More on SC11 – ‘Broadening Engagement’

The amazing thing about the Supercomputing Conference is that it is still growing. I attended two parts of the conference and the exhibits, Education, and then Broadening Engagement (BE). Roscoe Giles chairs this part of the conference. The goal of broader engagement is to change the face of technology to be more inclusive. Remember I asked in my first take on the conference, “Where are the women?” Well, lots of women were involved in the Education and Broadening Engagement program.

Diane Baxter, Director of Education, San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD

We are mentored by these women — and the men. Diane Baxter, of the San Diego Supercomputing Center, is a friend and a mentor. She has been supportive through the years of my involvement, sharing, understanding and taking the pulse of K-12.

She said this in an interview:

SDSC education programs support the infusion of information and communication technology (ICT) resources into in K-16 education. Our hallmark programs and products (TeacherTECH and our web-based educational resources) are designed to serve what is considered “formal” (in-school) education, addressing first teachers, and then (directly and indirectly) students.

We also serve “informal” education – primarily through community collaborations. To expand these programs, we are developing a multi-player, interactive game and computer camp programs.

We share a national challenge to address the lack of full participation by women and minorities in science, math, engineering, and technology graduate programs and careers. In all of our programs, we consciously and conscientiously strive to create opportunities for broadening participation in cyberinfrastructure. That takes careful listening to others’ needs and creative collaboration to meet those needs.

We can play a significant role in helping teachers and students to move beyond basic computer literacy to what is termed “ICT fluency” by creating ways to integrate technology enhancements into science, engineering, math, and humanities courses. In our courses, workshops, and curricula, we want teachers and students to see and use integrated, enabling cyberinfrastructure without needing to call it out as a separate course.

So Diane and the other women of the SC group create possibilities for women, K-12, in several ways. At SDSC they support K-12 through the creation of funding grants to reach out to the educational community in San Diego. Not that they were not already immersed in outreach for K-12. This is a grant for a new special program.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University (SDSU), have received National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to jointly expand the computer sciences curriculum among San Diego’s high schools, community colleges, and universities.

The three-year grants, worth a total of almost $1 million, are for a project called ‘Computing Principles for All Students’ Success’ or ComPASS. The overall goal of ComPASS is to improve Southern California’s educational capacity for preparing high school and college students of all backgrounds and disciplinary interests to contribute to and participate in what has become a computationally driven economic future.

ComPASS contributes to a nationwide goal of training approximately 10,000 high school teachers to teach advanced placement (AP) computer science (CS) principles courses by the year 2015. This larger national program, the CS10K, was launched in response to national studies and task force reports identifying a crisis in U.S. workforce preparedness. The reports specifically cite a serious shortage of workers to fill workplace demands for trained, innovative computing experts and computational problem-solvers in every field.

Diane Baxter and Jeff Sale have been on the road, in conferences, to share the possibilities of education with professors at and with professionals at the AAAS conference, which is where I spent some time learning from Baxter. She also hosted the NCSI workshop on Games and Play. It was a wonderful experience to be involved in that workshop even though sometimes I was a semicolon away from a disaster.

Ruthe Farmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives, National Center for Women & Information Technology

BE brought in NCWIT. Ruthe Farmer came to be a part of BE. There is more information here that are resources for women in computing. Here is the link for the Computer Science Week initiative that Ruthe shared.

The goal of the Broader Engagement (BE) program is to increase the participation of individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in high performance computing (HPC), including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other underrepresented groups around the world, as well as women and people with disabilities. The program offers special activities to engage and support a diverse community of experts, newcomers and learners in the conference and in HPC.

The BE program has several educational, networking and informational sessions which all SC11 attendees are welcome to attend. SC11 participants can add BE to their registration to also participate in BE social events. (SC11)

There was a workforce set of presentations. There was an exciting job fair for students. Students who came to BE brought their resumes and attended a job fair that included internships at major labs and in industry.

If you take a look at the logo, you can see how the programs overlap. Included as well are student competitions and building and creating a little Fe, which is a small bootable cluster that is low cost for schools that do not have a Supercomputer.

Do you know about little FE? FE, get it?

Many institutions and teaching environments do not have access to parallel platforms for parallel and distributed computing education. Teaching key concepts such as speedup, efficiency, and load balancing are much more effectively done on a parallel platform. LittleFe is a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster which supports shared memory parallelism (OpenMP), distributed memory parallelism (MPI), and GPGPU parallelism (CUDA).

LittleFe weighs less than 50 pounds, easily and safely travels via checked baggage on the airlines, and sets-up in 10 minutes wherever there is a 110/220 VAC outlet and a wall to project an image on. By leveraging the Bootable Cluster CD project, and its associated curriculum modules, LittleFe makes it possible to have a powerful ready-to-run computational science and HPC educational platform for less than $3,000. The parts list and illustrated assembly instructions are available under the “Resources” tab above.

You can understand that we were tired but happy. My feet hurt, and my brain was excited. No time to be bored. We were all over the map trying to share, explore, examine, renew, and engage in learning about possibilities for our learning communities.

Central to the conference is the exhibits. The first night of the exhibits, I only did one floor. It was so crowded, and the people were so excited. (Hint.) The first night of exhibits is catered. This particular venue was extremely well catered.

3 Responses

  1. […] More on SC11 – ‘Broadening Engagement’ The amazing thing about the Supercomputing Conference is that it is still growing. I attended two parts of the conference and the exhibits, Education, and then Broadening Engagement (BE). Roscoe Giles chairs this part of the conference. Source: […]

  2. If you are wondering why there are no entries about the whole conference, the center of the opportunity, I had to think hard about what the conference meant to me as an opportunity.
    You have never seen an exhibit floor like the Supercomputing Conference, and I think I have finally recovered from trying to see it all. We talk about Supercomputing but there were so many exhibits and ideas that I am still going through my bags of information and ideas that I gained.

    I always love the Science on a Sphere exhibit, because everyone understands that one, you have to fight to get a space to see it.
    I will write more later after I have downloaded my pictures and reviewed my literature,.

    There were so many giveaways at the conference that I had to send a couple of packages home. So I am reviewing to share with you.

  3. […] Read this article: on SC11 – 'Broadening Engagement' – Educational Technology and … […]

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