Hey, how’s it going?
Last week, I was at the ACACES Summer School which took place at Fiuggi, Italy. It was a fun experience, overall. So in the end, I decided to share my experiences at summer school. I also would like to touch on its advantageous aspects of it.
I do not want to write about details of the courses or presentations. For more information about them, you might want to visit http://acaces.hipeac.net/2019/.
What is ACACES Summer School?
ACACES is a summer school organized by HiPEAC. It is aimed towards people who work on high performance computing systems . It’s more than a summer school; it’s an opportunity to meet people who are working on this topic at the industry or academia. It was the fifteenth time this summer school was organized, this year. To register for the summer school, you only have to fill the online form on their registration period.
There were 12 courses that were given in 4 blocks daily. 3 lectures were given simultaneously at a time, so we had to choose a total of 4 courses, one for each block.
Arriving at Fiuggi
After the flight to Italy at the passport check queue, I completely coincidentally happened upon my high school friend Simla. We realized that we both came for the summer school. It was a very convenient coincidence for me as I was completely alone in Rome up until that moment. We got out of the terminal and looked out for the bus that will go to Fiuggi. We saw a group of people with posters on their backs and decided to ask them if they came for the summer school (and indeed they were). The bus came after a while, and I was kinda disappointed that the bus had no indication of ACACES or HiPEAC. Although we had no difficulty finding the group.
Opening Keynote and Dinner(s)
As I have said above, I do not want to go into the details of the keynote. It was about how high performance computing was becoming a very hot topic around the world, (and how Europe was left behind in this super computing race).
All the dinners were amazing, except the one on Wednesday which was all sea food, and as you might guess, I am not a fan of sea food. Firstly, though, I don’t know if I can compare the meals we had at summer school with anywhere else. As a pretty young student, the standards I was faced at the summer school was out of this world. I’ll leave the comparison to those people who knows more than me about food, but if you ask me, the meals were amazing.
Any free time?
Free time? Yes, there’s a lot of free time, if you don’t attend to lectures. But I would not suggest doing that, as the lectures at least give information about where the world is at, at the given specific topic.
One thing I would like to complain about the lectures were the lectures being 75 minutes long. It feels like an eternity. I consider myself a very patient person, but I gave up on the last lectures and decided to check out what’s going on on Twitter/Reddit in the last minutes of every lecture. I would really like more breaks, or the same amount of content spread in at least two weeks.
Speaking of breaks, each are 30 minutes long. You get outside, get a coffee or tea (in my case it’s ALWAYS tea), and meet new people. I appreciate the idea of having long breaks. The time was sufficient for any conversation we had with other people. Lunch breaks were 2 and a half hours long. After eating lunch, it is possible to pass some time around the town, or get a tea and wait for the next lecture, together with friends.
What to do in Fiuggi?
After the lectures, there were 2 hours of time until the dinner. There were a few things to do in Fiuggi.
First of all, the Spa at Silva Hotel, was free for all attendees of the summer school. So we decided to check that out in the first day together with friends. Together with friends, we experienced the magical healing/treatment properties of the thermal waters of Fiuggi, while having fun.
On the second day, with a group of friends, we decided to visit the place called “Old Town” which was just north of the place we were staying. The view of Fiuggi became more beautiful as we climb up to the town.
The third day was the day of poster session which was going to take place at Park Fonte Bonifacio VIII. After checking out the posters and looking around the park, we decided to pass some more time in Spa.
We were going to bike to the nearby lake people were talking about, on the fourth day, but the hotel was out of bikes. We went to a bike rental store and rent a few bikes, but the number of bikes left were limited, so I decided to forfeit my biking chance to a friend and decided to pass some time with video games.
Unfortunately, the Spa, the Old Town, the Lake and the Park are the only things that (seem to be) relevant in Fiuggi and I spent my free time on the last day with video games (as I usually do).
Other than that, people went to a nearby bar named “36” at nights, but I have little to no experience of that place since I do not drink alcoholic beverages. I just went there once and stayed around for a while.
There was a closing party on Friday. Up to this point you might also guess that I am not so fun at parties. Although judging from the people that were dancing, I think they were having fun (beep boop, robot noises…). I decided to stop by my friends outside and join their conversation.
In the end, ACACES Summer School was a fun and beneficial experience. We have met new, awesome people and seen beautiful places while we learn about how high performance computing is going to affect the industry and the future of computer science.