Batswana Gems

By Elizabeth Leake

December 20, 2018

Most who work in the high-performance computing (HPC) industry agree; people problems are far more complicated than technical challenges. As I wrote in a 2015 HPCwire feature titled, “Women in HPC: Revelations and Reckoning,” diversity, or the lack thereof, is the HPC industry’s current grand challenge. How to encourage gender and ethnic inclusion in HPC, and retaining women and minorities once they join, continues to confound even the best outreach and engagement officers in the field.

While it’s well known that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are less diverse than humanities, business, social science and other research arenas, computational science & engineering (CS&E) are the least diverse of all. As the long tail of data-intensive research engages more domains, the group portrait has begun to diversify. But the HPC industry still has a lot of work to do before more women and ethnic minorities will feel comfortable entering and staying in its workforce.

The diversity dialogue intensified when compelling research studies were published in 2013. One found that diverse teams are more creative and make better decisions than homogeneous ones, and another suggests that teams with more women are functionally “smarter” than mostly male teams. This is also about the time the Anita Borg Institute noted that while women account for half of the population, and half of the biology and chemistry baccalaureate degrees, they only hold about 28 percent of the CS&E jobs. Another study published in the journal PLOS One found that efforts to promote diversity actually lead to better-quality science, and when there is gender parity among team leadership, there’s an increase in the participation rate by highly-, and equally-qualified women. But then Forbes reported that women are turned off by the tech industry’s macho culture, and that causes some to drop out of the workforce. Women that are left behind report the workplace feels even less welcoming with each female colleague’s departure.

These revelations came at a critical time. Climate change, public health, food insecurity, energy and water scarcity present global grand challenges that must be resolved through the use of bigger, faster and more accessible HPC; and a well-prepared workforce. We need diverse teams of computationally-savvy, creative and smart leaders who are passionate about solving these issues.

I recently wrote a two-part feature for Top500 about student cluster competitions. I wanted to investigate why some countries that had participated in the past were not represented at the 2018 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) Student Cluster Competition for the first time since its inception. To summarize my findings, students from the US and United Kingdom, in general, have so much debt, that they’re not registering for time-intensive extracurricular activities. They must work while they study and during breaks to stave off as much of the financial burden as possible.

But without this extracurricular experience, they will be disadvantaged in the global job market once they graduate. Fewer schools can afford to send teams to competitions, and most who do, participate in one domestic competition, at best. Conversely, Chinese and Singaporean teams participate in as many as seven contests each year, and South Africans three; the added exposure is likely to have contributed to their success.

Two out of the top three winning teams at ISC lacked gender diversity. Tsinghua’s team has never featured women; European and US teams have been dominated by white male students. South Africa is the welcome exception among elite top performing teams in terms of ethnic and gender diversity.

Botswana didn’t get the gender or race “memos” when it comes to STEM exclusion. With Dr. Audrey Masizana leading the University of Botswana Computer Science (UB-CS) department, students have a strong female role model at the helm. I noted that women comprised half of the 2018 UB-CS graduating class. I am not aware of another CS program anywhere else in the world that can claim 50 percent female participation. Students in Botswana are available to participate in unpaid, extracurricular activities because few have student debt. In fact, most lack access to credit. While Botswana is known for its diamonds, I think its true gems are the young Batswana women who are passionate about making a difference in our world.

Molly Kgobathe (left) and Boipelo Mosetho

I was delighted when UB Graduate Students and Teaching Assistants Boipelo Mosetho and Molly Kgobathe sought my help with setting up a Women in HPC-Botswana chapter.

They envision their chapter being autonomous—separate and apart from UB—so that it can draw stakeholders from regional schools and industries. They hope the relationships fostered by their chapter will lead to more student internships and HPC industry jobs for women.

I posed the question; are they interested in forming an all-female student cluster competition team that could train with the South Africans in July, compete against them in December at CHPC, and against global competitors the following June at ISC? STEM-Trek would liaise with South Africa, help fundraise, find US trainers and correspond about their activities. With US trainers, there will be no conflict of interest when the battle lines are drawn with South Africa!

