Computer Science/STEM Leaders Explain How to Spark STEM Interest in Youth

November 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 1 — The future demands a large, diverse pool of innovative scientists, engineers and mathematicians who can work together to solve big problems. The working scientists who lead SC16, the premier international conference showcasing high performance computing coming up this November, envision and advocate for a future talent pool that looks far larger and more diverse.

“Teams are always more successful at solving problems when they include thinkers with many life experiences and perspectives,” said Trish Damkroger, Acting Associate Director for Computation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who directs a 1,000-employee workforce enabling scientific discovery through large-scale computational analysis, visualization and mathematical modeling, and serves as one of the members of the SC16 leadership team. “I am saddened that there are not more women scientists and engineers. I can no longer believe it will just happen. I realized we have to work together to change the demographics.”

“In 2016, many of us encourage our children, girls and boys alike, to pursue whatever studies and careers call to them. We like to believe we are living in more egalitarian times,” said Damkroger. “However, I have found that students still experience discrimination in the classroom and beyond,” she said.

“Recent studies have shown that scientists of both genders are more likely to hire male applicants for laboratory positions than equally qualified female applicants,” Damkroger said. “The ways that our biases play out may be subtle. My female friends and I call each other when we start acting ‘too female,’ like questioning whether we are capable of a new role. Using the talents and styles of all minds is imperative if we are going to have the workforce of tomorrow.”

“Of course we all know that not every engineer or theoretical mathematician needs to look the same or conform to a rigid set of gender or personality expectations,” said Jeanine Cook, Students@SC16 Chair from Sandia National Laboratories. “More of us have to act on that knowledge—that diversity makes us stronger and more effective,” she said.

“There’s no doubt we have a long way to go,” Cook said. “My female colleagues and I still witness and experience professional slights, both overt and subtle. The oft-repeated jokes about gender. The lack of diversity in many leadership positions. It all adds up to a steady drumbeat that can drive people out of science study and work,” she said. “But I see reasons to hope that the culture of scientific work environments both outside and inside the academy are slowly evolving to become more inclusive,” Cook said. “As a woman in the field, I share the responsibility to help ensure that our future talent pool is both deeper and wider.”

The motivation is high, as the future is bright for people who are interested and qualified for lucrative and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average wage for all STEM occupations is $85,570, nearly double the average for all occupations ($47,230), and only five of the 100 STEM jobs pay below the average for all occupations. The outlook is bright for STEM jobs.

STEM is coming into our national consciousness as a priority, and everyone agrees that we need to encourage our youngest innovators. Education and government are putting the vision into action, and all over the country, coding clubs, robotics classes, maker spaces and other hands-on STEM experiences for all age groups are popping up. The Obama administration has spearheaded a nation-wide effort to prioritize STEM education, garnering $700 million in public-private partnerships, working to preparing 100,000 new and effective STEM teachers over the next decade, showcasing and bolstering federal investment in STEM, and broadening participation to inspire a more diverse talent pool for STEM jobs. The first ever White House Science Fair was hosted by Obama in 2010, in an effort to hold up our scientists in as high a regard as we do our athletes and entertainers.

So what’s a parent to do? The leaders of SC16 suggest that parents can help open the door to STEM learning and eventually fulfilling, rewarding work and lucrative careers in STEM fields. The following tips are drawn from SC16 leader experience as well as a variety of community organizations working to enhance STEM learning opportunities for girls and boys of all ages. For more information, visit Project Lead the Way (www.pltw.org), Girls Who Code (https://girlswhocode.com/) or a local STEM educator near you, such as Bricks 4 Kidz (http://www.bricks4kidz.com) or C&A Robot Factory (http://carobotfactory.com).

