Outreach at regional, national, and international levels

SC14 student job fair
CISL’s Raghu Raj Prasanna Kumar and Kristin Mooney engage with students and postdocs during the SC14 Student-Postdoc Job and Opportunity Fair held 19 November 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

CISL’s outreach program supports CISL’s education imperative for outreach: to actively attract qualified candidates, particularly those from diverse backgrounds. This work fulfills CISL’s strategic action item to expand outreach activities at conferences that enable CISL to effectively interact with our user community, students, and potential employees. Conference outreach also contributes to CISL’s educational imperatives for workforce training and development, and for broadening participation.

CISL deploys exhibit booths for a variety of scientific and technical conferences where CISL staff demonstrates supercomputing capabilities, scientific visualization, and NCAR research in science, computational science, computing technology, and applied mathematics and statistics for the geosciences. CISL also invites scientists and researchers, to present their current findings in the CISL exhibit booth. At the height of its conference outreach program, CISL staff provided demonstrations and presentations at many conferences each year, including Supercomputing, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, Richard Tapia ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing (biennially), and the ADMI Computer Science Symposium and others. CISL also hosts and provides planning and logistics support for mission-appropriate conferences and workshops.

CISL’s outreach activities at SC14 in New Orleans included a series of presentations, a stop on the Intel technology tour, and supported a scavenger hunt for students attending the international supercomputing conference. The presentations in CISL's booth included science and computing talks about CESM, aerodynamics and wind energy simulations on Yellowstone, and GPU applications in data assimilation. Other topics included HPC education, a demonstration of VAPOR for Big Data applications, and a status update on the procurement of NCAR’s next supercomputer.

Another key part of what happens at SC is the technical conversations and private meetings with vendors, some requiring specific non-disclosure agreements, that provide information about future HPC developments. These meetings allow CISL staff to get a sense of the future technology landscape, and are critical for operational planning and procurements.

CISL again staffed a table at the Supercomputing Student Job Fair, talking to students and job seekers about educational, internship, and employment opportunities at NCAR and UCAR. The Student Job Fair event was open to all students and postdocs participating in the SC14 Conference.

As part of its diversity program, CISL conducts outreach in mission-appropriate diversity-oriented venues, such as the Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI) Symposium on Computing at Minority Institutions and the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC). CISL staff described NCAR research careers, encouraged faculty members to nominate students for NCAR programs, and distributed printed information about internship opportunities and professional development programs including SOARS and SIParCS.

CISL supported the March 2015 Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. CISL and UCAR Spark supplied three volunteers as judges, presented four awards for top junior and senior computational and Earth System science projects, presented atmospheric science demonstrations, and exhibited information about the NWSC facility in Cheyenne. CISL’s outreach efforts are part of the NWSC partnership with the State, University, and business community of Wyoming. CISL encourages students to embark on careers in computational science and engineering, and our efforts at this venue demonstrate our long-term commitments to outreach, workforce development, and broadening participation in the sciences.

CISL’s Outreach Group developed and maintains the public visitor area at NWSC. This education exhibit in Wyoming informs K-12 students and the public how high performance computing supports and advances scientific research and discoveries. This past year, CISL’s student visitor support strategy included providing a docent at NWSC as well as adding science talks and interactive demonstrations of parallelism using a Raspberry Pi power wall. CISL collaborates in this effort with staff at the University of Wyoming, the Laramie County Library System, and UCAR Education and Outreach efforts.

Western Wyoming summer camp at NWSC
In July 2015, a Computer Science Summer Camp of fifth- through eighth-grade students from the Sweetwater County School District visited the NWSC. The program is organized by Carla Hester-Croft, a faculty member at Western Wyoming Community College. The students traveled four hours each way to visit the supercomputing facility in Cheyenne.

The NWSC Education and Outreach Strategic Plan, which was written in a collaboration between directors of CISL and the University of Wyoming, calls for NWSC education efforts to support diversity and in particular to serve tribal colleges and community colleges throughout the intermountain west. Over the past two years a relationship has developed between CISL and Salish-Kootenai College (SKC), a tribal college in Montana, and Front Range Community College (FRCC), Laramie County through the SIParCS externship program. At SKC, this technology outreach has spawned “Tech Tuesdays” an open laboratory environment where Native American students work with technology provided by CISL to advance their understanding of information technology. At FRCC, CISL externship efforts have resulted in Raspberry Pi-based HPC concepts being incorporated into an IT course at that Community College.

CISL provided mentors for UCAR’s Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program every year since its inception. This past year CISL’s Outreach Services Group has worked strategically with the new NCAR Diversity, Education and Outreach Director, Carolyn Brinkworth, and other E&O programs at NCAR to become more integrated with other internship programs. CISL’s SIParCS program collaborates with SOARS in outreach activities. CISL has established a reciprocal arrangement with other internship programs at NCAR for training, coordinating social events, and referring candidates between the programs.

These efforts are supported by NSF Core funds, with supplemental funding supplied by other sources as appropriate.