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April 26, 2013

George Michael Fellowship Helps HPC Community Thrive

Nicole Hemsoth

For doctoral candidates in supercomputing, the George Michael Memorial HPC Fellowship offers a rapid plug-in to the global network of leading high performance computing organizations, from research institutions to industry.

Past recipients report that the fellowship ticket to the annual supercomputing conference (SC) can be a career affirming and life changing experience.

“Coupled with the opportunity to display my research at a well-attended conference, the Fellowship has had a tremendous impact on my work future,” said Ryan Gabrys, a 2012 fellow. “The George Michael Fellowship has provided me with more freedom to pursue the areas of research I find the most exciting.”

A doctoral student at UCLA, Gabrys’ HPC specialty is coding for HPC storage systems.

Fellowship candidates are exceptional PhD students whose research focus is on high-performance computing (HPC) applications, networking, storage, or large-scale data analysis using the most powerful computers currently available.

Recipients of the George Michael Memorial HPC Fellowship receive a $5,000 honorarium, travel and registration for SC13, and recognition at the SC13 Awards Ceremony.  Past recipients report that the fellowship ticket to the supercomputing conference (SC) can be a career affirming and life changing experience.

The deadline of May 1 to apply for the 2013 fellowship is rapidly approaching. To apply or for more information, see the SC13 website:

Xinyu Que, a 2011 fellow, notes that the fellowship helps students make the most of what can be an “overwhelming” experience at SC. “It provides opportunities to meet other George Michael fellows and make new connections. The profound technical talks helped me better understand research topics and trends.

“Not only did I have a chance to present and demonstrate my doctoral research to well-known, senior researchers, but I also learned about future challenges and opportunities in my research areas. It was very stimulating,” said Que, who at the time was a doctoral candidate in Parallel Architecture and System Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering at Auburn University.

Abhinav Bhatele, a 2009 fellow from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, found the fellowship an effective vehicle for spreading the word about his research. “The fellowship award has been instrumental in disseminating my research and dissertation work on ‘topology aware task mapping’ within the field of HPC,” said Bhatele, who is now a researcher in the Computation Department at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  “It also has helped me to connect with others in the field and I have become good friends with other George Michael fellows.”

For Ignacio Laguna Peralta, another 2011 fellow, the fellowship offered the opportunity to get feedback from experts in his field – failure diagnosis and localization in HPC applications. 

“I received constructive criticism of my work, which I used to improve it. Also, I was able to interact with other students and researchers in my field and to gain valuable professional connections,” said Laguna Peralta, who received his PhD. from Purdue in 2012. “Other benefits of the fellowship include the opportunity to visit and present research to a variety of organizations. This helps in finding collaborators in labs or companies outside your University and in making connections for a future job.”

The fellowship introduced Mark Hoemmen to the Supercomputing Conference (SC) and opened his eyes to the breadth and vitality of the HPC community. Hoemmen, a specialist in architecture-aware iterative linear solvers, currently works at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

“Had I not received the Fellowship, I might not have attended the conference until later in my career, and I might have missed out on seeing how grand and dynamic the field of HPC is,” said Hoemmen, a 2008 fellow from UC Berkeley. “It struck me how much interest industry has in the conference, not just as vendors of HPC technology, but also as consumers.  This helped me better understand industry’s interest in HPC, which has served me well in my current responsibility as a central developer of a popular open-source scientific software product.”

Sponsored by the ACM and the IEEE-CS, the George Michael fellowship seeks to address the critical issue of training the next generation of high performance computing scientists and engineers.

The late George Michael, a computational physicist at Lawrence Livermore, was a founder of the annual supercomputing conference (SC), which is now in its 25th year. Michael, who died in 2008, is remembered for his ability to bring together diverse talent from academia, industry and national labs to advance HPC.

To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in a full-time PhD program at an accredited college or university and are expected to have completed at least one year of study in their doctoral program. Women, minorities, and all who contribute to workforce diversity are encouraged to apply. 

For more information or to apply, visit the SC13 site Submissions opened in early March and will close on May 1.

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