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HPC on the Rise: Thomas Randall

As a graduate research assistant at Clemson University’s School of Computing, Thomas Randall is working toward his doctorate by exploring HPC applications, namely those found at the evolving intersection of GPU accelerators and deep learning processes. Randall is rightfully proud that his first research paper, FULL-W2V: Fully Exploiting Data Reuse for W2V on GPU-accelerated Systems, earned the International Conference on Supercomputing 2021 Best Paper award. In it, Randall and his co-authors identified bottlenecks impacting the Word2Vec (W2V) natural language processing technique’s performance on GPUs and created an algorithm that afforded significant performance improvement with scalability across successive hardware generations.

Randall started his SC journey as a student volunteer and is an SC23 lead student volunteer. Meet this year’s 19 leads!

Making of an SC Veteran

While Randall may be early in his own HPC journey, he is well versed in the SC Conference. He also has a mature outlook on the value of doing more with computing technologies, especially for creating and continuing connections that can build better, lasting opportunities. Here, Randall offers a glance at why he readily can say, “I am HPC.”

Thomas Randall

Graduate Research Assistant, Clemson University

Q: What single event most made you realize you wanted a career in HPC/computing?

Thomas: Touring industrial server closets at my dad’s job showed me how physically large and interesting computing systems could be and really sparked a deeper interest in computing.

Q: What do you consider your biggest contribution to the HPC/computing community?

Thomas: I’ve volunteered at SC for several years now, and my own research efforts contributed significant speedups to Word2Vec implementations on GPU accelerators. More to come in the future!

Q: In the past 35 years, what is the most significant overlooked breakthrough that has impacted the field in your eyes?

Thomas: I think that greater incorporation of the Internet in conferences and online distribution of science has missed a lot of available opportunities over the last few decades. However, the pandemic has started to push our field to make better use of the very technologies we develop and study to improve our connections to one another and the broader world.

Q: What would you like to see change about, within, or among the HPC/computing community?

Thomas: As we push towards greater reproducibility and accountability in our field, we should also seek to promote longer-term initiatives beyond artifact preparations for conferences and journals. Online resources permit greater connectivity, transparency and lasting relevancy through continued updates that our community has to put effort in to introduce, adopt, and cultivate for a stronger future.

Read More

Randall T, T Allen, and R Ge. 2021. FULL-W2V: Fully Exploiting Data Reuse for W2V on GPU-accelerated Systems. In Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 455-466.

Take Randall’s Path

Thomas started with SC as a student volunteer. Learn more about how you can participate. Applications close June 15.

If you have questions about Student Volunteer applications, please contact the program committee.

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