My Experience as a Women in HPC

A guest post by: Samar Aseeri
First published on Dec, 1st 2018.

The Hidden Figures movie has been a timely film for me. Watching it in Minneapolis, Minnesota last year during my visit to my Ph.D. sister at UMN I realized that I had been encountering the same issues these black women were facing. It seems that this is womens’ destiny in any workplace over time. I’m a very keen student and therefore a hard worker. I work because I like doing it and I never await rewards in return.  That’s why my work always shows up it doesn’t need supporters to highlight it for me. I did observe during my ten working years in a male-dominated environment such as High-Performance Computing (HPC) the continuous attempts of hiding my work achievements so that the promotions don’t reach me. I’m actually a strong woman and have the skills needed to survive in any environment. I just wasn’t aware of such conducts as I’m always pretty optimistic. I think these obstacles have greatly increased my strength as they pushed me to create my own project and get even more involved in many HPC global collaborative endeavors. In addition to my host institution HPC outreach activities, see http://sighpceducation.hosting.acm.org/wp/2018/09/14/outreach_kaust/ .

This year I have had the pleasure to contribute to the Women in HPC lightning talks session. It was truly well organized and useful for young ladies who are just starting their studies or beginning their careers in the HPC field.  It allows them to learn from experienced people such as myself and from other women experts. It was a good chance for me to say ‘Here I am and this is what I do’  https://sc18.supercomputing.org/proceedings/workshops/workshop_files/ws_whpc114s2-file1.pdf. It also helped me to attract female members to my project and collect their points of view. So thanks to the brave women organizers who are certainly proving that women are equal to men, even in HPC.

Perhaps, it is possible that one day I will bring this initiative to the local HPC events in my country (Saudi Arabia), it could simply start with a lightning talks session followed by a panel and eventually this for sure will help the growth of women members and their research outputs.

About the author: Samar Aseeri, Computational Scientist at KAUST

  • Dr. Samar Aseeri has been working as a Computational Scientist at KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory since October, 2010. She received her B.S. degree in Math from Umm Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia by 2001. She continued her higher studies in Applied Math at the same university. She received a M.S. Degree in 2005 and Ph.D. in 2009. Before joining KAUST, she was trained in supercomputing at IBM in New York. Her present research interest is FFT library benchmarks. She had provided support to Shaheen user community at KSL and currently focusing more on Research at ECRC. She has co-organized the Special Session on High-Performance Computing for Application Benchmarking and Optimization at the International Conference on High-Performance Computing and Simulation for the last 4 years, a workshop at HiPC 2018 a mini-symposium at SIAM PP 2018 and BoFs at ISC 2018 and SC2017.

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