SC19: Els says to plan your work and work your plan!

By: Rosanne Els, Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa

Having had the opportunity to attend SC17, I was delighted when I received the news that I had also been selected to receive an SC19 registration waiver, with tutorials and workshops included (thank you SC19 General Chair Michela Taufer).

I quickly set about booking flights and sorting out all the logistical things to make the trip a reality. At the time, I was in the final stages of supervising several Honours and Postgraduate projects, marking tests, finalizing class marks and setting examinations. Though feeling overstretched, I knew, having had the experience in 2017, that all the additional time in getting the logistics worked out would be worthwhile in the end. There seemed to be a hurdle at almost every step of the way, but I remained focused on the goal…getting to SC19. 

I …

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SC ‘first timer’ reflections; looking forward to many more!

By Michael Jeszenka (Georgia Tech)

​I’m back home after attending SC19 in Denver this last week. What an experience it was! I’m writing this with everything still fresh in my mind so hopefully, I won’t forget anything too important.

What is SC19?

SC is the biggest annual conference in Super Computing / High Performance Computing, and the 19 merely means this year’s edition. The terms Super Computing and High Performance Computing are inter-changeable and often simply referred to as HPC.

What is a super computer?

Super computers are exactly what they sound like! They are computers that are super, or bigger than computers you are probably using unless you currently work in HPC. I’ll borrow Wikipedia’s definition:

supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer. The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of 

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SC19: Empowered to lead the way in Mozambique!

by Vitalina Baptista, HPC Systems Administrator at MoRENet (Mozambique Research and Education Network)

It all started with an email I received from Bryan Jonhston at the Centre for High Performance Computing in South Africa (CHPC). He shared the STEM-Trek call for participation (which provides support to attend SC19 for those who are selected, and the competition is steep!). I was not going to apply; there were many factors to my disadvantage, including the financial one.

Two weeks before the deadline, Bryan again insisted that I submit my application.

So I applied. But I confess I didn’t have much hope of being selected.

But when I least expected it, I received a positive response from STEM-Trek’s Elizabeth Leake. At that time, there was no guarantee of support, but she asked me to wait while she searched for more funding. My hopes arose, once again.

STEM-Trek distributed registration waivers that were donated …

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Baylen Brus (U-Iowa)

PEARC19: HPC On-Ramp for Early Career Hawkeye

By Baylen Brus, HPC Systems Administrator

As a young professional just beginning my career in High-Performance Computing (HPC) Systems Administration, I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing conference (PEARC19) in Chicago, Illinois last summer.

With my only HPC experience being with the Argon cluster at the University of Iowa, I was excited to learn about technologies outside of my environment and how other clusters are built and maintained. PEARC furthered my knowledge of the developments in HPC, and cyberinfrastructure, in general.

The thing I find the most fascinating about the field is the amount of open-source development that makes everyone’s lives easier when it comes to managing these massive systems. Hearing people talk about what software packaging was like before Spack or OpenHPC were around makes me pretty glad I’m starting in the field while these tools are …

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Trey Godbolt

PEARC19: Five-day Fast-track on HPC

By Trey Godbolt, Junior at the University of Iowa, Business Analytics program

Day 1:

The first day of the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC19) conference in Chicago, Illinois began with the car ride from Iowa City. I rode with Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek), and we picked up another student, Badisa Mosesane (University of Botswana), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Badisa was completing a three-month cyberinfrastructure internship at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. After picking up Badisa, we all traveled to Oak Park, Illinois and the AirBnB we would stay at for the remainder of the trip. After dropping off our luggage, we went to the Hyatt Regency in Chicago for the Student Program Opening; a brief orientation to the conference.

Day 2:

This was my first full day at PEARC19. I was scheduled to work as a student volunteer for the session titled, …

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Badisa Mosesane’s NCSA Internship and PEARC19 Activities

Badisa Mosesane (University of Botswana) recently completed a three-month (plus two weeks) cyberinfrastructure professional internship at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). While he was there, he learned about the Blue Waters supercomputer, the XSEDE project, the NCSA Industry program, and much, much more!

