Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inside the Broader Engagement program of the Supercomputing Conference

The Supercomputing Conference (SC) that just took place last week in New Orleans was a highly successful event where the brightest minds in high performance computing presented outstanding research. This event should not be missed by those working in cutting-edge research on supercomputers. However, the flight to USA and a week of hosting plus other expenses is a significant cost that not all young scientists can afford. Fortunately, the SC series offers help to those passionate about supercomputers that want to learn, exchange, and present novel ideas about HPC: the Broader Engagement (BE) program tries to increase the diversity of the HPC community by offering financial support to a large number of persons from different backgrounds (as long as they have a legitimate interest in HPC).

In order to offer our readers a clear idea of what the BE program of the SC conference has to offer; we interviewed Javier Iparraguirre, who just attended SC14 under the BE program. Javier received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. He was awarded a Master scholarship by the Fulbright Comission in 2005 and received a Master in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He currently teaches programming to Electrical and Computer Engineering students at Universidad Tecnol√≥gica Nacional and Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina.  

Q: How did you know about the SC Conference? 

A: While I was talking to other colleagues, I heard that SC is the best HPC conference in the world. From that moment I started following all the news related to the event (social media, RSS feeds, and blogs).

Q: How did you learn about the BE program?

A: I learned about BE program from the SC14 website. 

Q: How was your experience at SC14? Was the BE program useful to you?

A: The experience was life-changing. First of all, I met the most famous people in the supercomputing world such as Jack Dongarra and Bill Gropp. Then, the BE program helped me to understand the actual state of the research and development involved in HPC. Finally, I met a lot of people with similar objectives and motivations.

Q: What did you like the most? What could be improved?

A: The most relevant fact that I want to highlight is the opportunity to meet people with similar interests. It is an excellent place to interact and learn about HPC. One aspect to improve is to add multiple tracks in the BE program. The selected people included a wide range of ages and education levels. On one extreme you could find undergraduate students and on the other extreme of the spectrum there were professors. Adding multiple tracks may be helpful for all BE participants. 

Q: Is there any advice you would like to share for future SC and BE attendants?

A: My advice is to apply. After your submission is accepted, get involved in all activities proposed in the BE program. You will not regret it. 

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