18 October 2023

MaX project partners gather in Barcelona to discuss coding towards exascale computing

The second meeting of the MaX Centre of Excellence-phase 3 project took place in Barcelona on 16-17 October, hosted by the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2). The partners reported on the status of ongoing activities in each work package of the project and discussed future steps.

The MaX Centre of Excellence project recently held a significant internal meeting –the second since the third phase of the project started in January 2023— at Casa de Convalescencia (UAB) in Barcelona. It was hosted and co-organised by the ICN2, which is one of the partners of the project and the leader of the Communication and Dissemination work package.

Over the course of two immersive days, participants engaged in dynamic discussions, exchanged innovative ideas, and crafted strategic plans. In fact, the purpose of this gathering extended beyond a mere reporting of actions done in the past term within the various work packages. Instead, it aimed to discuss plans for the immediate future, address challenges and needs, and foster a deeper sense of participation and collaboration among attendees. The event was open to all MaX project members, emphasizing inclusiveness with a warm welcome to students, postdocs and young professionals.

The meeting was organised in six thematic sessions, each of which addressed critical aspects of the project scope. After a welcome address by the project leader, Prof. Elisa Molinari, and by Dr Andrea Ferretti (member of the management team), representatives of each team developing one of the five MaX flagship codes (Quantum Espresso, Siesta, Fleur, BigDFT and Yambo) presented the current status and future plans for these. Workflow optimisation and the management of large data sets in the context of exascale computing were then discussed, followed by a debate on codesign and the optimal integration of hardware and software, with solutions to improve computational performance while minimising energy consumption.

The second day of the meeting focused mainly on training, communication, and management. Lessons learnt from previous training events were discussed, with the aim of improving the activities planned for the future. An update on the communication plan and requirements for future initiatives followed, accompanied by a lively exchange of views on strategies to engage both stakeholders and the user community. In another session, various technical challenges were discussed, including the benchmarking of MaX codes and their deployment on EuroHPC machines. The final segment was devoted to some management procedures and reporting issues.

A General Assembly was also held at the end of the second day of the meeting, where priorities, urgent needs and future initiatives were outlined and discussed. Moment-by-moment coverage of the event with photos was provided on the X profile of MaX.