What we Do

Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) was created with the vision to encourage women to participate in the HPC community by providing fellowship, education, and support to women and the organizations that employ them.

Through collaboration and networking, WHPC strives to bring together women in HPC and technical computing while encouraging women to engage in outreach activities and improve the visibility of inspirational role models. WHPC is stewarded by EPCC at the University of Edinburgh. WHPC operates under the WHPC Terms of Reference that covers WHPC’s operation, governance and membership.

Read Our Vision, Mission & Strategic Goals

the whpc team

Kelly Nolan

WHPC Vice Chair & Director Business Development | Talent Strategy

Kelly is the founder of TalentStrategy.org and is a seasoned expert in strategic affairs. Kelly works with executives and boards on diversity and governance approaches. Her clients include research and government institutions, corporations and global initiatives. Kelly develops targeted programs to improve gender equity and engage and retain diverse talent pools for a variety of industrial sectors. Kelly specializes in organizational diversity frameworks, training, assessment, and strategic affairs for external and internal relations for complex evidence-based, multi-stakeholder STEM organizations. A regular conference presenter, Kelly has chaired diversity and workforce development streams for several conferences.

Lisa Arafune

WHPC Director of Communications & Outreach | CASC

Lisa Arafune is the Director of The Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) since 2015. CASC is an educational non-profit organization with 85+ member institutions. She acts as a conduit to keep the membership informed of strategic opportunities that will lead to their institution’s success. She leads CASC’s interests in Washington, DC, as well as nationally at computing meetings.

She has a wealth of experience in government relations, including more than a decade representing higher education and university-based research interests on Capitol Hill. She has advocated for the research community and major federal science agencies, including NSF, DOD, USDA, NIH, DOE, and NASA.

Ms Arafune also leads her own government relations firm and has managed federal relations for Purdue University as Director of the Washington, DC Office. Her interest in politics began when working in a state senate and later as Chief Clerk for a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Committee.

Ms Arafune holds a Master’s of Science in Management from Purdue University and an MBA from Budapest University of Economic Sciences.

George Beckett

WHPC Treasurer | EPCC

George Beckett is a senior project manager, at the University of Edinburgh, with more than 15 years of experience managing software-engineering and computational-science projects with both commercial and academic partners. He specialises in supercomputing for major facilities and is presently involved in both the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (in construction in Chile) and the Extreme Light Infrastructure (being established across Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania).

Previously, during 2012–2015, George was the Deputy Director of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth, Western Australia. His role at Pawsey focused on promoting uptake of supercomputing facilities, developing the computational-research community in Australia and securing funding to support it, as well as growing Pawsey’s capabilities to support the significant Australian radio-astronomy community (most notably the Square Kilometre Array telescope and its precursors).

George has an academic background in computational mathematics: graduating with an Honours degree in mathematics from New College, Oxford and a Ph.D. in Computation Mathematics from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Sharon Broude Geva

WHPC Director of Chapters | University of Michigan

Sharon Broude Geva is Director for Innovation and Computational Research in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan (U-M).

Sharon currently serves as Past Chair of The Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), is a Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference series Steering Committee member, chairs the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA)‘s Research Computing Peer Group, is on the Executive Boards of Women in HPC (WHPC) and the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation (GLCPC), and is Co-Editor of the IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering (CiSE) Education Department. She serves on national and international task forces, organizing committees, and review panels.

She received her Ph.D. in Computational Physical Chemistry and her BSc in Computer Science and in Chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah.

Lorna Rivera

WHPC Director of Research | CEISMC, Georgia Tech

Lorna Rivera serves as a Research Scientist in Program Evaluation at the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Her work focuses on the intersection of scientific content, pedagogy, and equity with the goal of being both methodologically innovative and socially responsible. Rivera has conducted evaluations primarily funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. This has led her to work with over 18 universities as well as multiple international high performance computing centers and organizations such as Compute Canada, EPCC, PRACE, RIKEN, and XSEDE. Rivera received both her Bachelor of Science in Health Education and her Master of Science in Health Education and Behavior from the University of Florida. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Rivera worked with various institutions, including the March of Dimes, Shands HealthCare, and the University of Florida College of Medicine. Her research interests include the evaluation of innovative programs and their sustainability.

