Podcast: A Preview of the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14

bubbleIn this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team previews the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

Does your Startup have ties to High Performance Computing? SC14 will be in New Orleans this year, and we are holding our first meetup on Nov 17th in New Orleans. Please come, meet like minded people, listen to industry notables, and kick off StartupHPC as a support community.

Register now for the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

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Speaker Lineup for the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14

In this special guest feature, Cydney Ewald Stevens writes that the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14 has an incredible lineup of speakers.

Cydney Ewald Stevens, Director, StartupHPC

Cydney Ewald Stevens, Director, StartupHPC

At roughly six weeks out from SC14 and our first StartupHPC Meetup, if you aren’t registered yet, you should register now! It’s going to sell out and if you’re not there you’re going to be bummed out!

How can I be so confident? This meet up is going to be unlike any other you’ve attended, first because it’s not really adhering to any hardened definition of ‘meet up’. I personally liken it more to an entrepreneur’s IP User Group – an open forum with individuals who really are defying and redefining – everything.

Second, I hope you’re going to be blown away, just like I have been as we lead into this! The sheer brilliance that will be on hand ready to encourage the entrepreneur in you … is stunning! Promise!

Why? Because if you’ve ever tried to pull together a meeting of any sort, or even size, you know the biggest challenge is typically finding compelling topics and captivating delivery. Sometimes you’ll make trade-offs but if you can deliver both, in one package … it’s nirvana!

And that’s what ‘they’, our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) want to give to you!

  • You’ll be able to meet Adrian Cockcroft of Battery Ventures! He’s legend! Now advising and evaluating start-ups himself his original book on Performance and Tuning and the work he did (leveraging core HPC disciplines, btw) for both eBay and Netflix has propelled him to what is nothing short of celebrity in our field.
  • I’ll admit that I am totally excited to meet Thomas Thurston in person myself. I am completely intrigued (and a bit intimidated as a startup ourselves) by Growth Science and what he’s been doing around big data, predictive analytics, etc. Who wouldn’t be?
  • Then there’s Karl Freund, whom I greatly respect for his willingness to be provocative! I think that is a result of his vast experience in all phases of ‘incorporation’ – as the investor advisor, as the scrappy startup and as the mega corporation energizer. His experience of making and reinventing successful brands that are or have back-ended most everything we do – is epic!
  • Of course Wolfgang Gentzsch is legend in HPC! Everyone knows him for his impeccable CV that has influenced world leaders and world leading HPC, Grid, and Cloud initiatives – on top of his latest endeavor Ubercloud and delivering on-demand resources to the research community. He also happens to be the fellow that developed the Grid Engine software, launched and sold companies, thrived through acquisitions, just to do it all again … an authentic, and original, serial entrepreneur indeed.
  • A giant issue in a startup’s life is dealing with all the plethora of legal issues. I am incredibly excited to listen to Brad Gersich who is partner at the global law firm DLA Piper in Silicon Valley. Chambers USA has recognized Brad as a key individual with an “incredible work ethic” and a growing practice. He is “very easy to work with, creative and very dedicated to the client’s positive outcome,” commented one client. Brad is also recognized in The Legal 500 United States. His advice is gold!
  • startuphpcSo, what if you are a starving STEM student with aspirations of coming to SC14 or going to some other major program but don’t have the means to get there – or you’re a benevolent benefactor who wants to help students in physically getting where they need to go? Well, you’ll want to know about STEM-Trek and meet Elizabeth Leake who will share the work she’s been doing to get STEM scholars on the road! You’ll also see that a big benefit of it is the mind-set, the empowerment, that is facilitated by programs like STEM-Trek but ultimately claimed by the individual.

Then there’s the vast amount of individual and collective knowledge of ‘to market’ that will be on hand! Perhaps the most intimidating part of an entrepreneurial journey but as critical to the start-up strategy as it is for a would-be investor!

And what would any infomercial worth it’s salt be without the proverbial … BUT WAIT … THERE’S MORE …

  • The CxO panel that’s been put together is nothing short of astounding. If you’re actively following the latest upstarts in startups, we’re bringing them to NOLA live and in person!
  • Prepare to meet Turbostor co-founder & CEO Kevin Canady, who we managed to pull out of stealth mode as he prepares to launch his next big idea.
  • It’s ‘Not only luck’ as his blog would suggest but truly by serendipity John Melonakos, CEO of ArrayFire, the company for super CUDA coding is joining the lineup – as is serial entrepreneur and CTO of Nimbix, Leo Reiter, whose latest company is leading visualization and humanization of supercomputing, in the cloud!
  • And rounding out this veteran line-up is Thomas Sohmers, CEO of Rex Computing. You may have read about Thomas – and if you haven’t you should! He’s the definition of “Wunderkid” and an inspiration to every age!
  • Whether you’re a STEM student or Pro, a start-up in various stages of the cycle or an investor on the hunt – this is your entrée to the possibility that is HPC!

