Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science

The Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science (SIParCS) program seeks to develop students with a background in computational science, applied mathematics, computer science, or the computational geosciences. The 11-week internships provide opportunities for exceptional students to gain practical experience with a wide variety of parallel computational science problems by working with the HPC systems and applications related to NCAR’s Earth System science mission. The ultimate goal of SIParCS is to address shortages of trained scientists and engineers capable of using and maintaining these high-end systems to achieve the goals of 21st-century computational geoscience research. SIParCS supports NCAR’s and CISL’s core missions in education and directly contributes to CISL’s strategic imperative to integrate research and education. CISL is teaching the mathematical and computational science concepts and skills that students will need to make effective use of advanced cyberinfrastructure.

SIParCS class of 2013
The SIParCS class of 2013 brought 10 students from 8 different colleges and universities across the country to work on computational science and engineering projects. This photo shows the interns and their mentors, along with SIParCS Program Office staff.

 
The application process for the Summer 2013 SIParCS program ran from November 2012 to February 2013. A total of 55 students applied for 19 potential intern positions. The 11-week program began 20 May and ended 2 August, when each student gave a project presentation. The seventh annual SIParCS program included 10 students from eight U.S. colleges and universities, including two from Minority Serving Institutions and three from an EPSCoR state institution. Five of the 10 students were from underrepresented groups. Student research topics in 2013 covered diverse problems in applied mathematics, numerical algorithms, information science, software engineering, HPC system administration, and computer science. Once again this year, an engineering intern participated in the program and worked on a project at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC).

The 2013 SIParCS applicant-to-intern ratio was 5.5, indicating that the internship program continues to be competitive. Seven interns came from outside the Front Range region. Salary increases have increased the cost of the program relative to previous years, but maintained salary equity with the other internship programs within UCAR/NCAR/UCP. In response, the SIParCS program has aggressively sought partners to help fund positions. In 2013, of the 10 positions, seven were supported by CISL Core funds (including two by CISL Diversity funds and one partially by IMAGe base funds), one was partially funded by external partner University of Wyoming, one by an NSF special award and one by a DOE grant.

The ongoing development of the SIParCS program can be credited to CISL’s comprehensive and aggressive outreach strategy. In addition to the program’s already significant number of university faculty points of contacts from across the country, the efforts of CISL’s Diversity Coordinator have directly resulted in the addition of new MSI contacts and the participation of a student from one of these MSIs. The Diversity Coordinator’s term contract has been extended with a continued goal of developing and supporting relationships with MSIs. With the current extensive network of contacts, these continued efforts will ensure the supply of high-quality and diverse applicants.