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Keynotes: Edge Computing and HPC

Pete Beckman

Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering. USA

Edge Computing and HPC: Waggle and the Array of Things for Smart Cities


Sensors and embedded computing devices are being woven into buildings, roads, household appliances, and light bulbs. Most are as simple as possible, with low-power microprocessors that just push sensor values up to the cloud.  However, another class of powerful, programmable sensor node is emerging — one designed for advanced environmental science.  The Waggle ( platform supports parallel computing, machine learning, and computer vision for advanced intelligent sensing applications. Waggle is an open source and open hardware project at Argonne National Laboratory that has developed a novel wireless sensor system to enable a new breed of smart city science and sensor-driven environmental science. Leveraging machine learning tools and computer vision packages such as OpenCV, Waggle sensors can understand their surroundings while also measuring air quality and meteorological conditions.  Waggle is the core technology for the Chicago ArrayOfThings (AoT) project (, which is deploying hundreds of nodes in Chicago and across the world.\


Pete Beckman is the co-director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering. From 2008-2010 he was the director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, where he led the Argonne team working with IBM on the design of Mira, a 10 petaflop Blue Gene/Q. Pete joined Argonne in 2002. He served as chief architect for the TeraGrid, where he led the design and deployment team that created the world’s most powerful Grid computing system for linking production HPC computing centers for the National Science Foundation. After the TeraGrid became fully operational, Pete started a research team focusing on petascale high-performance system software, wireless sensors, and operating systems. Pete also coordinates the collaborative research activities in extreme-scale computing between the US Department of Energy and Japan’s ministry of education, science, and technology. Pete leads the Argo project for extreme-scale operating systems and run-time software. He is the founder and leader of the Waggle project for smart sensors and edge computing.  The Waggle technology and software framework is being used by the Chicago Array of Things project to deploy 500 sensors on the streets of Chicago beginning in 2016. Petealso has experience in industry. After working at Los Alamos National Laboratory on extreme-scale software for several years, he founded a Turbolinux-sponsored research laboratory in 2000 that developed the world’s first dynamic provisioning system for cloud computing and HPC clusters. The following year, Pete became vice president of Turbolinux’s worldwide engineering efforts, managing development offices in the US, Japan, China, Korea, and Slovenia. Dr Beckman has a Ph.D. in computer science from Indiana University (1993) and a BA in Computer Science, Physics, and Math from Anderson University (1985).