People - Written by on November 28, 2017

Conferences Promote Greater Diversity in HPC

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This fall, OLCF staff members provided information, presentations, and recruitment opportunities to those attending the Grace Hopper Celebration 2017. Pictured here are (standing left to right) Sophie Voisin, Adam Carlyle, Ashleigh Barnes, Jayson Hines, Kate Carter and (sitting left to right) Drahomira Herrmannova, Sarah powers, Catherine Schuman, Laura Pullum, and Peyton Ticknor.

ORNL staff members educate and recruit at Tapia and Grace Hopper events

Professional conferences provide an important platform for sharing expertise with a large audience, exchanging ideas with other organizations, and recruiting potential new employees. In September, staff members of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) participated in the Tapia and Grace Hopper conferences, each aimed at creating and celebrating greater diversity in computing.

Since 2001, the Tapia conference, named after computational and mathematical scientist Richard Tapia, has connected computing professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. This year’s conference in Atlanta featured presentations on topics such as networking for high-performance computing (HPC) systems and managing big data. Among the presentations was an introduction to GPU programming by Verónica Vergara Larrea and Adam Simpson, user assistance specialists at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at ORNL.

“Our session gives attendees hands-on experience with parallel programming and the opportunity to run on Titan,” Vergara Larrea said. “It is exciting to introduce participants to supercomputing, and better yet, help them run on the GPUs for the first time. The session is also a great place to share information about careers in HPC and at the national labs.”

The Grace Hopper Conference—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists—took place in Houston this year. The annual conference serves as a platform through which women, often underrepresented in computing, can network with colleagues, participate in industry-specific workshops, and learn more about employment and research opportunities across the globe. For organizations such as ORNL, the Grace Hopper Conference presents the opportunity to connect with and recruit talent for a variety of positions.

OLCF staff members set up an informational booth at the annual Tapia Conference where attendees can learn more about employment opportunities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Staff members participating in the event were Brad Szallar, Veronica Vergara Larrea, Adam Simpson, and David Bernholdt.

“By attending the Grace Hopper Conference, we show that ORNL is a leader in recruiting and supporting women in computing,” said Kate Carter, Human Resources Directorate recruiter for the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate and a point person for the ORNL Women in Computing networking group.

Catherine Schuman, who holds a Liane Russell Distinguished Early Career Fellowship at ORNL, gave a presentation on the end of Moore’s Law as the field of computing progresses.

“Presenting at the Grace Hopper Conference provided an opportunity to communicate my work as well as research opportunities in my field to a much broader and more diverse audience than is typically found at other conferences, because there are attendees from all computer science research backgrounds, at all stages in their careers, and from all types of industry, academic, and government organizations,” Schuman said.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.