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 kmcmahon@mcmahonconsulting.com.

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!

GDPR’s Impact on Scientific Research Uncertain

May 24, 2018

Amid the angst over preparations—or lack thereof—for new European Union data protections entering into force at week’s end is the equally worrisome issue of the rules’ impact on scientific research. Among the Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been emerging from stealth over the last year and a half, is unveili Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been eme Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

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