WHPC’s Mozhgan Kabiri Chimeh awarded SSI Fellowship

Mozhgan Kabiri Chimeh is a Research Associate/ RSE at the University of Sheffield working in the area of complex systems modelling using emerging high performance parallel architectures. Her work involves providing HPC consultancy and training and has included developing the FLAME GPU software framework which allows complex systems modelling on distributed and GPU architecture. Mozhgan is also WHPC@ISC19’s workshop Chair, taking the lead on organising the workshop and directing the workshops programme and desired outcomes. Here we interview Mozhgan to find out what the Fellowship and WHPC mean to her.

Q1. Congratulations on receiving an SSI fellowship! Can you tell us a little more about this award and what it means to you and your work?

Thank you! The Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) is a cross-council funded group that supports the research software community in the UK.  The Software Sustainability Institute’s mission is to cultivate better, more sustainable, research software to enable world-class research. SSI’s Fellowship programme (founded in 2013) provides an annual cohort of fellows with £3,000 to spend over fifteen months on a project of their choice. This is very competitive and applicants must get through a peer-reviewed application process that includes written proposals and selection days. The funding can be used to organize workshops, training events, travel to conferences and/or other activities that would promote software sustainability.

My mission as an RSE is to promote sustainable software practices as software plays a key role in research environments. At the same time, community building and diversifying both RSE and HPC communities are very important to me. This fellowship provides a platform to continue to enhance my career allowing me to achieve my goals.

Q2. You mentioned that you will use some of the money to help further work with WHPC – can you tell us a little more about what you plan to do and why this matters to you personally?

I am actively involved in delivering tutorials and training at leading conferences/workshops in the field of HPC and complex system simulation. My plan for this fellowship revolves around training and diversifying both RSE and HPC communities and I am very keen to work closely with the Women in HPC (WHPC) organization to highlight the importance of software skills across the STEM disciplines. This plays a key role in broadening the participation of under-represented groups in both communities.

Building upon existing engagements and collaborations, my plan is to run collaborative Carpentries-style workshop (planning is currently in-progress), GPU training in the form of hackathons, a series of Bird of a Feather sessions and panels around research software and mentoring, HPC education, and diversity and inclusion in software engineering field.

Q3. What about WHPC inspires you and why did you agree to take on the hard work of being Workshop Chair at the WHPC workshop this summer at the ISC High Performance conference?

First, I would like to thank Toni Collis for putting her trust in me and giving me this opportunity to lead the WHPC workshop at ISC19. Working with a team of inspiring women was truly amazing and rewarding. Chairing this workshop was another step I took towards contributing to diversifying the HPC community. WHPC workshops provide enormous opportunity for underrepresented groups to network and build collaborations and it is limited to just that. Throughout the years, we have seen more and more participation at WHPC events from men/allies and this is good news for everyone that is trying to make an impact by participating and contributing to this organization through training, mentoring, organizing workshops.

Q4. What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing women working HPC today? Is there one thing you would change about HPC to help overcome this?

There are many obstacles that women and non-binary people face in the workplace and specifically HPC. We face challenges in leadership, ally-ship, promotion, salary, etc. Unfortunately, HPC is a male-dominated field and we are all trying to shift this by increasing awareness regarding diversity and inclusivity through training, tutorials, workshops. One important step towards making this happen is to facilitate trainings to address the shortage of skills in HPC. Training is a crucial step to encourage a diverse and inclusive workforce in HPC communities. Moreover, we should all learn how to turn challenges to opportunities and this can be achieved through mentoring programming and as well as the involvement of male allies.

WHPC Workshops are great events that provide leaders and managers in the HPC community with methods to improve diversity and inclusion and provide early-career women with an opportunity to develop their professional skills and profile.

Q5. What is next for you in your career?

I am interested in getting more involved in HPC education and training.

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