Inside Quantum & HPC Minds:
Dr. Simon Pickartz

As part of our “Inside Quantum & HPC Minds” series, we have interviewed Dr. Simon Pickartz, Head of Software Architecture & Development at ParTec. Simon discusses his passion for High-Performance Computing (HPC), his motivations for joining ParTec, the most exciting initiatives he is involved in, and the future of HPC. He also offers valuable advice for those looking to kick-start their career in HPC. 

Dr. Simon Pickartz
Head of Software Architecture & Development

What initially sparked your interest in High-Performance Computing (HPC)?

My interest in HPC stems from my fascination with distributed systems and solving large-scale problems through distributed computing. Starting with my Bachelor’s Thesis, I delved into parallel programming and system software development. This passion continued through my Master’s Thesis, and I furthered my exploration in a PhD, focusing on virtualization techniques in HPC. Through these experiences, my dedication to advancing HPC technologies grew stronger.

You have been with ParTec for more than 5 years, what motivated you to join and stay with the company?

During my PhD, I collaborated closely with ParTec, a partner in a BMBF-funded project I worked on. Over the project’s three-year duration, I became familiar with the ParaStation MPI communication stack. This collaboration not only exposed me to ParTec’s technology and its projects but also to their familiar working environment. Joining ParTec and continuing in the HPC field felt like a natural progression for me.

What are the most exciting developments you currently see in projects, partnerships and initiatives ParTec is involved in?

Being part of ParTec means being at the forefront of technology across various fields, from HPC to quantum computing and integration with AI. Joining the JUPITER lighthouse project is particularly thrilling. Contributing to Europe’s first Exascale system, built following the dynamic Modular System Architecture (dMSA) paradigm, is a source of pride for everyone at ParTec. For more than 10 years, we’ve collaborated with partners across Europe on this concept. Adapting ParaStation Modulo for AI presents our team with exciting challenges, but I’m confident that with our HPC expertise and the skills of each team member, we’ll play a significant role in ParTec’s AI strategy success.

What excites you most about the future of HPC?

The dynamic nature of HPC constantly drives innovation. From the rise of multi-core chips to the current prevalence of accelerated systems, the field evolves rapidly. Now, with diversification increasing through integration of disruptive technologies such as AI accelerators and QPUs, a shift towards disaggregated system design, epitomized by the dMSA, is evident. This trend not only presents technological challenges but also impacts the entire software stack.

What advice would you give someone looking to start their career in HPC?

To navigate the complexity of the computing stack, from hardware and system architecture to application level, and understand their impact on performance, scalability, and energy efficiency, is crucial. I recommend focusing on a specific domain of interest and developing expertise as you won’t be able to master every aspect. Building a network is essential, acknowledging the collaborative nature of the field. Stay abreast of the latest technological trends, particularly in supercomputing, where we operate at the forefront of innovation.

For further editions of our “Inside Quantum & HPC Minds” series, please visit our dedicated page.