They liked the idea and have already drafted a charter and survey to gauge student interest. Since they are teaching assistants, they know who the rock star performers are, so recruiting at UB should be easy for them.

Batswana Gems are willing to do the hard work, but they will need sponsors, trainers, mentors and more. If you’d like to help them shine in time for February training, please contact [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!

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

Cerebras Systems Thinks Forward on AI Chips as it Claims Performance Win

June 22, 2022

Cerebras Systems makes the largest chip in the world, but is already thinking about its upcoming AI chips as learning models continue to grow at breakneck speed. The company’s latest Wafer Scale Engine chip is indeed the size of a wafer, and is made using TSMC’s 7nm process. The next chip will pack in more cores to handle the fast-growing compute needs of AI, said Andrew Feldman, CEO of Cerebras Systems. Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Quinn in a presentation delivered to the 79th HPC User Forum Read more…

IDC Perspective on Integration of Quantum Computing and HPC

June 20, 2022

The insatiable need to compress time to insights from massive and complex datasets is fueling the demand for quantum computing integration into high performance computing (HPC) environments. Such an integration would allow enterprises to accelerate and optimize current HPC applications and processes by simulating and emulating them on today’s noisy... Read more…

Q&A with Intel’s Jeff McVeigh, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2022

June 17, 2022

HPCwire presents our interview with Jeff McVeigh, vice president and general manager, Super Compute Group, Intel Corporation, and an HPCwire 2022 Person to Watch. McVeigh shares Intel's plans for the year ahead, his pers Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 152995403

Bayesian ML Models at Scale with AWS Batch

This post was contributed by Ampersand’s Jeffrey Enos, Senior Machine Learning Engineer, Daniel Gerlanc, Senior Director for Data Science, and Brandon Willard, Data Science Lead. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 261863138

Using Cloud-Based, GPU-Accelerated AI for Financial Risk Management

There are strict rules governing financial institutions with a number of global regulatory groups publishing financial compliance requirements. Financial institutions face many challenges and legal responsibilities for risk management, compliance violations, and failure to catch financial fraud. Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Intel CPUs and GPUs across multiple partitions. The newly reimag Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

Cerebras Systems Thinks Forward on AI Chips as it Claims Performance Win

June 22, 2022

Cerebras Systems makes the largest chip in the world, but is already thinking about its upcoming AI chips as learning models continue to grow at breakneck speed. The company’s latest Wafer Scale Engine chip is indeed the size of a wafer, and is made using TSMC’s 7nm process. The next chip will pack in more cores to handle the fast-growing compute needs of AI, said Andrew Feldman, CEO of Cerebras Systems. Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

IDC Perspective on Integration of Quantum Computing and HPC

June 20, 2022

The insatiable need to compress time to insights from massive and complex datasets is fueling the demand for quantum computing integration into high performance computing (HPC) environments. Such an integration would allow enterprises to accelerate and optimize current HPC applications and processes by simulating and emulating them on today’s noisy... Read more…

Q&A with Intel’s Jeff McVeigh, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2022

June 17, 2022

HPCwire presents our interview with Jeff McVeigh, vice president and general manager, Super Compute Group, Intel Corporation, and an HPCwire 2022 Person to Watc Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

D-Wave Debuts Advantage2 Prototype; Seeks User Exploration and Feedback

June 16, 2022

Starting today, D-Wave Systems is providing access to a 500-plus-qubit prototype of its forthcoming 7000-qubit Advantage2 quantum annealing computer, which is d Read more…

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Nvidia R&D Chief on How AI is Improving Chip Design

April 18, 2022

Getting a glimpse into Nvidia’s R&D has become a regular feature of the spring GTC conference with Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research, providing an overview of Nvidia’s R&D organization and a few details on current priorities. This year, Dally focused mostly on AI tools that Nvidia is both developing and using in-house to improve... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1919750255

