URISC@SC17 and the Longest Last Mile

A multinational delegation recently attended the Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems workshop, or URISC@SC17, in Denver, Colorado. URISC participants and presenters from 11 countries, including seven African nations, 12 U.S. states, Canada, India and Nepal, also attended SC17, the annual international conference for high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis that drew nearly 13,000 attendees. Von Welch (Indiana University), who directs the Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure, provided expert oversight for the URISC program. Welch invited nine specialists who presented open-source tools and cybersecurity best practices.

URISC Presenter Nick Roy, Director of Technology and Strategy for Internet2’s InCommon Federation, explained eduGAIN and its benefits to the global research community. “From a local management standpoint, eduGAIN saves managers time and effort because home credentials provide authentication and access to resources, instrumentation and data that are physically located at institutions in in 48 member countries that comprise an …

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Apply by March 15 for the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) Student Volunteer Program!

Here’s your chance to visit Frankfurt, Germany, and learn how technical conferences are managed! ISC provides student lodging and meals, and it’s early enough to raise funds for a flight. You’ll need another $200 to $2,000 out-of-pocket, depending on how far you’ll need to travel.

How can you do this?

Volunteer to work overtime! Check with your dean; your university might offer partial, or full support. Watch STEM-Trek; we might receive donations that are earmarked for this type of student travel.

From the ISC website via Colleen Sheedy:

“If you are a student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science, or any STEM-related fields, and high performance computing (HPC) is on your radar, volunteering at ISC 2018 can help steer your future career in the right direction.

We are looking for enthusiastic and reliable young people to help us run the conference. In return we offer you …

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CHPC National Conference in Pretoria, South Africa

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek Nonprofit

The 11th South African Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) Annual National Conference convened Dec. 3-7, 2017 at the Velmore Estate Hotel south of Pretoria.

CHPC, the South African Research and Education Network (SANReN) and the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA) showcased a broad range of resources and human capital development programs that supported the conference theme, “HPC Convergence with Novel Application Models for Better Service to Research and Industry.”

The event was officially opened by Phil Mjwara, Director General of the South African National Department of Science and Technology and Hina Patel, Executive Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Meraka Institute. The CHPC National Conference was called to order by CHPC Director, Happy Sithole.

More than 450, including 132 students (72 competitors and 60 posters), registered for the five-day event which included two full days of …

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STEM-Trek Receives HPCwire Editors’ Choice Workforce Diversity Leadership Award

STEM-Trek was awarded the HPCwire Editors’ Choice Workforce Diversity Leadership Award by Tabor Communications’ CEO Tom Tabor during SC17. Many thanks to the person who submitted our nomination.

We were also honored to receive the “2016 HPCwire Editors’ Choice Award for HPC Workforce Diversity Leadership.”

Please take a moment and review the other amazing projects that won 2017 HPCwire awards:


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URISC@SC17; Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems

Cybersecurity Engineer/Risk Assessor Susan Ramsey (National Center for Atmospheric Research) presented to an international delegation of cybersecurity specialists who are attending the Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems, or URISC@SC17 workshop this week in Denver, Colorado. URISC delegates and presenters from 11 countries and 12 U.S. states will also attend SC17, the annual international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis.

Ramsey explained how attacks are fully-automated; operations are housed in office complexes where well-paid specialists identify and exploit technical vulnerabilities in Internet-enabled devices. They even have help desks! Once they collect enough information about a target, they are able to launch a highly sophisticated assault that considers a range of information about the victim.

Ransomware was recently used to hijack Springhill Tennessee’s emergency response system that was held for $250k ransom. While that would be a trivial amount for a large city, for a small town, like Springhill, …

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Donate to STEM-Trek and Help This Cybersecurity-Guru Attend URISC@SC17!

UPDATE: Tirelo was able to join us in Denver; mostly self-funded. We were able to defray some of her expenses due to the generosity of STEM-Trek donors and friends. Thank you!


Tirelo was among 35 from a dozen countries who applied for travel grants that would allow them to attend the “Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems” cybersecurity workshop that will be held Nov. 11-16 in Denver, Colorado during the annual supercomputing conference, or SC17.

While her application reviewed extremely well, factors beyond Tirelo’s control worked against her. First of all, she’s a student, and this particular STEM-Trek call for participation required applicants to work at least 50 percent in a professional role supporting students, faculty and staff who use High Performance Computing (HPC).

And, that she does. But she’s a student nonetheless.

Another female student from her school also applied, and ranked slightly higher. She made the cut, …

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“Challenges/Small HPC Centers” Google Group Encouraged to Join ACM/SIGHPC-RCE!

As you may have heard, the “Challenges of Managing Small HPC Centers” Google Group is being disbanded (August 18), and members are encouraged to join the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on HPC in Resource Constrained Environments (ACM/SIGHPC-RCE).

A SIGHPC-RCE election will be held this week. Members may select their choice of candidates for chapter chair, vice chair, treasurer, secretary and membership coordinator. If you would like to vote, you’ll first need to join the chapter. To do so, complete this form.

If you manage a small research computing center (government, academic or industry; all are welcome) and/or if you consider your HPC center to be resource constrained, you’ll want to join the SIGHPC-RCE chapter. There are currently dozens of members from the US and African nations in the group, and we expect candidates from other countries will join. We hope to establish critical mass of people …

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Postcard from Badisa: Weeks Seven & Eight @CERN

Dear STEM-Trek,

It has been an exciting journey at CERN, and time flies! This is my eighth and final week, and I will fly home on Sunday.  Every moment has been enjoyable: academically, professionally and socially. I am super excited to have learned so much in such a short amount of time! I worked with an exceptionally skilled and diverse support team, and am now motivated to master more HPC applications since I’ve seen how they’re used across disciplines.

Our Neutrino cluster is progressing well. We managed to solve most of the problems we were experiencing the last time I wrote. As I mentioned, the system was configured with Puppet and its suite of tools (Puppet …

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Postcard from Badisa: Weekend in Paris & Week Four at CERN

Dear STEM-Trek,

Wow, David Ojika‘s story is inspiring! I wish I could meet him one day and would love to read his paper “Accelerating High-energy Physics Exploration with Deep Learning.

In many of the workshops I’ve recently attended, central themes have included Deep Learning & ML for data acquisition and reconstruction. These skills will be needed in the exascale era, which is just around the corner.

In fact, I was just reading about a collaboration between CERN and the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) to address burning issues associated with data acquisition, storage, management and analysis for the massive amount of data these two projects will generate. Like Ojika, I think we’d all be …

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Paz Says Communication is Key: PEARC17 Student Program

By David Paz (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of California at San Diego; San Diego Supercomputer Center)

My alarm went off at 1:30 a.m. It was time for a slight “context switch” as I traveled to Boston’s Logan Airport on my way to New Orleans to attend my first-ever research conference: PEARC17.

I joined the conference student program one day late since I had an MIT-related commitment I couldn’t reschedule. While I feared I would miss important activities–and it was disappointing to miss the orientation, FBI agent cybersecurity presentation and opportunity to meet fellow students in one venue–the circumstances of my late arrival led to one of the more interesting highlights of my PEARC17 experience. 

When I arrived at the hotel, I had some time before the next scheduled activity, and wanted to get some work accomplished in my room. When I opened the door to my assigned room, …

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