International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day from the WHPC team.

Women in HPC at SC17

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1910, after the initial observance in New York on February 28 1909. Now, 108 years later, society has come a long way to recognising the participation and achievements of women, though as our followers know, we still have some way to go.

Today is a day when women are recognised for their achievements. Sadly, some still question why this is necessary, and why Women in HPC is necessary, why there isn’t an equivalent ‘Men in HPC’ group. My, sometimes flippant, response is “HPC is the ‘men in HPC’ group”, but it is time we dig a little deeper to why we need WHPC and other groups working towards the equal representation of women.

Why Women in HPC

So why is Women in HPC needed? Especially in 2018? My answer is simple: because society has not yet achieved equality of opportunity.

The goal of the WHPC Executive Team is to make ourselves obsolete: we want to live in a world where irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic, a person’s contribution is all that matters. But, we live in a world dominated by implicit bias (an essential component of being a human being!), that can have huge negative impacts on particular groups that don’t appear to ‘fit in’. Women historically are the single largest group that is under-represented. For example, it is only relatively recently that the majority of women in the world have gained suffrage.

We recognise there are many other under-represented groups in computing and every other field, but we chose to tackle this particular niche: women in the field of HPC and parallel computing. We aim to inspire change, show the benefits of diversity to our community and inspire everyone (both women and men) to look beyond their implicit assumptions for the women amongst them, who can provide significant contributions to the field of high performance and parallel computing.


Join in the #WeAreHPC campaign on International Women’s Day and share your pictures with us once more.

We hope that WHPC inspires and brings about positive change for all, which is why we ran our #WeAreHPC campaign in November 2017. We are an inclusive organisation, and we welcome participation in our endeavours from everyone. Our aim is to show that women are as important to HPC as men, but we welcome men too. So please join us today and share your #WeAreHPC photos across social media once more.

About the author: Toni Collis

    • Toni is the Chair and co-founder of (WHPC) and Chief Business Development Office at Appentra Solutions. With a background in computational physics and the development of parallel applications, having previously worked as an Applications Consultant in HPC Research and Industry at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), Toni provides technical and business insight on a range of projects and is passionate about enabling everyone to effectively and efficiently use the HPC resources that will help their work. Her role in WHPC is a natural extension of this as her vision for WHPC is to bring HPC to those who may not be able to access or participate in the community for reasons beyond access. She has been on the organising committee for a variety of workshops and conferences including leading the team for the previous WHPC workshops and is a member of a variety of international HPC advisory bodies.