Show leadership as champions of diversity in HPC

CISL and its Education and Outreach Working Group set a goal in FY2018 to establish the lab as a leader in championing diversity in high-performance computing by engaging underrepresented populations of current and future users. The lab works toward this goal by promoting diversity and inclusion within the lab as well as in the HPC field and at outreach events. Following are FY2018 examples of CISL’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at home and in the field.

Women in networking

In FY2018, the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program, which is led by a CISL staff member as principal investigator, funded seven women to attend and participate in SCinet and the SC17 Conference. Aimed at increasing diversity in the national network engineering field, the WINS program leverages the annual SCinet activity to help train and mentor women faculty and staff from institutions across the United States in the use of advanced technologies and the national scientific infrastructure. WINS funded five women to participate in SCinet 18 and has funded 24 women to date.

CISL also supports the Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative (I2I). Internet2 is the nation’s largest and fastest coast-to-coast research and education network. It provides a collaborative environment where U.S. research and education organizations can solve common technology challenges. I2I is charged with creating a program that provides support for emerging information technology women professionals to attend Internet2 technical conferences, thereby supporting their entry into the information technology field and the Internet2 community. This year, I2I awarded scholarships for women to attend the 2018 I2 Global Summit and the 2018 I2 Technology Exchange Meetings.

Workforce diversity

As part of the UCAR Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion culture survey and improvement project, CISL created workforce development goals for its facilities in Boulder and in Cheyenne, Wyoming. CISL committed to fostering an inclusive environment by improving cross-organizational communication and recognition, implementing unconscious-bias training for every hiring process, focusing on promoting people with good people skills, and fostering collaboration between CISL in Boulder and CISL at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center. Some efforts to achieve these goals in FY2018 included: opening Work in Progress talks to every member of the lab rather than scientists and engineers; semi-annual CISL Town Halls that include social time to increase staff feelings of belonging; and spearheading a UCAR-wide effort to implement a code of conduct in online community spaces. These efforts will not only make CISL a more welcoming environment for our staff, but also for all individuals who interact with us during our education and outreach efforts.

CISL staff also are encouraged to attend the UCAR|NCAR Equity and InclusiON (UNEION) training series. In FY2018, CISL again provided a co-facilitator and achieved the highest participation rate of any lab. UNEION is a four-part training series designed to increase awareness of equity and inclusion issues that affect the workplace and to make NCAR and UCAR more diverse and equitable. CISL staff also designed and facilitated supplemental workshops for UNEION attendees and co-facilitators called Coaching for Social Justice, which taught attendees how to use coaching skills to interrupt problematic moments, spur deeper thought, and educate themselves and others about social justice.

NSF Core funds support CISL diversity activities. The WINS program is supported by NSF Core funds and NSF grant 1640987. The Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative is funded by Internet2.

Conferences and outreach

CISL administrative staff in FY2018 began a review of conference materials to ensure use of inclusive language. This language has been incorporated into conference registration materials as well as post-surveys. CISL also sponsored diverse students to attend conferences. Two former SIParCS students attended the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, where one of them won a poster competition and the other found an internship for the summer of 2018. CISL also sponsored seven students from minority-serving institutions to travel to Boulder for the 2018 UCAR Software Engineering Assembly conference, and supported travel for three students to attend the SC17 Conference.

SIParCS alumnus with poster
Hoang Nguyen, SIParCS alumnus, with his winning poster at the STARS Celebration at the 2017 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Atlanta.

CISL supported several diversity initiatives at conferences in FY2018. Staff collaborated with the international Women in HPC organization to present a Birds of a Feather session at SC17 about increasing diversity in the HPC workforce, assisted the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC) in the development of a diversity and inclusion statement for its annual symposium, and served on diversity and inclusion committees for XSEDE and the SC18 conference. CISL staff also attended and helped facilitate a retreat produced by 500 Women Scientists, Earth Science Women’s Network, and the Aspen Global Change Network. This retreat produced guidance for conferences on how to increase gender diversity at climate and geoscience conferences.

CISL also engaged in outreach to provide minority-serving institutions and conferences with resources. In collaboration with the University of Wyoming, CISL sent facilitators to Hispanic Serving Institutions Miami Dade College and East Los Angeles College, where they trained nearly 40 educators on how to use Raspberry Pi units in their classrooms. CISL also worked with Intel to arrange a keynote speaker for the Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions Symposium on Computing at Minority Institutions.