Budget Pressures Squeeze SC14 Broader Engagement

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sc-logoThe SC14 Broader Engagement Program is designed to increase the participation of individuals who have been traditionally under-represented in HPC. And while the BE program received 153 applications this year, the budget will only allow for 61 participants to attend SC14 in New Orleans. This number is down significantly from 2011, when some 150 participants were able to travel to the conference.

With travel costs continuing to rise, there are concerns that the Broader Engagement program will not be able to achieve its goals and will eventually be phased out by the SC conference committee. And for those of whose who feel that new blood is critical to the future of the HPC community, this would be big setback.


SC13 BE Mentor Richard Barrett (left) and Corey Henderson at SC13

SC13 BE Mentor Richard Barrett (left) and Corey Henderson at SC13

So who benefits from Broader Engagement? The Stem Trek blog describes the first-hand experiences of Corey Henderson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Professional networking is especially challenging for me because I’m clinically deaf. Videoconferencing and telecommunication are extremely difficult. I applied for the SC13 BE grant because I knew the in-person experience—especially the opportunity to have a long-time attendee serve as my mentor—would help me overcome my trepidation of engaging with the SC hearing community. The SC13 program was excellent! BE provided me with the focus I needed to select the right tools, and to push forward in developing my new parallel simulation code. I’m now eager to share my ideas and give back to the community that welcomed me so heartily. I’m grateful for the experience, and I hope many more people with disabilities can participate in the SC BE program in the future.

Fortunately, through the advocacy of SC Fundraiser Tony Baylis at Livermore and through the generosity of the National Security AdministrationLawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and the Walt Disney Company, approximately 17 more SC14 BE scholars will be able to attend this year.

We hope to report on more stories like this in the future. After all, SC is about people coming together. If we forget that, all the technology in the world really won’t matter.