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International GridKa School turns 13

At the international GridKa School on September 7-11 with 149 participants from four continents. In 17 plenary talks and 21 parallel tutorials, GridKa School students took a dive into recent trends in big data, virtualization and modern programming.

The GridKA School participants in front of the "Karlsruher Schloss"

With more and more abstracted and software-defined computing resources, virtualization was one of the major topics at this year's GridKa School. One focus was on lightweight virtualization of programs with containers as well as software-defined networks (SDN) and distributed file systems and databases. With a talk and tutorial on software-defined data centers (SDDC), students also got an overview on how to integrate all these resources consistently. In the programming section, tutorials took on efficient utilization and parallelization of CPUs as well as GPUs. Contributions in the ‘big data’ section covered topics such as when to use relational and non-relational databases, and how to analyze and process data with various tools. Overview talks by David Kelsey of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) highlighted the challanges, which the grid community faces in the migration from IPv4 to IPv6. Peter Wittenburg of the Research Data Alliance (RDA and Damien LeCarpentier explored new developments within data-intensive sciences. Talks from the meteorological simulation and forecast community in the German meteorological service (Deutscher Wetterdienst - DWD) showed that other fields beyond the classic high-energy physics and physics applications also make use of large scale data processing and analysis

While having started as a school on grid computing for high-energy physicists, over the years GridKa School has broadened its spectrum of topics. This year, participants came from various scientific backgrounds such as computer science, physics, meteorology and the medical/biological sciences, with professional experience ranging from graduate students to site administrators.

Despite these differences, participant responses about this year's mix of talks and courses were very positive. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the dedication of the tutors and speakers from various national and international institutions and the members of the GridKa School team from KIT — who have already started to prepare for the 14th GridKa School in 2016.

Dr. Thomas Hartmann