The University of Iowa was among the institutions recognized by R&D World magazine for contributions to Spack, an open-source scientific software package manager for high-performance computing (HPC) environments, MacOS, and Linux platforms.
R&D World magazine selected 100 products and technologies it considers “the disruptors that will change industries and make the world a better place in the coming years.” U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers won 41 of the awards granted by R&D World in October, including one for Spack. The UI’s Glenn Johnson, HPC architect in Information Technology Services-Research Services, was recognized as a feature contributor. He uses Spack on Iowa’s Argon HPC system.
Spack simplifies an otherwise tedious and time-consuming task. There are more than 3,600 packages in the Spack library, with 2,300 active users and over 480 contributors from national labs, academia and industry. The number of packages is constantly growing and improving with community input.
While many on the Spack development team work for large national laboratories with massive HPC systems, the largest number of contributors work with small to mid-sized clusters in academic research computing environments.
"Building and distributing scientific software applications is very challenging and becoming more so over time,” Johnson says. “Spack provides a tool, and a community, to develop best practices and standards for building and distributing scientific software, while still allowing for site variability. With Spack, as a tool, it is possible to benefit from the work of others while Spack, as a community, provides the opportunity to contribute back and realize the satisfaction that comes from having others benefit from your work.”
In November, at the annual supercomputing conference, SC19, in Denver, Colorado, Spack was highlighted time and again as a transformative contribution to the field of HPC. There were Spack events each day of the conference and nearly 14,000 attendees had the chance to learn about Spack through sessions and papers.