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SC20 General Chair: We’re Planning for In-Person and Virtual Conference

SC20, scheduled for November 15-20 in Atlanta, is in the throes of planning for this year’s conference amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic – and conference General Chair Christine E. Cuicchi today said that in the months since the coronavirus outbreak, “the SC20 committee began planning for both in-person and virtual attendance.”

Noting that  open registration for the conference will begin on August 14, Cuicchi also said the conference planning committee will provide updates (here) on the event’s status as the course of the pandemic unfolds.

“Planning each SC conference is a three-year journey,” she said in a blog. “By the time we are in the final year of planning, the shape of the conference is well-determined, as are the known unknowns. The events of 2020 have upended all of that, and have made for the most challenging final year for any SC planning committee yet.”

Having said that, there is still “the business of ensuring the HPC community can continue to exchange ideas and achievements on a broad scale in a normal rhythm,” said Cuicchi. “The SC20 committee began planning for both in-person and virtual attendance — a first for SC — within a month of the United States COVID-related shutdowns. We are fortunate in that we have a longer runway with which to plan than did most conferences this spring and summer. That allows us to not only draw from lessons learned across a wide range of experiences in many fields, but also to carefully plan for the most robust conference experience possible for our participants and attendees.”

SC20 Chair Christine Cuicchi

Cuicchi, who is director of the U.S. Navy’s DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers (Navy DSRC), said conference organizers recently held the first-ever virtual SC paper review meeting, “and it was a tremendous success due to the planning of many, most of all that of our Technical Papers Chair Franck Cappello (senior data scientist at Argonne National Laboratory) and Co-Chair Rudolf Eigenmann (electrical and computer engineering professor, University of Delaware).”

…there is still “the business of ensuring the HPC community can continue to exchange ideas and achievements on a broad scale in a normal rhythm,” said Cuicchi. “The SC20 committee began planning for both in-person and virtual attendance — a first for SC — within a month of the United States COVID-related shutdowns.”

Because of the uncertain nature of this year’s SC, Cuicchi said SC20 is “working with our exhibitors, attendees, and content authors to provide as much flexibility as possible for in-person and virtual attendance and participation,” adding that the conference is willing to provide flexible cancellation and rebate policies where possible.

“The vast majority of the more than 700 people on the SC planning committee are volunteers from the HPC community,” Cuicchi said. “All of us share your concerns regarding the challenges of remaining healthy and safe while continuing with our daily routines. Many of us are also subject to institutional and governmental travel guidance and restrictions — as are our attendees and participants — and much like everything else today, they change frequently.”

 

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