Perform outreach at regional, national, and international levels

NCAR at Tapia Conference
Richard Tapia (center) with CISL Diversity, Education, and Outreach Specialist AJ Lauer and UCAR Senior Recruiter Tom Cordova at the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference.

CISL provides exhibits at scientific, technical, and diversity-oriented conferences (e.g., the yearly Supercomputing conference sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)), 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’s outreach program supports CISL’s education imperative for outreach by actively attracting 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’s outreach activities at the 2015 IEEE SuperComputing (SC15) conference in Austin included a series of presentations, a stop on the Intel technology tour, and supporting a scavenger hunt for students attending the international supercomputing conference. The presentations in CISL’s booth were given by SIParCS interns. Topics ranged from “Performance Analysis and Optimization of the WRF on Intel Multicore and Manycore Architectures” (Samm Elliott, University of Colorado) to “Estimating the Accuracy of User Surveys for Assessing the Impact of HPC Systems” (Melissa Rishel, University of Northern Colorado). We also had guest speakers from Colorado State University. Susmit Shannigrahi and Christos Papadopolous spoke about their “Named Data Networking” architecture. Another key part of SC activities is the technical conversations and private meetings with vendors, some requiring specific non-disclosure agreements, that provide information about future high performance computing developments. These meetings allow CISL staff to preview the future technology landscape, and they 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 SC15 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, the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, the Rocky Mountain Celebration of Women in Computing, 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 2016 Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. CISL, UCAR Science Education, and NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory supplied five volunteers as judges, presented five awards for top junior and senior computational and Earth System science projects, and presented atmospheric science demonstrations. 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.

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