Authors: Daniel Gens (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)), Carissa Holohan (Argonne National Laboratory)
Abstract: Spectral Analysis will be the first Birds of a Feather session dedicated entirely to welcoming members of the Supercomputing community who self-identify with a minority gender identity or sexual orientation. This BoF will discuss the state of the community within high performance computing (HPC), form personal and professional ties with fellow community members, and share different visions of diversity and inclusion efforts across scientific computing. Most importantly, this event will provide a safe space for sharing personal experiences and developing a set of community goals and resources.
Long Description: The traditional diversity narrative needs to grow and evolve as we become more inclusive of the incoming workforce who are pursuing careers in high performance computing. The March 2018 Science article “Coming Out in STEM: Factors affecting retention of sexual minority STEM students” showed that those who identify within a sexual minority are 7% less likely to graduate. Further, the systemic biases that they continue to fight regarding gender and racial diversity in STEM fields are only amplified for those who are additionally marginalized by their gender identity or sexual orientation.
HPC centers can distinguish themselves by welcoming and celebrating the complexity of diversity, and attract the best and brightest new talent, by providing resources and opportunities for those who identify as a minority gender identity or sexual orientation. In addition, it is of the utmost importance that those who are both members of this minority community and thriving in their scientific fields be encouraged to be examples to the next generation of HPC leaders.
By providing a forum for the LGBTQIA+ community to meet and address common goals, this BoF hopes to foster a sense of pride among peers across a variety of disciplines. By organizing resources that can be shared among facilities, this session intends to better educate those in positions of leadership about improving diversity by providing a safe place for researchers whose sexual orientation or gender identity are in the minority.
This session will be an open forum for all participants to share their career and life paths, their research and challenges in HPC, scientific computing, and computer science in general. The participants will be invited to identify systemic diversity and inclusion issues and provide insights drawn from personal experience in overcoming these issues. Directed discussions are planned on the following four topics:
- Discussion of existing LGBTQIA+ professional organizations, such as National Lab Pride (NLP), Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), and any advantages or disadvantages to HPC community involvement and recruitment through these organizations.
- Evaluation of the need and feasibility of creating a similar professional organization devoted entirely to those whose work is within HPC fields.
- Share resources and best practices for LGBTQIA+ diversity and inclusion as experienced first-hand by the BoF participants.
- Coordinate future efforts to collaborate on outreach and networking opportunities among this community.
The goal of the session is, first and foremost, community building. To support that effort, we will organize a monthly mailing list check-in with the participants willing to keep in touch. All resources and best practices provided during the discussion will be made available online, as well as a document specifying possible solutions for identified issues and directions for further work.
In an effort to make this BoF as safe and accepting as possible, photography and recording of any kind will not be permitted unless arranged directly with the Session Leaders.
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