ACM Gordon Bell Prize


The ACM Gordon Bell Prize is awarded each year to recognize outstanding achievement in high-performance computing. The purpose of the award is to track the progress over time of parallel computing, with particular emphasis on rewarding innovation in applying high-performance computing to applications in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. Prizes may be awarded for peak performance or special achievements in scalability and time-to-solution on important science and engineering problems. Financial support of the $10,000 award is provided by Gordon Bell, a pioneer in high-performance and parallel computing.

Individuals or teams may apply for the award by submitting a technical paper.  Finalists present their work at the annual SC conference, and their submissions are included in the conference proceedings.
The award committee is selected by ACM and includes past winners as well as leaders in the field.

Submitted papers must follow a specific structure intended to elucidate what the innovations were, the performance levels achieved on one or more real-world applications, and what the implications of the approach for the broader HPC community.  The prize winner is not selected simply on raw performance numbers. Rather, the Prize Committee seeks:

  • evidence of important algorithmic and/or implementation innovations
  • clear improvement over the previous state-of-the-art
  • solutions that don’t depend on one-of-a-kind architectures (systems that can only be used to address a narrow range of problems, or that can’t be replicated by others)
  • performance measurements that have been characterized in terms of scalability (strong as well as weak scaling), time to solution, efficiency (in using bottleneck resources, such as memory size or bandwidth, communications bandwidth, I/O), and/or peak performance
  • achievements that are generalizable, in the sense that other people can learn and benefit from the innovations

Solving an important scientific or engineering problem is important to demonstrate/justify the work, but scientific outcomes alone are not sufficient for this prize. 

Finalists are chosen on the basis of performance measurements already achieved when the paper is submitted (not what the team hopes to achieve in the future).  Finalists are given an opportunity to submit revised results in October, before the winning entry is selected.  The authors should be prepared to present a proof of repeatability as well as detailed scientific/engineering/analytic  results, if asked.


ACM Gordon Bell Prize submissions are technical papers that provide the information necessary for judging and comparison, but in a format suited for inclusion in the SC conference proceedings.  Papers that do not conform to this format will not be considered for the ACM Gordon Bell Prize. (Page limits refer to typical technical paper page standards:  11+ pt font, single spaced text, fitting within 7.5” x 10” text area)

  • abstract
  • category submitting for (1+ of:  scalability, time-to-solution, peak performance)
  • overview of the problem and its importance (1 p max)
  • quantitative discussion of current state of the art (1 p max)
  • what the innovations are and how they were achieved (2 pp max)
  • what application(s) was used to measure performance (1 p max)
  • system and environment where performance was measured (1 p max)
  • performance results, including scalability (weak and strong), time to solution, efficiency (of bottleneck resources), and peak performance (2 pp max)
  • implications for future systems and applications (1 p max)
  • references (no page limit)

Important SC13 Information:

Location: Denver Convention Center, Denver, CO
Email Contact:

Important Dates:

Web Submissions Open: February 15, 2013
Submission Deadline: May 3, 2013
Conditional Notification: July 1, 2013
Conference Dates: November 17-22, 2013

ACM Gordon Bell Prize Chair: David H. Bailey, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and U.C. Davis

ACM Gordon Bell Prize Committee: The committee list is available online at