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!

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated more efforts (academic, government, and commercial) but whose Read more…

By John Russell

Goonhilly Unveils New Immersion-Cooled Platform, Doubles Down on Sustainability Mission

July 16, 2019

Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new datacenter – an enhancement to its existing tier 3 facility – in Cornwall, England, touting an ambitious commitment to holistic sustainability as well as launching a managed Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

New CMU AI Poker Bot – Pluribus – Humbles the Pros Again

July 15, 2019

Remember Libratus, the Carnegie Mellon University developed AI poker bot that’s been humbling poker professionals at Texas hold’em for a couple of years. Well, say hello to Pluribus, an upgraded bot, which has now be Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the Combined Power of HPC and AI to Your Business Transformation

A growing number of commercial businesses are implementing HPC solutions to derive actionable business insights, to run higher performance applications and to gain a competitive advantage. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Smarter Technology Revs Up Red Bull Racing

In 21st century business, companies that effectively leverage their information resources – thrive. As it turns out, the same is true in Formula One racing. Read more…

ISC19 Cluster Competition: Application Results, Finally!

July 15, 2019

Our exhaustive coverage of the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition continues as we discuss the application scores below. While the scores were typically high, some of the apps, like SWIFT and OpenFOAM, really pushed the st Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Goonhilly Unveils New Immersion-Cooled Platform, Doubles Down on Sustainability Mission

July 16, 2019

Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new datacenter – an enhancement to its existing tier 3 facility – in Cornwall, England, touting an ambitious commitme Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

New CMU AI Poker Bot – Pluribus – Humbles the Pros Again

July 15, 2019

Remember Libratus, the Carnegie Mellon University developed AI poker bot that’s been humbling poker professionals at Texas hold’em for a couple of years. We Read more…

By John Russell

ISC19 Cluster Competition: Application Results, Finally!

July 15, 2019

Our exhaustive coverage of the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition continues as we discuss the application scores below. While the scores were typically high, som Read more…

By Dan Olds

Nvidia Expands DGX-Ready AI Program to 19 Countries

July 11, 2019

Nvidia’s DGX-Ready Data Center Program, announced in January and designed to provide colo and public cloud-like options to access the company’s GPU-powered Read more…

By Doug Black

Argonne Team Makes Record Globus File Transfer

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory has broken a data transfer record by moving a staggering 2.9 petabytes of data for a research project.  The data – from three large cosmological simulations – was generated and stored on the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia, Google Tie in Second MLPerf Training ‘At-Scale’ Round

July 10, 2019

Results for the second round of the AI benchmarking suite known as MLPerf were published today with Google Cloud and Nvidia each picking up three wins in the at Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Applied Materials Embedding New Memory Technologies in Chips

July 9, 2019

Applied Materials, the $17 billion Santa Clara-based materials engineering company for the semiconductor industry, today announced manufacturing systems enablin Read more…

By Doug Black

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

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