The great charm, IMHO, of HPC is that you are amongst the greatest intellects in the world. And if I’ve learned one thing in this expanse of a career and lifetime of ‘doing this’ is that there is always something to be learned!

So, as you make your plans to Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler during your SC14 week in the Big Easy add the meet-up to your top picks, get registered and get ready to StartupHPC!

Register now for the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

Cydney Ewald Stevens is Director of the StartupHPC Community.

Video: Reltio Startup Powers Real-Time Big Data with Cassandra

In this video, Manish Sood from the Reltio Startup presents: Cassandra – A Real Time Big Data Application. Recorded at the Cassandra 2012 Summit.

Reltio provides the world’s largest enterprise customers with real-time Big Data Applications that help business users understand markets, drive revenue and reduce risk through actionable, real-time and predictive insights integrated into applications and dashboards. These applications require the ability to not only handle data scale, latency, and high availability but also deliver capabilities that address reconciliation of data from multiple sources, handle multiple dimensions (various entities, relationships and interaction data) of varying complexity, with the ability to track audit and bi-temporal data. To solve this challenge, Reltio leverages Cassandra as the enabling data store for multi-tenancy, complex attribute structures, graph storage, real-time search and analytics. These capabilities are delivered as a Service to customers across verticals to address scenarios such as Extended Client views, Client experience & engagement, and Risk & Compliance.

Download the slides (PDF).

More Details on the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14

startuphpcEntrepreneurs interested in high performance computing are encouraged to attend the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14, which will take place at the Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter in New Orleans on Monday, Nov. 17 from 9:00am-3:30pm. Registrations are now open for the event.  We hope you can attend!

The inaugural event has just published their agenda.

8:30am Registration & Mixer
9:15am Get Ready to… StartupHPC Shahin Khan, Partner, Orion Advisors
9:20am Typical Startup Framework & Today’s Agenda Steve Campbell, Partner, Orion Advisors
9:30am Startup Lifecycle Adrian Cockcroft, Technology Fellow, Battery Ventures
10:10am Legal Strategy: Processes & Pitfalls Brad Gersich, Partner, DLA Piper
10:50am HPC Startups: Trends & Opportunities Addison Snell, CEO, Intersect360
11:20am Break & Mixer


First Person: Startup CxO Panel


Kevin Canady Co-founder, TurbostorJohn Melonakos, CEO, ArrayFire

Leo Reiter, CTO, Nimbix

Thomas Sohmers, CEO, Rex Computing

12:30pm Mindset: STEM-Trek, An Entrepreneurial Journey Elizabeth Leake, Founder, STEM-Trek
12:50pm In Action: Student Cluster Challenge Elizabeth Leake, Founder, STEM-Trek
1:00pm Lunch & Mixer
1:30pm Intra & Entrepreneurial Lessons: Scrappy Startup to Megacorporations Karl Freund, VP, AMD
2:05pm Crossing over: from Science to Serial Entrepreneurship Wolfgang Gentzsch, Co-Founder, UberCloud
2:40pm Predictive Analytics: What Makes a Startup Successful Thomas Thurston, Senior Advisor, Data Science & Venture Capital, WR Hambrecht & Co., and CEO, Growth Science
3:20 Session Wrap & Staying in touch Shahin Khan, Partner, Orion Advisors


We’re delighted to feature an inredibly strong roster of speakers, including Adrian Cockcroft of Battery Ventures, and Thomas Thurston of WR Hambrecht & Co. whose illustrious backgrounds are briefly described below. Additional speakers include Karl Freund of AMD, Dr. Wolfgang Gentzsch of UberCloud, Elizabeth Leake of STEM-Trek, Addison Snell who leads the analyst firm Intersect360, and Steve Campbell of Orion Advisors who used to teach a course on entrepreneurship.


Adrian Cockcroft was named one of the top leaders in Cloud Computing in 2011 and 2012 by SearchCloudComputing magazine and was just named one of the first Amazon Web Services Community Heroes.  He advises Battery Ventures and its portfolio companies about technology issues and assists with deal sourcing and due diligence.  Before joining Battery, Adrian helped lead Netflix’s migration to a large scale, highly available public-cloud architecture and the open sourcing of the cloud-native NetflixOSS platform. He was a founding member of eBay Research Labs, developing advanced mobile applications and even building his own homebrew phone, years before iPhone and Android launched. As a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems he wrote the best-selling “Sun Performance and Tuning” book and was chief architect for Sun’s HPC and Visualization group.  Follow him on Twitter: @adrianco.


