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SC21 Will Remain In-person/Virtual Hybrid, Says Conference General Chair de Supinski

Amid rumors that SC21 is on the verge of shifting to an all-virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conference General Chair Bronis de Supinski told us today that the rumors are unfounded: SC21 will be an in person/virtual hybrid gathering.

“There’s nothing to (the rumors),” de Supinski said.

He added that he and several other conference organizers recently traveled to St. Louis to meet with managers and staff at the American Center, where SC21 will be held November 14-19, and that the commitment for a partially in-person conference remains in place.

de Supinski, who is chief technology officer at Livermore Computing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s large-scale computing center, said the HPC gathering is adapting to the pandemic in several ways, including the use of “pod seating,” in which event attendees will be seated in groups distanced from each other.

Also, the city of St. Louis currently requires masks for “significant” indoor public gatherings, de Supinski said, and it’s likely the requirement remain in effect at the time of the conference. He said SC21 will hand out free masks to attendees.

Regarding vaccination certifications, as of now they are not required.

Bronis de Supinski

“We opened registration without requiring that, so it would be difficult if somebody told us it was required,” he said. “I mean, some municipalities in the country are requiring (certifications) for gatherings the size SC will be. If St. Louis were to impose that, we would have to figure out how to how to implement, but we will not independently implement it. Because at this point, I don’t feel that it would be a reasonable requirement given that we’ve already had registration opened.”

As for expected attendance, de Supinski declined to share specific numbers of virtual and in-person registrants so far, but he said the overall numbers are less than in normal years.

“They are down from years past – about what we would have anticipated at this time,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of people that are kind of waiting and seeing. And maybe as a result of my talk with you, maybe the numbers will come up some. But we anticipate that registration will be down. It’s certainly going to be more difficult for international attendees. Whether or not there are restrictions from the U.S. government on them coming into the country, or if there aren’t, it’s a long trip and people are going to be more hesitant.”

On the exhibitor side, de Supinski said “we’re down slightly, but we’re actually down less than we anticipated. We’re actually doing quite well in terms of the number of exhibits and the space that has been committed to.” In fact, compared with the same number of weeks in advance of the conference, SC21 is ahead of SC19 for revenue, he said – helped in part by a slight increasing in exhibitor rates.

Comments

  1. Sweet — a bunch of vendors staring at each other in the exhibit hall

  2. Mike Holt says:

    Missouri vaccination rate is 43.3% as of Aug 18th.

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