Jumping in at SC18 in Dallas

By Wendi Sapp (ORNL; Sustainable Horizons Institute)

After getting through the registration line, I headed down the long hallway toward my first SC19 Workshop. I was distracted by familiar voices and faces, which made it difficult to continue toward the room to make it on time.

I found a seat and reviewed the schedule. The keynote speaker would kick it off with a talk about using HPC to recover lost histories of black women. After discussing the details about the goals of the project and how the research team chose search terms to produce key documents that would make up the projects corpus, the speaker made a few comments about the concept that writing is a privilege. I was taking notes to prepare for this blog entry, when it hit me like an anvil falling out of the sky in a cartoon… I suddenly felt fortunate that I was able to write my own history. Typically, and especially historically, the circumstances of black women were recorded by white men. As a woman in science, I can relate to this, at least a little. I have been fortunate to usually be in supportive environments and have respectful mentors and advisors. But it is too easy to recall examples where I was made to feel irrelevant.

Luckily, after those encounters, I was still able to succeed, mostly because of my ability to write my own story. I have worked hard to publish papers in journals and contribute to my community via newsletters and written tutorials. Now I find myself at SC18 with an awesome group of HPC professionals, soaking up information and growing my professional network. I’m writing my history right now.

Cover photo: Dallas Skyline, location of SC18, Wikimedia Commons

Stay tuned for more SC18 updates and watch UbuntuHouse@SC18 sponsors’ and friends’ websites to see what they will be doing at SC18!

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