PEARC17 Student Program Day Three: Awards and Awakening!

By STEM-Trek Guest Blogger Bobby Hollingsworth (V-Tech/Harvard)

Day Three of PEARC17 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Remember that I said day two was busy? Well, the third day was no different. PEARC17 has been an eventful and information-packed experience!

In the morning, I had breakfast with Dr. Bob Freeman who manages one of Harvard’s computing clusters. He offered pointers, including tips on how to pick an advisor, setting a good work-life balance and the logistics of resource access at Harvard. Afterwards, I heard the day’s plenary speaker, Dr. Paul Morin from the University of Minnesota. His talk titled “Mapping the Poles with Petascale” highlighted interesting geospatial mapping of the artic. The images Dr. Morin presented were spectacular—it’s truly amazing how high performance computing (HPC) is enabling high resolution and dynamic data in the geospatial field. In fact, PEARC17 has illuminated the degree of complexity possible with HPC, and the breadth of science that benefits from it.

On Day Four during the General Conference Awards, Feng Li (IUPI) won “Best Student Paper,” with his paper titled “A real-time machine learning and visualization framework for scientific workflows.” In this photo, Li (center) is with Student Program Chair Alana Romanella (V-Tech) and General Conference Chair Dave Hart (NCAR).

William Steele (Hood College) explains his poster titled “Visual Navigation Using Distilled Hierarchical Deep Q-Networks.”

Following a quick snack break, I accompanied my research advisor, Dr. Anne Brown, to the morning Workforce Diversity and Evaluation lecture series. Several speakers talked about the importance of increasing diversity in the computational sciences and spreading HPC knowledge at the university level. Dr. Brown presented last with her talk titled, “Introducing Protein 3D Visualization Software to Freshmen Undergraduate Students: Making Connections and Building Skills.” While I may be slightly biased, I thought her presentation was amazing—it included a great balance of high quality visual aids, evaluation metrics, and concrete results. After her presentation, many stuck around for 15 minutes to ask questions!

SDSC Research Assistant Grace Lo (UCSD) won the prize for longest distance traveled–1,642 miles!

Later I met my PEARC17 mentor, Dr. Sridhar Malkaram, during the Student Program Mentor-Mentee Lunch where a few were still discussing Dr. Brown’s talk. I was happy to see that she connected with so many.

After taking a group photo, I took a small break from conference activities and met my research advisor before heading to the student awards event where I received the “Volunteer Extra Mile Award” for having contributed to the STEM-Trek blog!

In the early evening, light dinner was served at the Visualization Showcase (where we saw some interesting examples of dynamic weather tracking).

I ended my PEARC17 experience with fellow students enjoying a night on the town and some phenomenal live jazz music!


The PEARC17 Student Program is chaired by Alana Romanella (Virginia Tech). Program committee members include: Kate Cahill (Oklahoma State University); Peter Enstrom (NCSA); Ricardo Gonzalez (University of Puerto Rico/Mayagüez); Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek); Melissa Romanus (Rutgers); Semir Sarajilik (Georgia State University); and Ester Soriano (NCSA).




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