Six Tips For Parents to Open STEM Doors

  • Consider and reckon with your own experiences with math, science and academic achievement. Did you personally struggle with these classes as a young student? Do you have preconceived notions about what “kind of person” succeeds in science and math? Even the most egalitarian people can have deep-seated ideas about gender “norms” and it’s helpful if you are honest with yourself. Resolve to leave any antiquated notions behind and refrain from allowing your personal biases or experiences to constrain your own or any other child.
  • Read to your young children about science, math and technology, no matter what interest you have on the subjects personally. Make it part of your mission to expose your children to simple science experiments, shows and museum exhibits. Visit the nonfiction stacks at the library and stock your home with lots of books about animals and the natural world, as well as biographies about famous scientists. Read newspaper and magazine articles about science topics together.
  • Encourage curiosity and reward it from a very young age. Scientists and engineers seek out answers for a living, and 65% of scientists & STEM graduate students say they developed their interest in elementary school.3 Encourage your child’s questions and efforts to find the answers. Set up your home environment to be conducive to your child’s experimentation. Your kitchen, basement, garage and yard are excellent starter laboratories—treat them that way, allowing your learners to make (and clean up) their own messes. Ask the children you meet what they are reading, what problems they’re solving and what questions they’re asking. Engage all the children you meet as fellow thinkers.
  • Tap into after-school enrichment activities and experiences to kindle a child’s interest. Sign them up for coding clubs and robotics classes. Take them to a workshop at a maker space or hands-on STEM experience at your local library. Subscribe to mail-order STEM activity kits (Tinkercrate.com) to get your child playing and thinking. Keep exposing them to new experiences, but don’t stop there—watch for where their excitement is sparked and keep feeding the flames with related books, museum visits, and new learning experiences that build on each other.
  • Identify and seek out mentors and teachers who work in the fields and find ways for your older student to learn from them. Many people who have become successful in STEM fields cite the inspiration of a family member or good teacher who propelled them to keep asking questions and solving problems and coached and supported them along the way. Recruit parents from your child’s school who work in the sciences, engineering and technology to participate in a STEM career day. Arrange for you and your child to spend time with your friend who works as a chemist. Keep seeking out supportive relationships, especially for older students who have demonstrated interest and aptitude. All young scientists benefit from mentor relationships, but young women pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral science and math studies are especially wise to seek out female classmates and mentors to help them navigate and thrive.
  • Most importantly, know that many students give up on math and science before they’ve had a chance to understand, appreciate and fall in love with their true beauty and interconnectedness. Keep encouraging your child to grapple with hard problems and do the work necessary to understand science and math, at all ages. Invest time and money in good academic coaching if your child is struggling to stay with these subjects. Encourage them to persist—the rewards will be great.

For more information, or to connect with these professionals about STEM industry diversity or other related topics, contact Brian Ban, SC16 Communications, (773) 454-7423.

About SC16

SC16 is the premier international conference showcasing the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. The annual event, created and sponsored by IEEE Computer Society and the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), attracts HPC professionals and educators from around the globe to participate in its complete technical education program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning.


Source: SC16

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!

Help Wanted: QED-C Survey Spotlights Skills Sought by Quantum Industry

September 28, 2021

Developing an adequate workforce for the young but fast-growing quantum information sciences industry is seen as a critical element for success. Just what that means in terms of skillsets and positions is becoming cleare Read more…

Pittsburgh Supercomputer Powers Machine Learning Analysis of Rare East Asian Stamps

September 27, 2021

Setting aside the relatively recent rise of electronic signatures, personalized stamps have been a popular form of identification for formal documents in East Asia. These identifiers – easily forged, but culturally ubi Read more…

Purdue Researchers Peer into the ‘Fog of the Machine Learning Accelerator War’

September 27, 2021

Making sense of ML performance and benchmark data is an ongoing challenge. In light of last week’s release of the most recent MLPerf (v1.1) inference results, now is perhaps a good time to review how valuable (or not) Read more…

Quantum Monte Carlo at Exascale Could Be Key to Finding New Semiconductor Materials

