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HPC for all at XSEDE16 Conference

HPC for all at XSEDE16 Conference

The first five years of the NSF-funded XSEDE project c

The first five years of the NSF-funded XSEDE project culminated in an exciting and enlightening week's worth of technical talks and presentations about high-performance computing (HPC) services and resources. The conference where these were showcased also gave underrepresented groups an opportunity to be exposed to HPC and a plethora of experts in nearly every field of research.

The XSEDE16 Conference was held in Miami, July 17-21, at the Intercontinental Miami hotel. The fifth annual conference showcased the discoveries, innovations, challenges and achievements of those who use and support XSEDE resources and services, as well as other digital resources and services throughout the world, like supercomputers and support from leading researchers and cyberinfrastructure experts. This year's conference saw approximately 570 attendees, including nearly 100 students from around the country, with nearly half of them coming from minority-serving institutions.


XSEDE16 chairperson Kelly Gaither emphasized the experiences of students and underrepresented minorities, including women and people of color. The conference theme, "Diversity, Big Data, & Science at Scale: Enabling the next generation of science and technology," emphasized inclusivity and diversity in fields of science and across underrepresented minorities.

"We take diversity very seriously; it's in the basic fabric of the conference itself," said Gaither. "We should keep it at the forefront of our minds here. I've been able to work on many teams as a collaborator, and on a couple of those occasions it was magic. When magic happens you can solve really crucial problems. If we're going to solve big problems with weather, medicine, solving cancer, we're going to need teams of dynamic, diverse people.

"The students, in particular, make me feel very comfortable about the future of this country," she added.
Official events started Sunday night with a Student and Mentor dinner, allowing the chance for XSEDE students to interact with mentors from a variety of fields from across the country.

A group of XSEDE Campus Champions at the XSEDE16 Campus Champions networking event. Photo by Steve Duensing, XSEDE/NCSA

Another key event that has become a mainstay of the annual XSEDE conference is the Campus Champions Networking Event, which took place on Monday evening. More than 100 XSEDE Campus Champions traveled to Miami to take in the various talks at the conference, and also meet with one another to share stories about their efforts to spread the word about XSEDE.

XSEDE Campus Champions facilitate computing and data intensive research and education at their own institutions, helping their local researchers and educators find and use resources that best meet their needs. With the addition of the Domain, Regional and Student Champions programs, additional networks have been established to share best practices, hear success stories and collaborate inside various domains, throughout eight separate U.S. regions and within all students. Champions also hosted a lightning talk session and panel.