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Podcast: SC15 Keynote Speaker Alan Alda on How HPC Transforms

Alan Alda

Alan Alda

In this podcast conversation hosted by TACC’s Jorge Salazar, SC15 keynote speaker and acclaimed actor Alan Alda discusses the urgency for clear, engaging and accurate communication in high performance computing and the importance of supercomputers in general.

“I think the kind of transformation that’s already been brought about by high performance computing is extraordinary. And for it to go further and fully realize its potential requires another kind of transformation… Powerful computing affects all our lives and can hopefully save our lives. It can eventually help us survive some of our unfortunate efforts that have affected climate, for instance. To model climate change is one of the great benefits we’re going to get from supercomputing. The trouble is, to really help the public understand all the benefits that they can get from supercomputing, it has to be communicated with clarity so that they get it and they get excited by it… (thus) I think we have to transform the scientists who are explaining this to the public before the public will allow them and participate with them in transforming their own lives with this amazing ability to model things on supercomputers.”

Alan Alda, actor, director and writer, has had a lifelong interest in science. He hosted the PBS program Scientific American Frontiers from 1993 to 2005, an experience he called “the best thing I ever did in front of a camera.” Perhaps best known as surgeon ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce on the TV series MASH, Alda has won seven Emmys, six Golden Globes, and three Directors Guild of America awards for directing. His two memoires are both New York Times bestsellers.

A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs on how scientists communicate with the public. He is also on the Board of Directors of the World Science Festival.

Alda’s keynote takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at SC15 in Austin.

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