September 27, 2021

Researchers are urgently trying to identify possible materials to replace silicon-based semiconductors. The processing power in modern computers continues to increase even as the size of the silicon on which components a Read more…

The Case for an Edge-Driven Future for Supercomputing

September 24, 2021

“Exascale only becomes valuable when it’s creating and using data that we care about,” said Pete Beckman, co-director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering (NAISE), at the most recent HPC Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Introducing AWS ParallelCluster 3

Running HPC workloads, like computational fluid dynamics (CFD), molecular dynamics, or weather forecasting typically involves a lot of moving parts. You need a hundreds or thousands of compute cores, a job scheduler for keeping them fed, a shared file system that’s tuned for throughput or IOPS (or both), loads of libraries, a fast network, and a head node to make sense of all this. Read more…

Three Universities Team for NSF-Funded ‘ACES’ Reconfigurable Supercomputer Prototype

September 23, 2021

As Moore’s law slows, HPC developers are increasingly looking for speed gains in specialized code and specialized hardware – but this specialization, in turn, can make testing and deploying code trickier than ever. Now, researchers from Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana... Read more…

Purdue Researchers Peer into the ‘Fog of the Machine Learning Accelerator War’

September 27, 2021

Making sense of ML performance and benchmark data is an ongoing challenge. In light of last week’s release of the most recent MLPerf (v1.1) inference results, Read more…

Quantum Monte Carlo at Exascale Could Be Key to Finding New Semiconductor Materials

September 27, 2021

Researchers are urgently trying to identify possible materials to replace silicon-based semiconductors. The processing power in modern computers continues to in Read more…

The Case for an Edge-Driven Future for Supercomputing

September 24, 2021

“Exascale only becomes valuable when it’s creating and using data that we care about,” said Pete Beckman, co-director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institut Read more…

Three Universities Team for NSF-Funded ‘ACES’ Reconfigurable Supercomputer Prototype

September 23, 2021

As Moore’s law slows, HPC developers are increasingly looking for speed gains in specialized code and specialized hardware – but this specialization, in turn, can make testing and deploying code trickier than ever. Now, researchers from Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana... Read more…

Qubit Stream: Monte Carlo Advance, Infosys Joins the Fray, D-Wave Meeting Plans, and More

September 23, 2021

It seems the stream of quantum computing reports never ceases. This week – IonQ and Goldman Sachs tackle Monte Carlo on quantum hardware, Cambridge Quantum pu Read more…

Asetek Announces It Is Exiting HPC to Protect Future Profitability

September 22, 2021

Liquid cooling specialist Asetek, well-known in HPC circles for its direct-to-chip cooling technology that is inside some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, announced today that it is exiting the HPC space amid multiple supply chain issues related to the pandemic. Although pandemic supply chain... Read more…

TACC Supercomputer Delves Into Protein Interactions

September 22, 2021

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a compound used to funnel energy from mitochondria to other parts of the cell, enabling energy-driven functions like muscle contractions. For ATP to flow, though, the interaction between the hexokinase-II (HKII) enzyme and the proteins found in a specific channel on the mitochondria’s outer membrane. Now, simulations conducted on supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) have simulated... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer called Dojo to process truly vast amounts of video data. It’s a beast! … A truly useful exaflop at de facto FP32.” Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. “We’ve been scaling our neural network training compute dramatically over the last few years,” said Milan Kovac, Tesla’s director of autopilot engineering. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months after Red Hat deprecated its support for the widely popular, free CentOS server operating system. The Rocky Linux development effort... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

Google Launches TPU v4 AI Chips

May 20, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke for only one minute and 42 seconds about the company’s latest TPU v4 Tensor Processing Units during his keynote at the Google I Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make it seem like it's two nodes behind? For Intel, the response was to change how it refers to its nodes with the aim of better reflecting its positioning within the leadership semiconductor manufacturing space. Intel revealed its new node nomenclature, and... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire