Category Archives: Conferences

The Conferences category contains blog articles on different conferences that are of interest to the Chapter. This includes conference events that we are running or contributing to, as well as, reports from conferences covering our topics of interests.

News from the Workshop Committee

Published by:

Nitin Sukhija

The SIGHPC Workshop Committee has its mission promoting the interest in and knowledge of applications of High Performance Computing (HPC) by organizing, coordinating and managing in-person and virtual events and workshops. We are actively engaged in fostering collaborations between all HPC Community members at all education levels in the scientific and big data applications domain, and in facilitating a global forum for HPC and non-HPC members interaction, and in promoting opportunities for members to expand their knowledge of high performance computing.

Our committee is seeking motivated members from the computing community to help us:

1)   accelerate global collaborations and global membership diversity of the chapter by enhancing and leading exciting new HPC training and education initiatives worldwide in multitude of domains, such as Big Data, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things and more.

2)   efficiently and effectively engage HPC practitioners and professionals from all age levels to extend further the outreach of the SIGHPC Education Chapter and to facilitate development of more training and educational programs for both HPC and non-HPC members at all stages of their education and career development.

Few of our recent efforts involve:


If you are HPC stakeholder interested in addressing challenges with effectiveness of HPC education and training materials and promoting collaborations among HPC educators, trainers and users, please join our committee for furthering the above-mentioned efforts!


HPC Education: Widening Participation and Increasing Skills through Contests, Challenges and Extra Curricular Learning

Published by:

Nitin Sukhija

At this year’s ISC conference in Frankfurt, the ACM SIGHPC Education Chapter has coordinated with a distinguished panel of speakers involved in HPC training and education efforts from CESGA, ICM Warsaw, CHPC and Sandia National Labs to bring together stakeholders in HPC education including academia, industry, government and non-profit/non-governmental organizations worldwide.

Please participate in our discussion aimed at answering the following question:

“why and how should we integrate the HPC instructional practices with the alternative flexible pedagogical and andragogical approaches that stimulate creativity leading to recruiting, motivating and retaining individuals to create diverse HPC community?”

Through short presentations followed by a panel-style discussion, the BoF aims to:

  • highlight success stories and challenges of integrating technology-based transformational experiences, such as contests and research, for increasing the effectiveness of HPC education,
  • gain a better understanding of factors that lead to successful learning; and identity development in this domain,
  • gather best practices, document opportunities for improvement and potential solutions, and
  • establish sustainable long term collaborative efforts focusing on development supporting HPC education.



The “HPC Education: Widening Participation and Increasing Skills through Contests, Challenges and Extra Curricular Learning” session will take place on Tuesday 26th June 2018 at 3:45 PM in the Analog 1,2 room at the Frankfurt Messe during ISC’18 in Frankfurt.

Everyone is welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion!

HPC Outreach: There is not a moment to lose

Published by:

Nick Brown, EPCC
“There is not a moment to lose”

I don’t know if you have ever read any of the Aubrey-Maturin books by the late Patrick O’Brian, set at the turn of the 18thto 19thCentury and describing life in the Royal Navy. Even if you have only flicked through one of the books, you will probably have picked up an almost constant sense of urgency and this is a realistic representation of what pervaded through the navy at that time – in the books much to the annoyance of the decidedly un-navy like Dr Maturin!

Why outreach matters?

Based on the modern pace of change I think this sentiment is truer today, especially in scientific fields, than it has ever been before. Certainly from my perspective there is an urgency to try and push forward the state of the art in HPC and share it, before other people’s activities supersede my work. However, I think this same sense of urgency also applies to other, non-technical, aspects of our community. Diversity is a prime example here and, whilst there are some excellent initiatives being adopted by the likes of the SC and ISC conferences, we still have a long way to go.

In my mind outreach and public engagement is also something that the community needs to be pushing, and indeed in recent years there have been significant developments here too. There are several reasons why we should be concerned with outreach, and it is my belief that a very important one is that it can help us to meet our diversity goals. Successful outreach, which encourages a wide variety of individuals to consider science, and possibly HPC, as a career can be a key tool in helping shape the future make-up of our community. But also, public engagement informs the general public of what we are doing, why it is important and crucially why we deserve tax payer’s money! I think SC had its finger on the pulse when it adopted the “hpcmatters” hashtag, but more needs to be done to share the importance of HPC to a general audience.


This therefore draws me to the heart of why I have written this blog post – we have a BoF at ISC about HPC outreach and public engagement. Hopefully from what I have written you can see that our definition of outreach is broad and covers a wide variety of areas. These include engaging with school kids about science, enthusing older University students about HPC, sharing the importance of HPC with the general public, and encouraging scientists & engineers to use HPC in their research.

The idea of the BoF is to bring together people who are doing, or interested in doing, outreach. Irrespective of whether someone is experienced in outreach, or if they are just starting out and want to get more involved, the idea is that by meeting up we can all learn from each other. Our session at ISC lasts for an hour and the plan is for this to be heavily interactive; sharing experiences of public engagement, discussing best practice and tips for doing better outreach, and exploring questions around how to ensure outreach can help the community’s diversity efforts. There will also be several demos present and time at the end for attendees to get hands on with these. Crucially these are all “open” and instructions for using them in your own outreach will be provided.

June will see the third run of an outreach BoF, previous ones having been held at SC16 and SC17. But importantly ISC will be the first time we have done this in Europe and I think we will get a somewhat different audience. Certainly the outreach BoFs at SC have been very successful and generated lots of interesting discussion, the key is bringing together the worldwide community and I am excited about the new ideas and discussions that we will have in Frankfurt about outreach.

So in my mind there is indeed, not a moment to lose, in leveraging outreach & public engagement to help improve the HPC community and shape it for the future. It would be great to see you in Frankfurt and you can find more information about the BoF at the relevant ISC webpage. It will be held Wednesday June 27th, 10:30am to 11:30am in the Pikkolo room.

If you want more information then feel free to pop by the EPCC stand during ISC.

We hope to see you there!

HPC Certification Program

Published by:

Julian Kunkel

Why it’s needed?

The HPC community has always considered the training of new and existing HPC practitioners to be of high importance to its growth. The significance of training will increase even further in the era of Exascale when HPC encompasses even more scientific disciplines. This diversification of HPC practitioners challenges the traditional training approaches, which are not able to satisfy the specific needs of users, often coming from non-traditionally HPC disciplines and only interested in learning a particular set of skills. HPC centres are struggling to identify and overcome the gaps in users’ knowledge. How should we support prospective and existing users who are not aware of their own knowledge gaps? Most centres provide their own teaching material but most of the time it’s not comprehensive, which forces users to learn from multiple sources. How should intermediate HPC users identify content they have not mastered yet?

What it actually is?

Since there is a generally accepted set of skills and competencies necessary to efficiently use HPC resources, we propose the establishment of an international HPC Certification program that would clearly categorize, define, and examine them. Making clear what skills are required of or recommended for a competent HPC user would benefit both the HPC service providers and practitioners. Moreover, it would allow centres to individually bundle skills together that are most beneficial for specific user roles and scientific domains. Finally, recognized certificates simplify inter-comparison of independently offered courses and provide additional incentive for participation.

How to get involved?

To make sure the program becomes a community-wide and sustainable effort, we invite anyone experienced or interested in HPC teaching and training to participate in the discussion and get involved. If you are interested in join the initiative, send an email to  ( To receive the latest news, subscribe to the mailing list (

Several institutions and individuals already agreed to partner and contribute to this effort. We all will be working together to establish governance rules and work on the technical content. Our first meeting will happen at the ISC conference in Frankfurt on Wed June 27thduring lunchtime. For more information visit: We hope to see you there!



Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Micro-aggression

Published by:

Manos Farsarakis, EPCC

At this year’s ISC conference in Frankfurt Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) has teamed up with ARCHER Diversity and other interested parties to run a Birds of a Feather session focusing on micro-aggression in the context of creating and retaining diverse workforce. “Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Micro-aggression” will take place 27thJune 2018 at ISC’18.

The aim of the session is to raise awareness on the issue of micro-aggression, offer first-hand experience from different perspectives and encourage a re-evaluation of what it means to create an inclusive workplace.

WHAT is micro-aggression?

Although, the term micro-aggression has been around for over 10 years it is surprisingly obscure and controversial. However, the impact of microaggression is potentially significant to already marginalised groups. The topic is not that well researched but has many definitions of varying extent. The BoF will focus on how the casual degradation of any marginalized group impacts the workforce during workplace interactions. We will discuss how creating a welcoming environment for all is key to retaining a diverse and effective workforce. Furthermore, we will encourage self-examination, challenging the individual instinct that all we do is “good” and “moral”.

Why should everyone care?

The compound effect of these seemingly minor acts of aggression can have a significant impact on an individual both personally as well as professionally. Motivation is a key contributor to an individual’s workplace productivity. We will use personal experience on both sides to investigate avenues for both self-improvement and extending this knowledge to the workplace.

What can be done?

Although it’s not about pointing fingers, instances of micro-aggression are often not intended, so dealing with them without pointing them out is extremely difficult. It’s not logical to expect someone to change their behaviour if they are not aware of it. Therefore, it’s important to vocalize things that bother us. Creating a working environment of openness, respect and appreciation is necessary.

As an observer: Speak out

As a receiver: Speak out

As a giver: Keep an open mind

As an employer: Encourage discussion

How to get involved?

Micro-aggression is not something that happens in professional environments only, so we invite everyone attending ISC18 to attend the session, regardless of their job title, position or affiliation.

The “Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Microaggression” session will take places on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 11:30 in the Pikkolo room at the Frankfurt Messe during ISC’18 in Frankfurt. Everyone is welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.


Women in HPC at ISC18

Published by:

Toni Collis, Appentra and WHPC

In just 10 days WHPC will be at the ISC 2018 conference for our fourth year and including the eighth international Women in HPC workshop.

Our events will be focusing on current concerns from the community to improve inclusivity, as well as continuing our goals to provide opportunities for women to network, collaborate and take the next step in their career.

Events include:

  • BoF: Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Microaggression
    Most of us recognise that diverse teams foster increased productivity and output. However, in recent years it’s become increasingly clear that recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is the single biggest challenge. What can we, each of us, do to improve diversity and build a more inclusive environment? Although, microaggression is not something people tend to talk about, it is a real issue that many of us have to face on a daily basis. But what is it? Have you ever heard of, or experienced microaggression? This BoF will help you understand what microaggression is, the damage it can do to all communities (not just women!) and the steps you can take.
  • Reception: Networking and Careers Reception: Connecting talent and opportunity
    Following the success of our previous ISC High Performance Luncheon Receptions and our careers evening at SC17 we will be holding our first ISC evening cocktail and buffet dinner networking reception this year. We will be expanding our event and bringing together companies with women (and men!) who wish to find out more about the opportunities they provide from working in a more diverse and inclusive workforce to products and training that will help you build a successful career and thrive in your HPC role. Join us and our Anchor supporter, Lenovo, to discuss working in HPC, brainstorming the difficulties, the challenges, and the opportunities to improve diversity and inclusivity for everyone, and participate in the opportunity to meet our sponsors. 
    Places are limited: register now!
  • Eight International WHPC workshop
    Our workshop will discuss methods and steps that can be taken to address the under-representation of women, including how to build a resilient workforce, manage stress, be an advocate and ally and develop skills to thrive for women in their careers.


All of our events are designed to give those wishing to build an inclusive, supportive HPC workplace for both themselves and others, the knowledge and tools to make this happen.

Full details on all events, including times and locations is available on our dedicated ISC event page.

Register now!

Registration is now open for ISC 2018, which takes place June 24-28 in Frankfurt, Germany.

To participate in our workshop and BoF make sure you register for the workshop and Exhibit floor access.

Registration for the WHPC Evening Reception is free and via Pictatic.

See you in Frankfurt!





Workforce, Education, and Training at SC16

Published by:

If you are attending SC16 in Salt Lake City, you will find a number of workshops, Birds of a Feather (BOF), and technical sessions relating to workforce, education, and training topics.  We have assembled a list of those sessions as a guide to those who are interested in those topics.  Of course we especially would like you to attend our chapter BOF on Tuesday November 15th at 12:15 PM where we will lead a discussion about the education and training issues important to you, and ask for your feedback in shaping future chapter activities.

One thing to note:  you must add workshops to your registration.  BOF’s and other sessions are open to all other registrants.  You should also check out the HPC Impact showcase sessions throughout the conference for presentations on the impacts of HPC on a variety of industry and research applications.

Here are the other sessions we found of note in schedule order.

Workshop: Women in HPC at SC16

Sunday 9am-5.30pm: Workshop: Diversifying the HPC Community

Location: 251-D

The fifth international Women in HPC workshop will be held at SC16, Salt Lake City, USA. The workshop will address a variety of issues relevant to both employers and to employees, specifically to identify particular challenges faced by women, outline opportunities and strategies for broadening participation, and share information on the steps being taken to encourage women into the field and retain a diverse workforce.

 Education/Career Keynote and Pitch-It Workshop

Sunday November 13 1:30 – 2:15 PM

Location: 260

This is the kickoff section for the student program.  The keynote will be delivered by Wen-Mei Hwu, University of Illinois.

Workshop: Third SC Workshop on Best Practices for HPC Training

Monday, November 14, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: 155-F

The SC16 workshop will be used to highlight the results of collaborative efforts during 2016 to develop and deploy HPC training, to identify new challenges and opportunities, and to foster new, enhanced and expanded collaborations to pursue during 2017.

