SC16: Taking Diversity and Inclusivity Seriously

By Kim McMahon

November 8, 2016

The SC Conference continues to change and improve to provide a better experience for the conference attendees. Diversity has always been important to the conference and this year they have taken their actions further with the creation of the Diverse HPC Workforce committee.

I had the opportunity to interview John West, SC16 chair, and Trish Damkroger, chair of the Diverse HPC Workforce committee, to ask them about their respective roles and what motivates them to volunteer for this effort.

Why do you see diversity an important initiative for SC16?

John West: I am an engineer. I put on my math and engineering hat to analyze the future workforce needed for HPC positions.

John West
John West

HPC is a critical tool for engineering and science accomplishment. It’s difficult to find a discipline that is not touched by HPC. As we get more sophisticated with big data sets, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, the role of computing is going to become more important.

We have to provide enough people to do the work in HPC. Currently, the workforce is short by 200,000 skilled employees. It is estimated that the HPC workforce will need a million skilled workers by 2022. An estimated two thirds of the people in the workforce are from underrepresented groups. We have to look at the two thirds who are “untapped talents” to ensure we have the best and smartest minds working on the problems we are trying to solve with HPC.

What other areas of HPC do see possibly affected?

West: I build and work with tools. These tools need to be used by all types of people with diverse backgrounds. A group of engineers would use their native language and terminology in the tools they build, which may not translate clearly to everyone. When you have larger teams and collaboration, you get tools that are built from a broad spectrum of life experiences and work experiences that fit a wider audience.

What led you to get started with the Diversity Workforce effort?

Trish Damkroger: My wakeup call was as I was sending my daughter off to college to study computer engineering. I didn’t want her to be the only girl in the class or to have to deal with professors that might be discriminatory. We need to make a change in the culture where women and minorities are comfortable and are treated fairly and with respect.

Do you see bias in the SC community?

Damkroger: Yes, and I don’t think people realize the damage they are doing. I believe most of what I have seen is unconscious bias versus intentional.

West: The SC Diversity effort really opened my eyes. I believe there is an unconscious inequality in the way people are treated. As I’ve learned more, my eyes opened to the bias and it’s something I want to change.

Trish, what has your role been like as chair of the Diversity Workforce committee at SC16?

Trish Damkroger
Trish Damkroger

Damkroger: As with any new initiative in SC, forming the right team and developing the goals were the focus for the first year. We decided on 20 percent conference participation and 20 percent technical program participation by women by 2020. Since the committee is made up mostly from volunteers, this role involved educating the committee and helping the committee understand the importance of diversity and inclusivity.

What is your vision for the Diversity Workforce? What were your goals and what did you accomplish?

Damkroger: John West decided to focus on diversity as a priority for SC16. I was honored that he asked me to chair the committee. The overall vision for the diverse workforce is that it is diverse and we do not have to focus energy on the subject. For a while, the number of women in computer science increased, and I thought we were moving on the right track. Unfortunately, those numbers along with female electrical engineers have been declining. I want all children to be able to become whatever they want to be. I want teachers, parents, and advisors to encourage all students to pursue STEM degrees. I want women and under-represented groups to feel welcome in HPC. We need more computer scientists to fill the jobs we currently have. We need more people to pursue CS education. I think John has done a great job of looking at the numbers and identifying what is needed for our community.

As for accomplishing my goals for the committee…I’d say this is a multi-year commitment with multi-year goals. I am proud of the work the committee has done so far and we still have a lot of work to do.

What do you think is the most urgent issue that needs our action – “our” meaning the HPC community?

Damkroger: I think the biggest issue is the pipeline. I believe that the more diverse our workforce becomes, the easier it is to bring more diversity into the pipeline. The overall goal is to increase the number of students getting CS degrees. I have sponsored the Girls Who Code Program in the local schools around Livermore so we can reach middle and high school students. There are wonderful programs already developed to tap into which could help the pipeline issue of the future.

How can we all contribute to the diversity and inclusivity effort?

Damkroger: Get involved! For many years, I assumed the environment had improved in colleges for Computer Science and Engineering students. It was heartbreaking when I spoke to students and heard about some of the situations they are currently encountering. No one wants our daughters, granddaughters or future daughters to have to go through what I am still hearing about. The day that the world is gender and race neutral will be a great day.

==============================================

The SC16 Diversity efforts are very comprehensive. Below is a summary. Explore the SC16 website for full details.

Facts

The SC Conference Diversity effort has been gathering conference stats and industry data for years. This is an ongoing effort where the committee will continue to gather data and share it with the community. In the year’s prior, it was optional for participants to ‘self-identify’; however, this year, it has been made a requirement as this will go a long way in identifying the makeup of the conference participants and the changes we see year over year. The Diversity Committee will be conducting surveys at SC to continue to gather data so expect better and more data. See the graphs.

SC16 Code of Conduct

SC16 took a big step in defining a conference Code of Conduct designed to provide a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. There is the Code of Conduct and a process for confidentially reporting breaches of the code of conduct.

Child Care

This is the first year the SC conference has offered child care services. In addition to child care, there is also a parents’ room to accommodate the needs of parents. The deadline to sign up for child care has already passed. Now, the committee is turning their focus to the results to see if these services are beneficial to those parents who want to attend the conference and that they have helped make their SC conference experience better.

First Time Attendees

SC16 is bringing back the First Time Attendee welcome presentation to give advice on navigating the SC conference, highlighting what SC has to offer, and giving new attendees an opportunity to meet the SC team. Anyone is welcome for the presentation (you don’t have to be a first time attendee). Monday, November 14, 4:30-5:15 pm, room 260 in the Convention Center.

Many of us have been coming to the SC conference for years. We know a lot of people, tend to interact with our ‘group,’ and are very comfortable at the conference. We all need to be aware that not everyone has the experience with the conference that we’ve had. To continue to grow the available HPC workforce, we need to keep growing the people that come to the conference. We can do that by helping attendees feel more comfortable at the conference, giving them advice on how to make the most of the conference activities, and highlighting the science and math because that is where #HPCmatters!

Do you have feedback to my blog or the SC16 Diversity program? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected].

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!

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digita Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Supercomputers Help Predict Carbon Dioxide Levels

December 10, 2019

The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems – its lands, forests, jungles and so on – are crucial “sinks” for atmospheric carbon, holding nearly 30 percent of our annual CO2 emissions as they breathe in the carbon-rich Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Finally! SC19 Competitors Live and in Color!

December 10, 2019

You know the saying “better late than never”? That’s how my cluster competition coverage is faring this year. With SC19 coming late in November, quickly followed by my annual trip to South Africa to cover their clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Ho Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Natural Gas, Precision Agriculture, Neural Networks and More

December 6, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This