<span class="var-sub_title">Strategies for Inclusive and Scalable HPC Outreach and Education</span> SC18 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Strategies for Inclusive and Scalable HPC Outreach and Education

Authors: Julie Mullen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Weronika Filinger (University of Edinburgh), Tom Maiden (Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center), Nicholas Brown (University of Edinburgh), Lorna Rivera (Georgia Institute of Technology), John Urbanic (Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center), Karina Nunez (Pawsey Supercomputing Centre), Bryan Johnston (Centre for High Performance Computing, South Africa), Karina Pesatova (Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic), Martin Quinson (ENS Rennes)

Abstract: The HPC community has consistently identified public outreach and education of new and existing community members as vital to the growth of the field. New strategies and alternative teaching methods are needed to improve access, promote diversity, attract new HPC practitioners, and encourage the next generation of scientists and gain the support of the general public. To share effective strategies, practices, and spawn new ideas to meet the challenge of providing accessible, inclusive and scalable HPC outreach, education and training, we’ll use a combination of discussion and demonstrations of existing training and outreach activities. Come and try them for yourself!

Long Description: The HPC community has always put great importance on the education of HPC practitioners (regardless of their proficiency levels), engaging the general public and enthusing the next generation about HPC. However, most outreach, teaching and training methods were not designed with inclusivity, accessibility and scalability in mind. Although the need for new strategies is clearly recognised, the cost and effort required to develop new materials, as well as, the under-appreciation for the education-related roles in HPC field remains a challenge. Under these restrictions sharing of experiences, best practices, materials and support from people engaged in similar activities becomes very important. The goal of this session is to provide a platform for people involved or interested in doing HPC outreach, teaching and training to bring their own know-how and share them with others.

The session leaders work in HPC environments on four continents (North America, Europe, Africa and Australia) and have experience in developing and delivering a wide variety of HPC outreach, education and training. The conditions we work under may be different but that makes our experiences even more valuable.

The previous incarnations of this BoF (SC16, SC17 and ISC18) showed that a combination of demonstrations of existing activities and small-group discussions provide participants with easy to apply knowledge, skills and materials. Based on this we have seen the global public engagement community grow and we view a BoF at SC18 as important in continuing this. Through discussions we hope to further strengthen communities of practice around outreach and online education and provide the participants with:

- Better understanding of the current state of global outreach and alternative teaching efforts

- Opportunities to share and develop techniques for building diversity and inclusion into outreach and education efforts;

- Chance to discuss the challenges and rewards of online courses with respect to traditional university courses of in-person workshops;

More specifically, some of the topics we will cover are:

- Diversity (cultures/countries, ages, experience levels, fields, race, gender, etc.) - how to create more inclusive training materials and promote diversity through our activities;

- Creating effective engagement regardless of the delivery method, e.g. how to engage with remote asynchronous learners or tailor approaches to the audience on the fly;

- Efficacy or metrics for determining effectiveness – different activities have different delivery methods and goals, so require different evaluation methods – examples of how to evaluate our efforts;

- Novel approaches – how to assess their suitability and limitations e.g. gamification for education and outreach;

- Best Practices for scaling online education and training (interactivity, engagement, personalisation, on-demand training, domain specification) – challenges, best practices and examples;

- Accessibility: time, location, technology, tools (e.g. Jupyter notebooks) and prerequisite knowledge.

The demos that will be available during the session include samples of online course and a number of outreach activities (physical and digital). We will also encourage participants to share their materials with others.

The discussions and conclusions will be gathered into a written report that will be made available within the community.

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