Workshop: EduHPC Workshop

Monday, November 14, 2:00 – 5:30 PM

Location: 251-E

The EduHPC Workshop is devoted to the development and assessment of educational resources for undergraduate education in High Performance Computing (HPC) and Parallel and Distributed Computing (PDC). This workshop focuses on the state-of-the-art in HPC and PDC education, by means of both contributed and invited papers from academia, industry, and other educational and research institutions.

Workshop: HPC Systems Professional Workshop

Monday, November 14, 2:00 – 5:30 PM

Location: 155-F

In order to meet the demands of HPC researchers, large-scale computational and storage machines require many staff members who design, install, and maintain these systems. These HPC systems professionals include system engineers, system administrators, network administrators, storage administrators, and operations staff who face problems that are unique to HPC systems. This workshop is designed to share solutions to common problems, provide a platform to discuss upcoming technologies, and present state of the practice techniques so that HPC centers will get a better return on their investment, increase performance and reliability of systems, and researchers will be more productive.

BOF: SIGHPC Education Chapter Meeting

Tuesday, November 15, 12:15 – 1:15 PM

Location:  355-D

This BOF will bring together those interested in promoting HPC education through the formal and informal activities of the chapter.  The session will begin with an open discussion from participants to solicit their ideas and feedback on chapter activities followed by a review of current activities and plans for the chapter in the coming year.

Panel:  HPC Workforce Development: How Do We Find Them, Recruit Them, and Teach Them to Be Today’s Practitioners and Tomorrow’s Leaders?

Tuesday, November 15, 3:30 – 5:00 PM

Location: 255-BC

This panel session is focused on gathering recommendations on mechanisms to expand the Cyberinfrastructure (CI) workforce via formal and informal education and training opportunities in CI, Computational and Data-enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E), Data Science and related areas. The panel members have been selected to provide and elicit fresh, new, and controversial perspectives on strategies to prepare a larger and more diverse CI workforce that can advance research, discovery, scholarly studies, and economic competitiveness through the application of computational and data-enabled tools, resources, and methods across all sectors of society.

BOF: How to Build Diverse Teams for More Effective Research

Tuesday, November 15, 5:15 – 7:00PM

Location: 250-C

Most of us recognize that diverse teams are good for productivity and output. But do you know how to improve diversity and build a more inclusive environment? Have you ever heard of unconscious bias, stereotype threat, or imposter syndrome? Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough to be in the community or feel like a ‘fraud’? This BoF will discuss the real effects of these three topics on the workplace, providing the audience with an introduction to each theme, how they may affect you, and how they impact employers, employees, advisors, managers, or your peers.

Panel: Experiencing HPC for Undergraduates: Graduate Student Perspective

Wednesday, November 16, 10:30AM – 12:00 PM

Location: 250-D

This session will be held as a panel discussion. Current graduate students, some of whom are candidates for the Best Student Paper Award in the Technical Papers program at SC16, will discuss their experiences in being a graduate student in an HPC discipline. They will also talk about the process of writing their award-nominated papers.

BOF: Women in HPC: Intersectionality

Wednesday, November 16, 12:15 – 1:15 PM

Location: 155-C

There are many groups that are under-represented in the HPC community, including women and African-Americans, but particularly poorly represented are those that fall into the intersection of two or more underrepresented groups. In this BOF, we hear the stories of women of different minority backgrounds in the HPC field, and the complex intersection between gender, race, sexual orientation and more, and how this has shaped their experience in HPC. We ask these women for their advice on making the HPC field more inclusive for people of all backgrounds.

Invited Talk: Bias: From Overt to Unconscious and What Research Suggests Can Be Done

Wednesday, November 16, 3:30 – 4:15 PM

Location: Ballroom-EFGHIJ

When my book Nobel Prize Women in Science was published in 1993, the legal barriers against women in academic science seemed to be fading into the past. But now we realize that subtle barriers are also difficult to deal with. In my talk, I’ll give some examples, past and present, and describe recent research on the subject. In particular, I will draw on what I’ve learned from the book that Dr. Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation, and I are writing about women in science.

BOF: Best Practices in Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Supercomputing

Wednesday, November 16, 5:15 – 7:00 PM

Location: 355-D

We present, discuss, and refine best practices on mentoring undergraduate researchers. We define “best” practices as those which 1)encourage student interest in high-performance computing, 2)produce high quality results, and 3)build student interest in the field. While some might cite the breakdown of Dennard scaling as the largest challenge facing the HPC community, scaling parallel computing education is both a more alarming and challenging issue.