Here’s his report.

In July, Badisa had the opportunity to attend the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC19) conference in Chicago. Badisa presented an update about the DRONES4GOOD project during STEM-Trek’s AI4GOOD@PEARC19 workshop.

Badisa Mosesane presenting an update of the DRONES4GOOD project during the AI4GOOD@PEARC19 workshop

Badisa’s NCSA internship was supported by the National Science Foundation. Gap funds were provided by Cray Computing via STEM-Trek Nonprofit.

We appreciate the care with which this opportunity was planned …

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AI4GOOD@SC19: Apply by Sept. 12!

Join STEM-Trek in Denver, Colorado-US November 16-22 for SC19, the international conference on high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis!

A limited number of registration waivers (conference plus two-day tutorial registrations donated by the conference), and possibly travel support, funds pending, will be available for eligible candidates who apply before September 12.


Cybersecurity professionals, HPC systems administrators, educators, researchers, tech project managers, and network engineers who are responsible for supporting and securing research computing systems and data at colleges and universities in resource-constrained regions are welcome to apply. In the U.S., those meeting the above criteria who work at institutions in EPSCoR states and territories are eligible. We are especially eager to receive applications from women and others from demographics that are under-represented in STEM academics and careers. Applicants must be at least age 21 by November 1, 2019, and work at least 50 percent of the time in …

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Join us @PEARC19 in Chicago!

Join STEM-Trek in the Windy City for the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC19) conference, July 28-August 1, 2019! We’re hosting a workshop on Monday, July 29, that will enlighten participants about applications for artificial intelligence (AI) that are used for social good. Biomedical advances, economic empowerment strategies, agricultural innovation and quality of life improvements for citizens in underserved regions will be emphasized. 

Hands-on training sessions will acquaint participants with a variety of useful AI skills, and our security panel will foster thoughtful discussion about related privacy, ethics and compliance challenges associated with inter-institutional and international research.

You may also enjoy the “Stop Chasing Unicorns in the Global Gig Economy” panel discussion on Wednesday, July 31 from 11:05 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. in the agency A-B room at the Hyatt. Join Moderator Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek & University of Iowa), with panelists Ben Rogers (University of …

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My gap year: when I became obsessed with fraud, and why you should be, too.

By Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek)

Those who know me well may recall me talking about the “psycho-fraud” book I was editing last summer. It’s now available on Amazon, and the author has graciously donated 14 copies to STEM-Trek—four are signed! They will be re-gifted to those who make a tax-deductible donation to STEM-Trek that will support our summer AI4GOOD@PEARC19workshop (see details toward the end of this article). 

But I’m getting ahead of myself; to fully appreciate this event, we should go back 18 months…

In 2018, I covered seven international tech conferences, and put five new stamps on my passport. I downsized from an aging 1,500 square foot home on a one-third acre lot in northern Illinois where I had lived since 2000, and moved to a brand-new, one-bedroom apartment in Iowa City where everything works (including me, in a temporary contract with the University …

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African HPC Ecosystems CHPC’18 Birds-of-a-Feather Session (Cape Town)

Fifteen delegates from six countries attended the African HPC Ecosystems birds-of-a-feather session during the Centre for High-Performance Computing’s (CHPC) National Conference in Cape Town, December 2-5.

The HPC Ecosystems project is led by Bryan Johnston (CHPC Advanced Computer Engineering (ACE) Lab Senior Technologist and Lecturer), who also led the BoF. The project was formed when large, X86-class HPC systems were decommissioned by the University of Texas-US (UT) in 2012 and 16, University of Cambridge in 2014 and CHPC in 2015; the hardware was then donated to Johnston’s team at CHPC who split them into smaller, two and three-cabinet, stand-alone clusters. The refurbished systems, and a supply of spare parts, were distributed to 18 data centers in a dozen countries where they continue to live a second life in a workforce development and light research capacity.

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