BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 16 — This year’s SC15 conference in Austin, Texas, includes the perennial presence of improvscience, a consulting firm that develops scientists’ ability to perform and improvise. Scientists learn to creatively and confidently engage the people and research challenges before them, as well as collaborate and communicate in inclusive communities. SC15, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, runs from November 15 to November 20.
Dr. Raquell Holmes founded improvscience in 2010 to foster community in scientific culture through improvisation. She has worked to transform scientists’ lives with performance since 1993. Dr. Holmes first led improvisational exercises through the Broader Engagement session at SC in 2008. Ever since, she has continued to bring her methods to the supercomputing community in a number of capacities, including the Broader Engagement and now Student tracks. SC14 saw the introduction of the improvscience challenge, conceived of by Dr. Ritu Arora. This hackathon-style event emphasized using team skills to solve scientific computing problems.
“While it’s one thing to have extremely intelligent and skilled individuals follow rules to work together, it’s another to have them move as a well-oiled machine, a jazz ensemble or skilled and agile soccer team,” she says. “improvscience brings the experience and expertise of the theater arts, performance and improvisation to help scientists and engineers develop their collaborative creative genius.”
At SC15 Dr. Holmes will chair a Diversity Panel in the [email protected] event series: “Collective Responsibilities for Biases, Micro-aggressions, Isolation and more.” This panel on Sunday, November 15 at 10:30am includes Ritu Aurora of Texas Advanced Computing Center, Jeanine Cook of Sandia National Labs, Rodolfo Jimenez, Jr. of the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence,and Richard Tapia of Rice University. Dr. Holmes will lead students through a peer “speed meeting” event on November 11 with improvisational exercises. The Peer Speed Meetings event begins at 1:30PM.
The students of SC will have experienced the impact of improvisation through these two events in preparation for SC15’s keynote talk by Alan Alda on November 17. Alda founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. “Communication across disciplines, among working groups and, as Alan highlights, to the broader public is critical to the success of our research and engineering endeavors. Alan’s keynote is a timely conversation as this diverse technical community works to talk not just to a broader audience, but to one another to advance scientific discovery,” Dr. Holmes says.
Dr. Holmes is available for media requests, interviews, workshops, and other speaking engagements. Please contact Dr. Holmes at [email protected]
improvscience provides organizational and leadership development trainings that build collaborative, creative community and help scientists to transform their research environments.
About Dr. Raquell Holmes
Dr. Raquell Holmes is a pioneer in the use of improvisation and performance to advance communication and diversity in scientific research communities. Trained formally as a cell biologist, Holmes works in the fields of high performance computing and computational sciences. As the founder of improvscience, she uses her training in human development and performance from the East Side Institute to help scientists build collaborative learning and research environments. She gives workshops, designs programs, and delivers talks across the country that support scientists crossing disciplinary and cultural barriers to advance their own abilities and to broaden the scope of their research.
Holmes is also Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Computational Science at Boston University; Adjunct Research Associate Professor at the Simon A. Levin Mathematical Computational Modeling Sciences Center at Arizona State University and faculty of the East Side Institute of NY. She authored the Cell Biologist’s Guide to Modeling and Bioinformatics and is the former Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Retention at the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling of UConn Health Center.