STEM-Trek Year In Review

By Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek)

Many thanks to those who donated to STEM-Trek in 2018; we appreciate your support very much.

Annual Report of Activities

It wasn’t an easy year for STEM-Trek. U.S. tax law changes affected the philanthropy behavior of many corporations who feared that it wouldn’t be as financially-favorable to donate to charity as it has been in the past. Even though the changes wouldn’t have mattered to some, we saw widespread stalling; some came through toward the end of the year, but very few. Instead of donating cash, they are now more likely to donate in-kind services, and/or host internship programs. Most want to see a tangible return-on-investment. Since the tone at the top impacts US corporate culture, fewer are concerned with diversity and inclusion. It was also a slow year for federal grants; they were taking up to 10 months to disburse once approved. Since STEM-Trek doesn’t …

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Good Samaritans on the DART line in Dallas @SC18

By Bigani Sehurutshi (University of Botswana)

By the time my travel to Dallas for SC18 was approved, STEM-Trek’s UbuntuHouse was already full.

When I was looking for accommodations, I was advised to consider places next to the DART light rail service. Because I booked late, and because tens of thousands were in town for the conference, the only place I could find was some distance from the convention center.

On the first day of the conference, the hotel shuttle dropped me at Burbank rail station. I had no Internet access to check for the DART stop that was closest to the convention center. When I tried to buy a ticket, the machine wasn’t working.

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SC18: Everything big happens in Dallas

By Bigani Sehurutshi (University of Botswana)

When I got news that my SC18 support was approved, I was delighted, but at the same time in the dark about the whole thing as it was my first time to attend a conference of such magnitude.

After registration, I faced the dilemma about which sessions to attend. As I was the only delegate from University of Botswana (UB) to attend this year, I tried by all means to gather as much information as I could for UB researchers, systems administrators and everyone else. As a sysadmin, I was attracted to container computing sessions and attended a number of them, as well as tutorials on Krbenetes and an HPC containers BoF.

For the benefit of our UB  cluster, I went to sessions on MPI & OpenMPI; …

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CHPC South Africa Wins Workforce Diversity Leadership Award; HPCwire Readers’ Choice

By Nox Moyake (South African Centre for HPC; UbuntuHouse@SC18 Blogger @STEM-Trek)

The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) South Africa has won the Workforce Diversity Leadership Award following votes by readers of HPCWire, a leading high performance computing online publication.

The centre won the award for leading the re-purposing and re-deployment of high performance computing systems in Africa, a project done in collaboration with Texas Advanced Computing Centre, Cambridge University, Dell as well as the Departments of Science and Technology and of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.

The project’s aim is for these retired systems to be re-used for training purposes and well as for academic research in research councils and in universities.


Cover photo: HPC Ecosystem Team with Tom Tabor, CEO: HPCWire

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The Day of the Champion @SC18

By Wendi Sapp (ORNL; XSEDE Campus Champion for Sustainable Horizons Institute)

The first activity began at 7:15 am in a ballroom for a mentoring breakfast. It was fun to start the day in an altruistic way. Although I was still tired from the previous days’ activities, it was refreshing to talk with more students.

After the keynote, we all made our way into the exhibit hall. I had plans to connect with colleagues at their booths and to meet a few others who were recommended to me. Finding my way through the booths and bumping into people I know was an interesting situation. I never thought that I would “know” so many people at such a large conference. Eventually, I found my way to …

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SC18 Early Career Program & Mentoring

By Wendi Sapp (ORNL; XSEDE Campus Champion for Sustainable Horizons Institute)

Today I am involved in the Early Career program. I’m looking forward to meeting people who haven’t been at their jobs for very long. The day begins with an introduction and activity based on our Clifton Strengths assessment results. After meeting some of the participants of the program, we begin a new activity. We break into groups of 4-5 people and form a fake company. We assign roles based on people’s strengths. For example, Latifa was chosen as our CEO because she is organized and can “Woo” others. We feel she will be effective at accomplishing her vision. I decide that my strengths are well-suited for a Marketing and Communications Director position. I’m very …

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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 …

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High-Energy Horst @SC18

I attended two very interesting tutorials Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, I went to the Containers session, which gave a great overview over Container technologies like Docker, Shifter, and a little on Singularity. Then there was a detailed tutorial on Docker/Shifter, which was interesting, but personally I would’ve been more interested in Singularity, since that’s the one we actually use for our High Energy Physics jobs.

On Monday, there was a very informative tutorial on how to purchase HPC resources, detailing the entire process from the first stages of planning the RFP all the way to bringing the cluster into production. The speakers were very knowledgeable, and quite entertaining as well.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to go to all these sessions with the full workshop and tutorial passes I got — not to forget the free and quite good food at the tutorial lunches Sunday and Monday. 😉

The two plenary sessions on Monday evening and Tuesday …

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DART=LOVE; Dallas, here she comes! SC18 & Noxolo Moyake (CHPC, South Africa)

UbuntuHouse@SC18 blogger Noxolo Moyake describes her Dallas debut and SC18 with amusing anecdotes! We are eager to experience this wonderful city through her eyes, and to learn which SC sessions interest her the most. Thanks, Nox!

Follow her SC18 blog!

Nox Moyake is a senior research marketer for the South African Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at the Centre for High Performance Computing in Cape Town. Moyake is a journalist, writer, editor and publications production specialist with more than seven years of experience in the HPC industry. She has hosted, organized and attended many workshops and international conferences. This year, she will blog about SC18 for STEM-Trek. 

Thank you sponsors and friends! 

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SC18 and Dallas with Genito Maure (Mozambique)

UbuntuHouse@SC18 blogger Genito Maure shares a bit about his travel from Mozambique to Dallas, Texas-US. This is his fifth time in the US, but his first SC & Dallas rodeo!

Follow his SC18 blog!

When he’s not pursuing professional development opportunities, Genito supports the African HPC Ecosystems project on behalf of the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique.

Maure is skilled in numerical modeling and simulation of physical processes, statistical data analysis, fortran, high performance computing, shell scripting, climate change adaptation, and more. He earned a PhD in Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town and currently works as a professor at UEM, the oldest and largest university in Mozambique that serves 40,000 students.

Watch UbuntuHouse@SC18 sponsors’ and friends’ websites to see what they will be doing at SC18!

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