By Antorip Sahu (Virginia Tech)
I was super-excited when I was selected as a student volunteer for PEARC22. Finally, I would be travelling to Boston! The cherry on top was our venue: the iconic Boston Park Plaza Hotel.
On July 10, there was a student program orientation session. We were given the necessary information for student volunteer duties and sessions that we were scheduled to attend. At the end of the orientation, we got a walking tour of the conference rooms in the hotel. I have to say that it was quite confusing to find one’s way through the labyrinthine architecture of the hotel. After this session, we had free time to explore downtown Boston, so I decided to go for a walk and a few others joined me. It was a great way to get to know each other while sightseeing.
On July 11, I attended the HPCSYSPRO workshop. Coincidentally, my mentor, John Blaas (NCAR/UCAR), was one of the organizers. After the presentation, there was an open discussion where attendees discussed work-life balance during COVID-19 – work from home, and how teams have adapted to new circumstances. There was a consensus that we’ve seen an increase in productivity, and most enjoy working from home. However, some are leaning toward a hybrid model as they miss engaging with their colleagues in person.
Later that day, I performed my first volunteer shift. Not only did I get to help the presenters, I learned about new developments on “Constructing Containers for Scientific Computing Gateways.”
On the evening of July 11, I attended the mentor-protégé dinner with my mentor, John. I learned how he progressed into the world of high-performance computing (HPC). We discussed about the role of new technologies, both hardware and software, in the field of HPC.
During the July 12 “Pitch It Workshop,” we were carefully guided by the organizers in multiple iterations on how to make the perfect elevator pitch.
That evening, I volunteered for the poster session. Individuals and teams from various research labs showcased their work via posters and were on hand to discuss their research, development and findings. Unofficially, the Boston Park Plaza’s “Donut Stand” made it to the list of winners!
On July 13, the SP Resume Clinic helped us refine our resumes. I learned newer techniques to optimize the limited real estate of a single page for the most effective resume. I learned to “not” mention irrelevant details in order to have the most impact.
I am very thankful and grateful that I was selected for this splendid opportunity to learn and participate in a highly prestigious international conference on HPC. I would like to thank Elizabeth Leake, Alana Romanella, Ashley Barker and the entire organizing committee who made this event a huge success. My key takeaways from the conference are the overall experience, valuable connections, wonderful mentoring, exchange of ideas and beautiful memories of downtown Boston.