November 19, 2018
My first experience at SC started with a reception and orientation for the Experiencing HPC for Undergraduates program. The program planners gave a brief talk on some basic terminology in HPC, and invited a few other professionals in HPC to give talks about areas of interest in HPC, touching on memory bandwidth, linear algebra, machine learning, and smart data movement. Each day throughout the week the HPC for Undergraduates program would have us meet a different panel to ask questions and learn about the field. First were researchers, then graduate students, and then industry professionals. I found the graduate student panel particularly cool, especially because I was surprised to find a student I met during my summer internship at the University of Tennessee on the panel.
Next was the opening gala, which was quite a sight to behold. I was definitely taken aback by the scale of it all. It was super cool to see all the big industry names represented, alongside government and university booths.
I also very much enjoyed the history display outside the exhibit hall. I spotted a University of Delaware paper prominently displayed. The Cray-1 machine was really cool to me, as were the different relics and memorabilia they had on display. Just seeing how the aesthetic choices have changed over the years is quite interesting.
Later in the week I participated in the ACM Student Research Competition, which was an invaluable experience. The first stage of the competition was a poster reception. There were three columns of posters listed on the board in the front of the room, to give an idea of the number of posters on display.
I ended up doing well in the reception, so I moved on to the semi finalist round, in which each semi finalist gives an eight-minute talk on their work. I had a pretty good talk prepared with the help of my advisors, so despite being quite nervous presenting for the first time at this level I left feeling pretty confident about my performance. It seemed to be well-received, and I ended up coming home with a second-place medal from the ACM. It was an excellent end to my first SC, and I’m looking forward to returning next year.