Carolyn Devany

Data Vortex Technologies

Carolyn Coke Reed Devany is the President of Data Vortex Technologies. With a focus on business development and strategic partnership, her priority for Women in HPC is building relationships and strengthening bonds between the organization and the HPC industry. Born and raised in the Southern United States, Carolyn was brought up in an environment that did little to foster professional growth for women. However, that did not prevent her from leading a next-generation computing company on the journey from a great idea to successful commercialization. Carolyn has been with Data Vortex since its inception in 1997. Working nearly twenty years in the industry, she has experienced first-hand the discrepancy in gender equality at the executive and entrepreneurial levels. Carolyn is an advocate for increasing the presence of women in leadership and funding roles within the HPC community. She believes this can be addressed at the earliest levels of education and is an active voice for inspiring young girls to confidently pursue entrepreneurial and innovative passions.

Alison Kennedy

STFC Hartree Centre

Alison Kennedy is the current Managing Director of PRACE and is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for Research Computing in Europe (PRACE). She joined the STFC Hartree Centre in the UK as Director in March 2016. The Hartree Centre provides collaborative research, innovation and development services that accelerate the application of HPC, data science, analytics and cognitive techniques, working with both businesses and research partners to gain competitive advantage. Prior to joining Hartree, she worked in a variety of managerial and technical HPC roles at EPCC for more than 23 years.

Mark Parsons

EPCC at the University of Edinburgh

Mark is the Director of EPCC and holds a Personal Chair in High Performance Computing. He is also the Associate Dean for e-Research at the University of Edinburgh. He joined EPCC in 1994 as a software developer working on several industrial contracts following a PhD in Particle Physics undertaken on the LEP accelerator at CERN in Geneva. In 1997 he became the Centre’s Commercial Manager and subsequently its Commercial Director. His career has focused on the application of modelling and simulation enabled by HPC to solve real-world problems faced by both the scientific research and business communities. From the outset, he has strongly supported the creation of Women in HPC and is committed to ensuring EPCC is a diverse and rewarding place to work for all.

Jessica Popp

Independent Consultant

Jessica Popp is a private consultant focused on engineering process (SDLC) and technical program management. Prior to this, Jessica held multiple HPC leadership roles including as General Manager for the Infinite Memory Engine product at DDN and Senior Director of Engineering at Intel leading the High Performance Data Division which developed the Lustre parallel file system. Jessica’s career, spanning more than 20 years has been focused on software development. She started as an application programmer in industry, moved to data warehousing, and then following her passion for leading software teams found herself in HPC over ten years ago. Having spent much of her career being the only, or one of a very few women on a team, she is excited to see and be a champion for the increased focus on diversity in engineering.

Marie-Christine Sawley


Marie-Christine Sawley has been the Intel Director of the Exascale Lab in Paris since its opening at the end of 2010.  Prior to this, she worked for 3 years as senior scientist for the ETH Zurich in the CMS computing team at CERN. Between 2003 and 2008, she was the director of the CSCS, the Swiss national supercomputing centre, driving the growth and computing capacities of the centre during this period. During her career at EPFL, between 1988 and 2003, she managed a number of high profile HPC projects across a variety of disciplines.  Over the last 20 years, she has built expertise as HPC technology manager to serve the advancements of world class science, mission critical computing, extreme sporting competition or industrial partnerships.

Marie-Christine holds a degree in Physic and a PHD in Plasma Physics (1985) from EPFL.  She spent two periods in Australia: for a postdoc at Sydney Uni in 1987-88 and for a sabbatical leave in 1999. Marie-Christine is a Swiss and French national.

John Towns

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

John Towns holds two appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the Executive Director for Science & Technology at NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications), and Deputy CIO for Research IT in the Office of the CIO. He is also PI and Project Director for the NSF-funded XSEDE project (the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment). Towns provides leadership and direction in the development, deployment and operation of advanced computing resources and services in support of a broad range of research activities. In addition, he is the founding Chair of the Steering Committee of PEARC (Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing).

