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Wednesday, July 21 • 9:20am - 10:50am
PEARC21 Panel on Student Competitions

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Research computing and data (RCD) science conferences can be overwhelming for first-time attendees; especially for students. Even so, they’re one of the best ways for students to get acquainted with advanced technologies, science drivers, and the global community of caring that leads to academic acceleration, internships and employment.

Some students enjoy participating in co-located competitions where they can showcase their skills and meet like-minded colleagues. The environment serves as a conference on-ramp experience; a safe place where they can shine, and help others improve their skills while they’re at it.

There are co-located student cluster competitions (SCC’s) at the Supercomputing Asia Conference (SCA, early March), International Supercomputing Conference (ISC, mid-June), Supercomputing Conference (SC, late November), Centre for High Performance Computing National Meeting (CHPC, early December), and others. ISC and SC contests were virtual in 2020 (ISC’21); the inaugural Winter Classic virtual contest is expected to return February 2022. The National Science Foundation’s Science Gateways Community Institute (NSF-SGCI) Hackathon was virtual in 2020 and 21; it will conclude one week prior to PEARC21 so that students can take full advantage of the conference workshops and tutorials. The week’s respite will help prevent Zoom fatigue.

When interviewed, competitors who prevailed at SC and ISC-SCC’s testified to having participated in multiple events each year; the added exposure appears to be an advantage. Most agree we should offer more such opportunities—real and virtual—throughout the year, so that it’s geographically favorable and possible for more to participate.

Is ACM-PEARC a candidate for a co-located student competitive training forum? It would offer US students another affordable domestic option, and would augment what the February WC and July virtual Hackathon events foster among students from MSIs. SC21 is planning to offer a menu of competitive options for students; perhaps PEARCXX could, too?

This panel of international RCD experts has more than 60 years of collective experience with student competitions, and others have been invited. Each will present for 8-10 minutes, followed by a Q&A session for the balance of 90 minutes. Panelists will share lessons learned from managing student competitions, and potential silver linings they’ve observed from facilitating virtual events—a necessity during the global pandemic. Because they’ve been involved with competitions for a decade or more, they have witnessed the longitudinal benefits; some first became engaged as students. Each will share their own career “arcs” and highlight how the experience helped students they’ve mentored.


Wednesday July 21, 2021 9:20am - 10:50am PDT
Pathable Platform