Traveling to the Supercomputing conference is nearly impossible for HPC professionals living in remote areas of the world working for organizations with little to no budget for such global collaborative opportunities.
To open up opportunities to attend the conference, SC17 set up a new “Inclusivity Travel Grant” with the goal of helping individuals with demonstrated interest and passion for HPC that would not otherwise have close to a chance of participating in the conference.
This year’s recipient is Umesh Upadhyaya from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing center serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Umesh works on climate change and atmosphere modelling where he assists research scientists in installation, configuration, and maintenance of the server systems and computing facility using open-source HPC technologies.
Since there are no opportunities for training, workshops, or HPC events in Nepal, attending the SC conference helps provide Umesh the knowledge he seeks. His goal in attending SC17 is to learn and acquire new knowledge through lectures and workshops as well as the seminars.
The award enables Umesh to develop key skills and build collaborations, all of which is crucial as he aims to help build the expertise in the growing Nepalese HPC community.
While he is in Colorado he will also visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO, organized through STEM-Trek.
Bernd Mohr, the SC17 General Chair has been a major supporter of the travel grant.
“This inclusivity travel support will help ensure that people from all countries have the opportunity to learn and experience the SC conference. SC is a unique opportunity for networking and knowledge transfer, unlike any other conference in the world. Sadly, not everyone is able to take advantage of this,” said Mohr.
He continued, “This inaugural travel award will be a step towards changing that. Umesh is committed to taking back his findings to his home community, and we hope this increases the knowledge and benefits that HPC can provide for his home country and institution. I am delighted that SC17 can facilitate this.”
SC17 is committed to improving inclusivity at the conference and this travel award is just one of our activities in this area. Our aim is to broaden participation by identifying the barriers of potential attendees which either stop them attending or limit their participation at the conference.
This travel grant is the first award to directly influence the ability to participate of staff in institutions which could benefit from the knowledge gained from SC, the largest HPC conference in the world.
Umesh also had the opportunity to attend the ISC conference with support from Stem-Trek, Cray, and the ISC conference. As Umesh says, HPC is a relatively a new topic where he comes from and they do not have a standard facility for HPC.
To learn more about Umesh, see his interview on Science Node .
Author: Kim McMahon, SC17 Inclusivity Committee