During the recent European HPC Summit Week in
Prague, as Chair of the Board of Directors of PRACE (the Partnership for
Advanced Computing in Europe), I presented the inaugural PRACE Ada Lovelace
Award for HPC to a woman in Europe who fulfils a number of criteria. Obviously,
scientific excellence is key, but the ability to talk about the impact of her
scientific research and to act as a role model to young people considering a
career in HPC or big data is also very important.The amount of interest in this award shows
that gender diversity in science and technology is still a very hot topic.
that there is a massive skills shortage in HPC and data science worldwide, and
research shows that the most successful and innovative research teams are mixed
Many of the
research areas that are of increasing importance in HPC and big data are
science areas where women form the majority(or at least a substantial minority)
of undergraduates; life sciences, environmental sciences and medicine, for
example. Although women are not taking up roles in computational science research
in these disciplines in as large numbers as might be expected.
One of my
ambitions for Hartree is to increase the diversity of the workforce. We are
operating in a very collaborative environment; assembling cross-disciplinary
teams of researchers and technologists to work with industry on a range of
business challenges. Women are typically the decision makers in many areas of
purchasing and the principal users of many consumer products. It’s entirely
appropriate for us to look to increase their involvement in the project teams that
are striving to deliver better products, faster and at lower cost, to provide
the UK with a 12-18 month business advantage.
As I looked
around the HPC Summit Week meetings and compared attendance with previous
meetings in the series, I saw that the proportion of attendees who are women is
growing year on year, as is the proportion of women speakers.
visibility of woman in HPC and big data at external events is important and
this is another area where Hartree is being proactive. Our team of seven at the
International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt in June (ISC16) will contain
four women and three men – representatives chosen not for their gender but for
their value (as technical, communications and business development professionals)
in promoting the Hartree Centre and explaining our mission and achievements to
the wider world.
Alison Kennedy, Director of the Hartree Centre
Find out more about the Ada Lovelace Award.