Broader Engagement with HPC Matters; Become an SC14-BE Mentor

By Elizabeth Leake

September 2, 2014

The Supercomputing Conference Broader Engagement program (SC-BE) increases conference participation by individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in the high-performance computing (HPC) arena, including women, minorities and people with disabilities.

In a report by Timothy A. Mann and Valerie E. Taylor (Texas A&M) titled “Analysis of the Impact of the Broader Engagement Program on the SC Conference,” the authors explain how the BE experience increases the likelihood that scholars’ submissions (technical program papers, posters, etc.) will be reviewed favorably and they are more likely to participate in conference activities and committees. Ultimately, success in the technical conference arena improves BE scholars’ confidence as they advance in HPC careers. This is good news for HPC industry employers who struggle to build and sustain a diverse workforce.

Unfortunately, as institutional budgets grow leaner, fewer would-be conference-goers are supported by their employers. At the same time, it’s more expensive to host conferences, so there is less money to support auxiliary programs, like BE. This is why the number of BE applications doubled in 2014, but only 40 were funded by the conference (down from 150 in 2011). Fortunately, SC Fundraiser Tony Baylis (Livermore) found external support for an additional 17 scholars, through the generosity of the National Security Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Disney Research.

BE Matters to Corey and Richard

This story began in 2011 when then TeraGrid (precursor to XSEDE) External Relations Coordinator Elizabeth Leake met Corey Henderson (University of Wisconsin-Madison) at the XSEDE/PRACE HPC International Summer School in South Lake Tahoe, California. Leake was a conference facilitator, and Henderson was one of 60 participants from 20 countries. Henderson, like many people who struggle with disability, explained to Leake that he lacked confidence when it came to engaging with others in a crowded conference setting. Leake knew the Supercomputing Conference Broader Engagement Program (SC-BE) could help, and she encouraged Henderson to apply for travel support through the SC-13 BE program.

Henderson was selected by the SC13 BE committee, and the activity spawned a chain-reaction of positive events. Leake and Henderson captured the interest of SC13 BE Deputy Chair Mary Ann Leung (Sustainable Horizons Institute). In 2014, SC14 BE Chair Leung tapped Leake to help lead the BE Program as deputy chair.

When Leung, Leake and the SC14 BE committee realized that more were applying, but fewer would be supported, they began to collect testimonials from past participants in an effort to describe how various aspects the Program had uniquely impacted their lives. Henderson and Barrett shared theirs—the first in a series to follow.

SC13 BE alumnus, Corey Henderson (University of Wisconsin-Madison) 

As a graduate student in plasma physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my research had taken me into the massively-parallel realm and the development of simulation software for Madison’s experimental physics research group. Because nobody in my department had experience with the cyberinfrastructure I hoped to use, I had limited exposure to the resources and professional network I needed. STEM-Trek had begun to bolster my professional network, but I wanted to attend SC to share my work, see what others in my field were developing and learn to use the tools that would help me accomplish my goals.

Professional networking is especially challenging for me because I’m clinically deaf. Videoconferencing and telecommunication are extremely difficult. I applied for the SC13 BE grant because I knew the in-person experience—especially the opportunity to have a long-time attendee serve as my mentor—would help me overcome my trepidation of engaging with the SC hearing community.

“Because I’m deaf, I usually feel isolated when surrounded by unfamiliar faces in large crowds. Dr. Barrett introduced me to others early in the conference, so I was comfortable venturing out on my own later in the week.” — SC13 BE Participant Corey Henderson (UW-Madison).

The SC13 program was excellent! BE provided me with the focus I needed to select the right tools, and to push forward in developing my new parallel simulation code. I’m now eager to share my ideas and give back to the community that welcomed me so heartily. I’m grateful for the experience, and I hope many more people with disabilities can participate in the SC BE program in the future. 

SC13 BE Mentor Richard Barrett (Sandia National Laboratories)

Richard Barrett (left) and Corey Henderson at SC13.
Richard Barrett (left) and Corey Henderson at SC13.

Although I’ve been familiar with the SC-BE program for many years, and had mentored BE students in the past, SC13 was the first year I was fortuitous to be assigned a protégé with a disability since the experience provided valuable insight to their unique challenges.

I understood BE’s primary goal was to boost participants’ confidence by introducing them to new tools, concepts and people. I believed that with knowledge and experience, confidence would automatically follow. Corey made me realize this rule doesn’t always apply to people with disabilities (or others from under-represented groups).

Before he became deaf, Corey had created a successful software development business. When he suddenly lost his hearing, he was no longer able to compete in the fast-paced, and unforgiving commercial sector. He lost the business he had sacrificed much to build, and the experience crushed his confidence—not in his technical aptitude or entrepreneurship, but in his ability to compete in the hearing world.

Traditional methods of delivery assume everyone processes information the same way, and in the same amount of time. Corey quickly drew from my experience to identify shortcuts that allowed him to navigate the conference culture quicker so he could have more time to digest what he had learned, and to establish rapport with the people he met.

I look forward to mentoring many more BE students in the future, and encourage others to participate as mentors. BE is a critical component of the SC conference, and a positive experience for everyone involved.

“Having met Corey, I’m more cognizant of presentation pitfalls. I now take time to make sure everyone understands what I’ve said — especially those who might lack the confidence to raise their hand. I provide my presentation early, so students who struggle with a language barrier or disability have time to review it, in advance.” — SC13 BE Mentor Richard Barrett (Sandia National Laboratories).

Additional testimonials by SC-BE scholars are available online. For more information about the BE program, visit the SC14 BE website.

For more information about STEM-Trek click here: http://www.stem-trek.org.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

STEM-Trekker Badisa Mosesane Attends CERN Summer Student Program

June 27, 2017

Badisa Mosesane, an undergraduate scholar who studies computer science at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, recently joined other students from developing nations around the world in Geneva, Switzerland to particip Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

The EU Human Brain Project Reboots but Supercomputing Still Needed

June 26, 2017

The often contentious, EU-funded Human Brain Project whose initial aim was fixed firmly on full-brain simulation is now in the midst of a reboot targeting a more modest goal – development of informatics tools and data/ Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a Department of Energy sponsored collaboration between the Univ Read more…

By John Russell

UMass Dartmouth Reports on HPC Day 2017 Activities

June 26, 2017

UMass Dartmouth's Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research (CSCVR) organized and hosted the third annual "HPC Day 2017" on May 25th. This annual event showcases on-going scientific research in Massach Read more…

By Gaurav Khanna

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Creating a Roadmap for HPC Innovation at ISC 2017

In an era where technological advancements are driving innovation to every sector, and powering major economic and scientific breakthroughs, high performance computing (HPC) is crucial to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Read more…

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “pre-exascale” award), parsed out additional information ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid whoops and hollers from the crowd, Thomas Sterling presented t Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out plans to push deeper into climate science and develop more gran Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale companies and their embrace of AI and deep learning – tha Read more…

By Doug Black

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a D Read more…

By John Russell

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid wh Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out pla Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big d Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “g Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This