Intel Says UCIe to Outpace PCIe in Speed Race

May 11, 2022

Intel has shared more details on a new interconnect that is the foundation of the company’s long-term plan for x86, Arm and RISC-V architectures to co-exist in a single chip package. The semiconductor company is taking a modular approach to chip design with the option for customers to cram computing blocks such as CPUs, GPUs and AI accelerators inside a single chip package. Read more…

The Final Frontier: US Has Its First Exascale Supercomputer

May 30, 2022

In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to procure a trio of exascale supercomputers at a total cost of up to $1.8 billion dollars. Over the ensuing four years, many announcements were made, many deadlines were missed, and a pandemic threw the world into disarray. Now, at long last, HPE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced that the first of those... Read more…

AMD/Xilinx Takes Aim at Nvidia with Improved VCK5000 Inferencing Card

March 8, 2022

AMD/Xilinx has released an improved version of its VCK5000 AI inferencing card along with a series of competitive benchmarks aimed directly at Nvidia’s GPU line. AMD says the new VCK5000 has 3x better performance than earlier versions and delivers 2x TCO over Nvidia T4. AMD also showed favorable benchmarks against several Nvidia GPUs, claiming its VCK5000 achieved... Read more…

Top500: Exascale Is Officially Here with Debut of Frontier

May 30, 2022

The 59th installment of the Top500 list, issued today from ISC 2022 in Hamburg, Germany, officially marks a new era in supercomputing with the debut of the first-ever exascale system on the list. Frontier, deployed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieved 1.102 exaflops in its fastest High Performance Linpack run, which was completed... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

Nvidia Launches Hopper H100 GPU, New DGXs and Grace Superchips

March 22, 2022

The battle for datacenter dominance keeps getting hotter. Today, Nvidia kicked off its spring GTC event with new silicon, new software and a new supercomputer. Speaking from a virtual environment in the Nvidia Omniverse 3D collaboration and simulation platform, CEO Jensen Huang introduced the new Hopper GPU architecture and the H100 GPU... Read more…

PsiQuantum’s Path to 1 Million Qubits

April 21, 2022

PsiQuantum, founded in 2016 by four researchers with roots at Bristol University, Stanford University, and York University, is one of a few quantum computing startups that’s kept a moderately low PR profile. (That’s if you disregard the roughly $700 million in funding it has attracted.) The main reason is PsiQuantum has eschewed the clamorous public chase for... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

ISC 2022 Booth Video Tours

AMD
AWS
DDN
Dell
Intel
Lenovo
Microsoft
PENGUIN SOLUTIONS

Intel Reiterates Plans to Merge CPU, GPU High-performance Chip Roadmaps

May 31, 2022

Intel reiterated it is well on its way to merging its roadmap of high-performance CPUs and GPUs as it shifts over to newer manufacturing processes and packaging technologies in the coming years. The company is merging the CPU and GPU lineups into a chip (codenamed Falcon Shores) which Intel has dubbed an XPU. Falcon Shores... Read more…

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

India Launches Petascale ‘PARAM Ganga’ Supercomputer

March 8, 2022

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Indian government promised that it had five HPC systems in the final stages of installation and would launch nine new supercomputers this year. Now, it appears to be making good on that promise: the country’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has announced the deployment of “PARAM Ganga” petascale supercomputer at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates MLPerf Inference, Qualcomm also Shines, Where’s Everybody Else?

April 6, 2022

MLCommons today released its latest MLPerf inferencing results, with another strong showing by Nvidia accelerators inside a diverse array of systems. Roughly fo Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

Industry Consortium Forms to Drive UCIe Chiplet Interconnect Standard

March 2, 2022

A new industry consortium aims to establish a die-to-die interconnect standard – Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) – in support of an open chipl Read more…

Covid Policies at HPC Conferences Should Reflect HPC Research

June 6, 2022

Supercomputing has been indispensable throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, from modeling the virus and its spread to designing vaccines and therapeutics. But, desp Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire