PASC24 Highlights

PASC24 highlights

The PASC24 Conference Chairs – Katherine Evans (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) andSiddhartha Mishra (ETH Zurich) – and the whole Organizing Team were thrilled to welcome 501 attendees from 30 countries at PASC24. We were pleased to be able to welcome most attendees in person in Zurich. We very much hope that participants benefitted from the scientific and social exchanges offered by this platform to broaden views on their own research. Maybe we will see some of you back in Switzerland next year to present the fruits of collaborations that have originated at this very event!

In line with this year’s conference theme, “Synthesizing Applications Through Learning and Computing,” participants brought diverse perspectives to the discussions on tools and techniques that can be applied to various scientific domains. Thanks to the contributions presented at PASC24, the conference proved once again that it is truly a platform that transcends domain boundaries. It was a pleasure to venture into new scientific realms together with PASC24 attendees!

Plenary sessions

Fei Sha, research scientist and head of an interdisciplinary group at Google Research, opened the conference with a talk right on target with the selected topic for this year’s edition: “Synthesizing Applications Through Learning and Computing.” Fei discussed how Machine Learning (ML) can accelerate simulation and scientific computing, focusing on examples in weather and climate modelling. He presented several projects that assessed the combination of physical equations and data-driven ML models. Fei challenged the audience with several interrogations: How much can we learn from data when assuming very little knowledge about the physics? How far can we go when, in contrast, physics and ML are combined very closely? The examples presented to the audience aimed at demonstrating that, when ML designs are properly customized, data-driven approaches mostly work and can improve the robustness of results. Fei could also serve as a convincing advocate for generative AI being able to provide a flexible trade-off among high-fidelity physics, statistical tolerance and computation.

The keynote presentation featuring the winners of the “PASC24 Best Paper” Ryan Sandberg andAxel Huebl from Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory also focused on research marrying physics and ML. The paper entitled “Synthesizing Particle-In-Cell Simulations through Learning and GPU Computing for Hybrid Particle Accelerator Beamlines” centered on laser-plasma accelerators, in which ultra-short laser pulses are used to generate plasma wakefields that accelerate charged particles. To investigate these wakefields, the scientists ingeniously replaced certain steps of their large-scale particle-in-cell models with neural network models, thereby accelerating the simulations and making them computationally feasible.

The public lecture by applied mathematician and associate professor at the University of KansasFolashade Agusto provides more evidence of the value of an interdisciplinary approach in sciences. In collaboration with a team of climate and health scientists, she is doing pioneering work in addressing questions on the rising risk of diseases transmitted by ticks affecting our global population as an effect of climate change. Folashade showed how tick-borne diseases have more than doubled between 2004 and 2018, from around 22,000 to over 47,000 affected people. One way to mitigate the spread of ticks and the diseases they carry are prescribed fires, meaning intentional fires necessary for land and forest management. Folashade and her team helped reveal the effects of fire intensity on the tick population and the prevalence of Lyme disease, as well as the effectiveness of this measure in different spatial scenarios like woods or grasslands.

Another interdisciplinary regular feature of the PASC Conference series was the session on Monday night. As the first day of PASC24 drew to a close, anticipation buzzed through the halls. The highlight of the evening was the Interdisciplinary Dialogue featuring Nana Liu from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and University of Michigan as interviewee, and Florina Ciorba from University of Basel as interviewer. The topic promised to be ground-breaking: “Bridging Quantum and Classical Computing: Insights Into the Next Era of Interdisciplinary Science.” Florina began by introducing the key theme of the discussion, emphasizing the need to integrate classical and quantum computing to push the boundaries of scientific discovery. Nana took the stage with a compelling short presentation to share some of the key ideas of Quantum Computing. “We have reached the limit of classical infrastructure,” she declared. “We are at the point where even our language must evolve to keep pace with the advancements we are making.” Nana’s presentation resonated with the audience, setting the tone for an engaging dialogue with Florina and the scientists present in the auditorium. The insights shared by Nana and Florina marked a step towards understanding and embracing the next era of interdisciplinary science.

The panel discussion featuring panellists Ewa Deelman from the University of Southern California, Karthik Kashinath from NVIDIA, Damian Rouson from Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory and Michela Taufer from the University of Tennessee was the perfect closing to these three-days dedicated to inspiring one another’s research through interdisciplinary discussions. The four panellists offered a glimpse into the opportunities and challenges of working in interdisciplinary teams in their various professional environments. The recognition of the value of these collaborations to advance scientific progress, and the recognition that collaborating with professionals speaking a different language is challenging even for accomplished professionals in their own fields, was an important starting point for the discussion. The panellists emphasized the human element of these novel collaborations: frequent personal connection as a necessity for building understanding and trust.

PASC24 provided the ideal platform to emphasise this human element that is at the heart of our community of interdisciplinary professionals. Participants attending the Monday evening plenary slot could be part of a musical flash mob, designed and performed by community members and addressed to the PASC community. After revisiting in a playful and lighthearted spirit the many ways in which each PASC domain advances society, the PASC HPC community was warned that “We will go on till (they’d) shout ‘Enough I’m done!’” and invited to continue “Join(ing) this PASC!” We truly hope that all attendees felt this sense of community, and we would like to thank them for their participation and contributions in Zurich (and/or in the previous editions of the event).

Parallel sessions

We would like to congratulate all contributors to this year’s thought-provoking sessions. We thank all minisymposium organizers and speakers, paper and poster presenters for contributing to a very powerful technical program.

Lastly, we extend our deep appreciation to the conference Minisymposia and Posters Program Committee, the Papers Program Committee, and the ACM Student Research Competition Program Committee for their efforts in collecting and reviewing the contributions submitted for presentation at PASC24. 

Media visibility

Please know that an article on the PASC24 Conference written by Santina Russo (Science Journalist, CSCS) will be published on the CSCS website shortly (above are a few extracts from it).

Recordings of PASC24 sessions

Plenary sessions

We are pleased to inform you that videos of plenary presentations are available on the PASC24 event platform within the pertinent program element, and will be published on the conference YouTube channel during the summer.

Parallel sessions (minisymposia and papers)

We remind registered participants that recordings of all sessions will be available from the beginning of August on the event platform within the program where sessions are listed. Registered participants may access the event platform using the credentials received with the confirmation of registration (email from with subject line: “PASC24 Conference registration”).

Papers proceedings

We would like to thank all contributors who saw value in submitting their work to PASC24, and a very active Papers Program Committee for keenly promoting the call through their networks and managing the review process.

Twenty-six papers were accepted for participation in PASC24. We are pleased to remind you that PASC24 papers are published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM’s) Digital Library as an Open Table of Contents (OpenTOC), and thus available to everyone at no charge to the author and without any pay-wall constraints for readers.

Poster presentations and awards

Poster presenters were given the possibility to “pitch” their posters in the plenary room to the conference audience in a rapid-fire flash session before the poster session.

During the two Flash Poster Sessions moderated by Minisymposia and Poster Program Committee representatives Erik W. Draeger (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and Iva Kavcic(Met Office) poster presenters could introduce the topic of their poster and motivate the audience to visit them at the poster session. Recordings of these two sessions can be found on the PASC24 event platform within the pertinent program element, and will be published on the conference YouTube channel during the summer.

On Tuesday evening, we were pleased to host a well-attended and lively poster session and reception during which attendees had a possibility to learn from authors about their research in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, and exchange ideas on potential future developments. During this 2h poster session attendees were invited to vote for the two posters that they found were presenting the most stimulating content.

Prizes for the Best Poster were awarded to Lisa Gaedke-Merzhäuser from the Università della Svizzera italiana, who presented the poster entitled “Fast and Scalable Algorithms for Selected Matrix Inversions,” and Fazeleh Sadat Kazemian from the Australian National University, who presented the poster entitled “The Coulomb Perturbed Fragmentation (CPF) Method.”

For the ACM Student Research Competition Program, Marc Marot-Lassauzaie from the Technical University of Munich was awarded the best poster with the contribution entitled “Mixed-Precision in High-Order Methods: Studying the Impact of Lower Numerical Precisions on the ADER-DG Algorithm.” Second place went to Stephen Nicholas Swatman (CERN, University of Amsterdam) with its poster entitled “Finding Optimistic Upper Bounds for Task Graph Throughput on Heterogeneous Systems Using Linear Programming.” Sonali Mayani (Paul Scherrer Institute, ETH Zurich) was awarded the third place with her poster entitled “Efficient, Portable, Massively Parallel Free-Space Solvers for the Poisson Equation.”

Minisymposia and interviews at PASC24

We were proud to host 49 topically-focused minisymposia within the PASC24 program, with over 180 researchers presenting their work and triggering a lively interdisciplinary exchange with other presenters and attendees.

After the sessions were concluded, minisymposia organizers were invited to the conference “interview corner,” where interviewers Erik Lindahl (Professor of Biophysics at Stockholm University and KTH) and Maria Grazia Giuffreda (Associate Director at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre) explored the impact of their presentations in a multidisciplinary venue such as the PASC Conference. Minisymposia organizers were invited to reflect and articulate on how this form of scientific and interdisciplinary dialogue could benefit their research.

All interviews conducted at PASC24 can be found on the YouTube conference channel.

Slide presentations

We encourage minisymposium and paper presenters to share the slides of their presentations, and poster authors to provide updated versions of their posters. Please upload them in pdf format to the submissions portal by July 31, 2024. The slides will be accessible from the online program on the conference website, which will be updated periodically.

Photos and impressions from PASC24

The PASC24 Organizing Team would like to thank all the participants who shared their impressions on the conference on X using the hashtag #PASC24.

A photo gallery with highlights for each day and all pictures taken during the conference is available to all nostalgics (like us!) on the conference website.

SIGHPC travel grant winners

Congratulations again to the students who were recipients of the PASC24 Student Travel Grants, and to the early career professionals who were recipients of the PASC24 Early Career Travel Grants, both generously sponsored by SIGHPC.

This year’s Student Travel Grants were awarded to:

Jamil Gafur (University of Iowa), Rachel Luu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Vaishnavi Narayanan (Maastricht University), Valentina Schüller (Lund University).

This year’s Early Career Travel Grants were awarded to:

Luisa Patricia Gonzales Guerrero (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), David Hyde (Vanderbilt University), Harshitha Menon (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).

We thank PASC24 mentors – Oliver Fuhrer (MeteoSwiss), Daniel Jacobson (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Nicola Marzari (EPFL), Charles Moulinec (STFC), Elaine Raybourn (Sandia National Laboratories), Olaf Schenk (Università della Svizzera italiana) – for providing guidance to the student travel grant winners by suggesting relevant program sessions and introducing them to experts in their research fields.

Thank You to PASC24 student volunteers

We would like to thank all the wonderful PASC24 volunteers who made themselves available to staff the conference – assisting participants at the reception, and speakers in the parallel and plenary rooms. It was a pleasure to work with you all!

See you at PASC25

This is the end of PASC24 but not the end of the PASC Conference series. We thank you for your company on the road to Zurich and for all the memories we built together during, as well as outside the technical sessions.

We join Laura Grigori (EPFL/PSI, Switzerland) and Peter Vincent (Imperial College London, UK) in inviting you all to PASC25 next year mid-June for more stimulating discussions around HPC.

Au revoir in Brugg!