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 FY2019 examples of CISL’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at home and in the field.

Women in networking

In FY2019, 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 SC19 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.

Nearly 30 women applied for the WINS program in FY2019. Among the seven selected to participate are women from a small college, a community college, and a tribal college, and one participant from Hawaii, a state that is part of the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. CISL was awarded a supplement to the NSF CC* WINS grant in FY2019 to develop a sustainability plan to solidify the highly successful effort that began at SC15. WINS has funded 31 women to date.

2018 WINS awardees
Five IT professionals participated in the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) inclusivity program in November 2018. Seven more were chosen to participate in SC19.

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 IT field and the Internet2 community. This year, I2I awarded scholarships for women to attend the 2019 I2 Global Summit and the 2019 I2 Technology Exchange Meetings.

Diversity outreach to the scientific community

In FY2019 CISL staff published two articles on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the trade publication HPCWire. These articles — Celebrating women in science: Meet four women leading the way in HPC and Building diversity and broader engagement in the HPC Community — were both in the top three most-read articles in the month they were published. In collaboration with contributors from the Earth Science Women’s Network, 500 Women Scientists, and Aspen Global Change Institute, CISL staff also co-authored the widely distributed Guide to organizing inclusive scientific meetings: Where to start, which has been viewed more than 10,000 times.

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 FY2019 included: all CISL managers attended an Essential Listening for Supervisors training; continued dissemination of information via regular CISL Town Halls and Communique emails; public recognition of staff for mentoring efforts through CISL Awards; and ongoing work with UCAR Human Resources to create appropriate job categories and compensation. 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’s Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Sciences (SIParCS) program has a goal of increasing the quality and diversity of the workforce needed to operate 21st century supercomputers. Eleven SIParCS alumni are now employed at NCAR or UCAR. In summer 2019, two alumni mentored SIParCS interns, passing on the organization’s mentoring and support for diverse students.

SIParCS alumni
Five of the eleven SIParCS alumni employed at NCAR and UCAR.

CISL staff also are encouraged to attend the UCAR|NCAR Equity and InclusiON (UNEION) training series. In FY2019, 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 once again facilitated supplemental workshops for UNEION attendees and co-facilitators called Coaching for Social Justice, which teaches 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 sponsored diverse students to attend conferences in FY2019. All 14 SIParCS students attended the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium Symposium as part of the internship program. One former SIParCS student attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. CISL also sponsored eight students from minority-serving institutions to travel to Boulder for the 2019 UCAR Software Engineering Assembly conference, and supported travel for three students to attend the SC18 Conference.