Colombian and Botswana Researchers Awarded ISC Travel Grant

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Today ISC 2019 announced the recipients of the ISC Travel Grant this year will be from Columbia and Botswana. The winners will each be awarded a grant of 2500 euros to cover travel expenses and boarding. ISC High Performance will also provide the grant recipients free registration for the entire conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

The ISC High Performance Travel Grant Program was introduced in 2018 to enable university students and young researchers who are interested in acquiring high performance computing knowledge and skills, but lack the necessary resources to obtain them, to be a part of the ISC High Performance conference.

Grant recipients:

  • Aurelio Vivas

    Aurelio Vivas a Master of Science research assistant in Computer Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Vivas is currently implementing two key projects in the Computer Engineering department at the Universidad de los Andes. One is developing algorithms for parallel and distributed computing systems to process satellite imagery data; the other is in support of experimental work for molecular dynamics simulations. He is also a researcher for a local project that is focused on utilizing unused capacity on commodity hardware for HPC workloads. At the Universidad del Valle, Vivas is involved in a non-profit initiative called the Computational Platforms Seminar, which seeks to demonstrate the benefits of HPC to the scientific community. In 2017, the event held talks on OpenMP and OpenACC programming, experimental reproducibility with containers, and HTCondor.

Vivas believes there is a critical need to elevate HPC culture in Colombia, in particular, expanding access to scientific computing gateways and promoting cooperation between universities. “Most of the scientific community in Colombia is unaware of HPC platforms,” says Vivas. “They still carry out experimentation on their personal computers without the possibility of improving the computation time of their results.”

  • Molly Kgobathe

    Molly Nkamogelang Kgobathe, a postgraduate researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Botswana, have been selected as the ISC Travel Grant recipients this year. They have been chosen out of 62 international applications. Molly Kgobathe is a second year Master of Science student at the University of Botswana, where she has been both a systems analyst and a lab instructor. She is currently a member of the Computer Science HPC team at the university, as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) HPC Ecosystem. Kgobathe is also a co-founder of the local Women in HPC organization, a grassroot NGO that brings together Botswana women in HPC to disseminate acquired knowledge and experiences from working professionals, in addition to providing inspirational role models for younger students. The newly established Botswana chapter is a small group but collaborates with the University of Botswana Student HPC Cluster group, which hosts an annual HPC system admin workshop. The group also has other projects in the pipeline, including outreach and training workshops.

Following the ISC conference, Kgobathe hopes to return to her position at the university to take on increasingly responsible HPC administrative tasks, bringing her interests in data science and HPC to bear on her system admin role. In her future endeavors, Kgobathe says she is determined to “utilize my talents and work closely with my colleagues in achieving strategic long-term goals in a well-established organization.”

Registration is now open for ISC 2019, which takes place June 16-20 in Frankfurt.

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