Perform outreach at regional, national, and international levels

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CISL supported travel to the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing for two 2017 SIParCS interns (at left: Hoang Nguyen and Ananta Thapaliya). The students attended sessions, presented a poster at the STARS Celebration portion of the event, and assisted with SIParCS recruitment at the NCAR exhibit table.

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 2016 IEEE Supercomputing (SC16) conference in Salt Lake City, UT included a series of presentations and supporting a scavenger hunt for students attending the international supercomputing conference. The presentations in CISL’s booth were given by SIParCS interns and CISL staff. CISL staff topics focused on the new supercomputer Cheyenne and included talks about storage, science requirements, and using the NWSC facility to analyze big data. Student topics included: “An OpenACC implementation of a dynamical core component of the MPAS atmospheric model” (Supreeth Suresh, University of Wyoming), “Task parallelism on GPUs with OpenACC” (Ankita Manjrekar, University of Colorado), and “RBFD solver” (Samm Elliott, University of Colorado). We also had guest speakers from San Diego State University. 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 SC16 Conference.

In February, CISL collaborated with the University of Wyoming to pilot a training program at Miami Dade College. Six staff from CISL and UW traveled to Miami to teach faculty how to use Raspberry Pi units in a variety of scientific contexts, with an aim to help faculty introduce the R-Pis into their classrooms. Miami Dade College is one of the largest community colleges in the country and is an Hispanic Serving Institution. By encouraging community college teaching faculty to utilize computational resources in a wide variety of courses, CISL hopes to expose students to the range of applications of computation early in their academic careers. This will hopefully start to create an onramp for these students to become interested in and gain access to computer science as a possible career direction. The effort was well-received and the program will be repeated in FY2018.

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, 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 2017 Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. CISL and UCAR Science Education supplied four volunteers as judges, presented four 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 science talks and interactive demonstrations of parallelism using a Raspberry Pi power wall, robots, and newly developed Lego activities. 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.