 – 10:30    Tutorial/Success Stories (Cray Inc.)
10:30 – 11:00    Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:00    Plenary: Docker and SIB Use Cases (Walid Gharib, Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics)
12:00 – 13:00    Lunch Break
13:00 – 14:00    NVIDIA Solutions for Data Science (NVIDIA)
14:00 – 15:00    NVIDIA Containers (NVIDIA)
15:00 – 15:30    Coffee Break
15:30 – 17:30    Hands-On with Participants’ Use Cases (All)


All participants must register for the meeting. The registration fee includes coffee breaks and lunches throughout the two and a half day course.

Course Fee: 240 CHF

Deadline for registration: Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Please click here to register.

Kindly note that the workshop can take place only if there are sufficient confirmed registrations received by the deadline. The minimum number of participants is 8.

Please contact Tim Robinson (robinson@cscs.ch) for questions related to the course content and info@cscs.ch for questions related to the event logistics.


The ETH Zurich main building (HG Hauptgebäude), in dark red on the plan, is located at the following address:

Rämistrasse 101
8092 Zurich

“ETH/Universitätsspital” is the closest tram stop to the ETH Zurich main building. This tram stop is reachable by tram number 6 and by tram number 10 from the main train station.

The ML building, where the meeting will take place, is located close to the ETH Zurich main building, and it is indicated with a blue circle on the plan.
The address of the ML building is:

Leonhardstrasse 21
8092 Zürich

The workshop will be held in the meeting room ML H 37.1.