Thomas Thurston is a Partner at WR Hambrecht + Co, an investing firm in San Francisco where he leads research and venture capital. The firm and founder Bill Hambrecht have participated in over 500 IPOs and venture investments including Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Genentech, Google and Netscape.  He is also CEO of Growth Science, a data science lab in Portland that uses algorithms to predict the rise and fall of businesses. Growth Science works with an elite roster of Fortune 500 firms and has helped guide billions in growth investments spanning private equity, organic growth and acquisitions.  He serves on the Board of Directors at Ironstone Group, a private equity firm based in San Francisco.  Thomas and his early research were the subject of book The Innovator’s Manifesto: Deliberate Disruption for Transformational Growth by bestselling author Michael Raynor.  He was a resident Fellow at the Harvard Business School, collaborating with Professor Clayton Christensen.

Register now for the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

Why You Shouldn’t Miss the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14

The StartupHPC Community will host its first annual Meetup at SC14 in New Orleans on Nov. 17. How can the community foster entrepreneurship in an HPC business environment that has been rather brutal to young companies in the past? To learn more, we caught up with Cydney Ewald Stevens, Director of the StartupHPC Community.

insideHPC: What is the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14 all about?

Cydney Ewald Stevens, Director, StartupHPC

Cydney Ewald Stevens, Director, StartupHPC

Cydney Ewald Stevens: The StartupHPC Meet up is about getting smart people together. But it’s also not like your traditional meet-ups! Think of it more as an entrepreneur’s IP User Group – an open forum with leaders that really are defying and redefining the rules. You have an idea that you believe has promise … where do you start? What’s the process? Where do you take it? Who do you use as a ‘trusted’ – or trustworthy – advisor? Or you’re a start up in one of the various phases, what do you do next? What resources are available or necessary to support your strategy on whichever part of the path you’re currently on? What StartupHPC, and the meet up, offer is intimate access to some extraordinary, highly successful, individuals who are extremely well versed in taking an idea all the way through to market.

insideHPC: What prompted you to found this new StartupHPC Community? StartupHPC-image

Cydney Ewald Stevens: There’s a glut of ‘resources’ available to would be entrepreneurs … the challenge is the usefulness or validity of what’s available. More so when you consider the extraordinary talent and layers of complexity that is very unique to HPC. We can give countless examples of ideas that emerged as a ‘tool’ from and for the HPC community that have become the foundation to wildly successful commercial endeavors and yet the original ‘inventors’ received little to no gain for their creation or contribution. And while it is not necessarily always about profiting or personal gain, it should be a factor in our thinking. Particularly when the existing funding models designed to support HPC researchers are becoming more scarce and certainly more scrutinized and fiercely competitive. What we can do through StartupHPC directly is help nurture new ideas that in turn will generate future opportunities … anything from building new companies, products, services and job creation to divining new ways of doing things … whether it’s radically different inventions, challenging our definitions of “HPC” or simply saying look, do you recognize the ‘value’ of your idea? The success of one idea creates a foundation for you to continue to invent more. Personally, I see StartupHPC as an opportunity to encourage, source, support and showcase the brilliance and outcomes that is this community.

insideHPC: Can you tell me about the featured speakers?

Cydney Ewald Stevens: The lineup is crazy good! It’s like a TED starter-kit! These are not just people you will want to know, these are people you need to know!

  • startuphpcWe have Adrian Cockcroft, who’s amazing. He’s the guy that broke the conventional rules and launched Amazon and Netflix in the Cloud. Now he’s on the VC side, advising and evaluating up and comers.
  • Thomas Thurston of course is a total guru – on top of being an angel and inventor. It’s Thomas’ technology and methodology that startups and seasoned companies – and investors – rely upon to determine strategies and define success.
  • We’re also focusing on “crossing over” and “getting there” – going from a STEM education, organization or discipline to becoming a successful startup, or navigating uncharted opportunities. This will all be covered from very unique vantage points.
  • We’ve got Karl Freund who’s now with AMD but has traversed the investor, start-up and corporate landscapes, through various phases of the entire entrepreneurial and industrial lifecycle. Karl intimately knows, through experience, the challenges that success entails … becoming successful, remaining successful or reinvigorating success.
  • Wolfgang Gentzsch, our serial entrepreneur, is well known in HPC! He’s currently leading The UberCloud startup delivering compute on demand to scientists and engineers. He’s also the founder of Genias and Gridware, and the workload management software Grid Engine. On top of his impeccable CV, Wolfgang is deeply involved the most substantial international programs that directly support the HPC community. If there were somebody to recruit as a mentor … I’d put him at the top of the list!
  • We’ll also have Dan Olds of Gabriel Consulting Group. Dan’s championing STEM student talent directly, which is really an important audience for us! Dan’s exclusive coverage and support of the student teams competing in the student cluster challenges has propelled SCC’s to a global competition with challenges hosted in China and Africa in addition to Europe and the US.
  • We’re also bringing in Elizabeth Leake who will be on hand to discuss STEM TREK, a really cool professional development support resource for STEM scholars specifically. And we’ll round out with a few other key speakers and topics covering everything from legal considerations to market dynamics.
  • In addition to straight up talks, our panel is also going to be over the top!