Sarvani Chadalapaka

WHPC Mentoring Programme Director | University of California, MERCED

Sarvani Chadalapaka is WHPC’s Mentoring Programme Director as well as the High Performance Computing Administrator with the Office of Information Technology at the University of California, Merced. In her current role at UC Merced since 2016, she enables researchers affiliated with UC Merced to use campus-wide and regional HPC resources, as well as managing the hardware and software of the campus cluster called the MERCED Cluster (NSF Award #1429783). As an XSEDE Campus Champion, she participates in Campus Champion information sharing sessions and acts as a bridge between the local campus and XSEDE resources. Every week, Sarvani facilitates a hands-on HPC clinic where users can get one-on-one help and engage in peer mentoring. Through her efforts, HPC users on campus have increased over 300% and the MERCED cluster has more than doubled its cores, while also expanding the software supported. She is a recipient of Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative Award in Recognition of Carrie Regenstein, UCCSC’s community award for Research IT, received scholarships by CEE-Broadening Participation Program for travel support to PEARC. Sarvani holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas-Arlington and a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from India. She has always been an ardent supporter of WSTEM and also participates in numerous campus community activities, such as the Polynesian dance troupe.

Tania Jareen

WHPC Fellowship Programme Director | Wichita State University

Tania Jareen is helping the community as a faculty at Wichita State University. As a leader in the classroom, she is teaching new concepts and skills in the Cyber Security field. She is one of six women in the United States awarded to build the world’s fastest and most powerful network at the SuperComputing conference funded by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. She is a Computer Systems Engineering Committee Member for Grace Hopper conference and Technical Committee Member for PEARC conference. She is a reviewer for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) award application for Aspiration for Computing (AiC) as well as an application for Collegiate Award. She was a Network Engineer at Purdue University to manage high-speed networks that connect researchers and scientists across the world. She assisted the network migration team at Cox Communications, one of the leaders in the internet broadband communities. She earned a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Computer Networking from Wichita State University. She chased her dream to be a part of the high-performance computing community and traveled a long distance from Bangladesh where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. She is excited to work for the team and organization where she can help the community, especially the young women who can be the greatest contributor to the technological revolution.

Lara Kisielewska

WHPC Commications & Graphic Design | Xand Marketing

Lara Kisielewska is President of Xand Marketing

Cristin Merritt

WHPC Social Media Editor | Alces Flight Limited

With over fourteen years experience in change management for technology, Cristin brings to the table a wide range of experience in end user training, enterprise-level integration, and relationship management. Considered a relative newcomer to the world of HPC, she enters at a pivotal time where the possibilities of compute are switching from exclusive to inclusive, something that is right in her wheelhouse.
With the Alces team she’s explored the multitude of options that have entered the market, working side-by-side with clients focused on harnessing new technology for global impact. This has resulted in projects ranging from traditional to strictly cloud-based in their creation.
Originally hailing from the United States with a degree in Classics from the University of Florida, Cristin moved to the United Kingdom ten years ago so she could experience the actual changing of the seasons.

Nandhana Sakthivel

WHPC Blog Editor | University of Trieste, SISSA, ICTP and University of Udine

Nandhana Sakthivel is currently a Master’s student of Data Science and Scientific Computing with Computational Science and Engineering as her curriculum and Quantum computing as her specialisation at University of Trieste, SISSA, ICTP and University of Udine, Italy. Before joining here, she worked as a Software Development Engineer at ZoomRx Healthcare Pvt.Ltd, India with her focus on full stack web development and test automation software development.

She completed her Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy, India, where she was born and raised. Her main interest lies in High Performance computing, Quantum Software development and Quantum Cryptography. She believes that exposing opportunities in HPC to students at the university level will bring more of them into this field.

Misbah Mubarak

Dr. Misbah Mubarak is a software engineer at Amazon Web Services. She received her Ph.D. and master’s degrees in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2015 and 2011, respectively. She also has experience working at Argonne National Laboratory, CERN, Switzerland, and Teradata Corporation. She was the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright scholarship and an ACM SIGSIM PADS Ph.D. colloquium award and was a finalist for Google Anita Borg scholarship.

Mubarak has authored or co-authored over 30 papers in premiere high-performance computing (HPC) venues, including the IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS) and the Supercomputing (SC) conference and the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems journal. She served as the chair/co-chair of the women in HPC series of workshops at SC and International Supercomputing Conference and has served a program committee member in several notable HPC conferences.

Toni Collis

WHPC Chair | Collis-Holmes Innovations

Dr Toni Collis is the Former Chair and co-founder of (WHPC) and Director of Collis-Holmes Innovations. With a background in business, physics and parallel computing Toni specialises in assisting women make the most of their career, from providing strategy for start-ups to coaching women in leadership and management. Toni provides technical and business insight on…


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