Cydney Ewald Stevens: We’ll have CxOs from startups including …  from Turbostor – a stealth mode high performance storage company; Arrayfire – the CUDA code accelerator company; Nimbix – who are delivering Cloud plus Vis as a Service. Plus we’ll have the Wunderkid who’s launched the low powered high performance computing company, Rex Computing. I’m really excited about this! I think we’re very fortunate to host really the ‘who’s who’ in HPC, industry , academia and government – many of the most knowledgeable individuals you’ll ever meet – all of whom who have successfully built upon their academic and research foundations to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

insideHPC: What do you think are the toughest challenges for Startups in the HPC space?

Cydney Ewald Stevens:I think the challenges begin with the individual, encouragement and risk. I don’t think that’s exclusive to HPC. What I have found as a challenge is the ‘bounding’ of what is or is not HPC and the double edged sword because of what it sort of ‘represents’ to a potential ‘investor’ to each individual. It’s complex, it’s expensive, it’s hard to neatly categorize. Whatever. There are the affinities, meaning we have always done it like this … so new is not necessarily welcomed. There is the Goliath’s of competition, or lack there of. There’s the simple challenge of awareness. What’s new. The toughest challenge of being an HPC startup is credibility – building it or having it. And acceptance. Breaking into the (mind) space is hard. Think about a disruptive technology, like virtualization, and the years it took to champion the idea that it could be applied to ‘some’ workloads. Now it’s companies like DWave or ConnectX or even the Cloud, still. Or GPU or ARM, right. Ideas or companies challenging the current convention … What’s it for? There are no apps for that? It’s too expensive! It doesn’t scale … the same was true for ENIAC, Cray-1, MPP, SMP, AIX, Alpha, x86 … and so on and so forth. All it takes is one believer though … one courageous individual who is willing to take a risk, do and try something new or different. And one courageous, perhaps a bit crazy, investor to help kickstart what could be an entirely new era! How we got here in the first place!

insideHPC: You are no stranger to the SC conference series. Can you tell me about your experiences at Supercomputing?

Bo Ewald and Cydney Ewald Stevens

Bo Ewald and Cydney Ewald Stevens

Cydney Ewald Stevens: My first SC was Reno, in 1989. I still remember it to this day. My dad was an exhibitor, so I went to ‘Family Night’ along with my grandparents. I’ll bet most people still don’t know that SC hosts a ‘family night’. Now we bring our own kids! They’ve been to Portland, Reno and Austin obviously. And our son was ‘present’ at Baltimore. I think that was where I was awarded ‘the best smile of SC’, which still makes me smile. If I could impose one thing in everyone’s minds about SC is the profound importance and impact it represents, not just as an annual event but as one industries longest running conference series – the influence and output that is created that reaches far beyond the HPC community it is intended and long after each annual conference. Efforts like the Broader Engagement and Student programs – from academic curriculums and volunteering to sponsoring career fairs or supporting attendance for under-reached individuals, worldwide. There’s a huge effort and undertaking that goes into supporting future STEM pros that has always been one of SC’s greatest charms and best kept secrets! There is so much to an SC. In addition to a stunning technical program, it’s where you can run into the next cool, disruptive technologies, exhibits and startups; SCInet, one week of the world’s largest, fastest, network. Of course one of my personal favorites is the Student Cluster Challenge (SCC), which I was a long-time sponsor and also some of the inspiration for StartupHPC! While most attendees probably don’t really realize the breadth of what SC brings to each conference, city and the community – the broader professional community aren’t even aware of what it ‘is’ or ‘means’. Which is a huge miss! I guess I know it so well because it’s just part of my life .. the kid enamored by the mystic of the ‘industry’; the vendor and exhibitor; member of committees; sponsor and champion to many of the programs …. It’s more than just a conference, an opportunity, job or community … it’s family, friends, inspiration …. It really is one of my favorite times of the year!

insideHPC: Will this be an annual event at the SC conferences?

Cydney Ewald Stevens: Fingers crossed! We’ve got the energy, excitement and even endorsements from key influencers so we know we’re on to something but ultimately demand defines the future – through registering and attending, becoming a member or even becoming a sponsor! We’re no different than any startup or company. The market determines destiny, always! Though, if you’re thinking about coming, I would encourage you to register ASAP! Space is extremely limited and will sell out soon!

insideHPC: How do I register for the StartupHPC Meetup?

Cydney Ewald Stevens: Advanced registration is available through Eventbrite, which you can link from here or directly from our StartupHPC.com website. If you’re interested in joining StartupHPC you can become a member through our Community Sign-up!