WHPC and Alces Flight to Collaborate on “Move the Needle” Initiative

This year-long project, running from January to November, 2024 will track the ways in which individuals, companies and institutions are making positive progress in workplace inclusion.

Despite the continuous growth of the supercomputing field, fueled by larger systems, new research domains, and the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, a quick internet search on the human aspects of High-Performance Computing (HPC) reveals numerous articles lamenting the challenges. Headlines such as “Trouble Filling the Technical Skills Gap,” “Lack of Workplace Diversity Harming Tech Industry,” and “Far Too Many People Leaving Tech Then Staying…” dominate the narrative. While the obstacles are diverse, little attention has been devoted to researching proactive measures taken by individuals and institutions to redress the balance between the needs of people and the technology they engage with.

As part of our work engage more women and underrepresented groups about the benefits of working in the field of HPC we are collaborating with long-time supporter Alces Flight on a project called, “Move the Needle.” The aim? To gather as much information on actions being undertaken on workplace inclusion (no matter how big or small) and set-up an accountability program to see what works, and what doesn’t, in bringing more equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) into our field.

Starting in January, 2024 anyone in the field of HPC can commit one to three actions they wish to undertake to ‘move the needle’ towards greater inclusion. Using a combination of simple surveys and online check-ins we will track the who, what, why, and way on EDIA with the aim to publish the year’s results in December, 2024 at the Computing Insight United Kingdom (CIUK24) conference in Manchester. Our hope? To showcase what is possible, highlight success, and address as many barriers as possible over the next 12 months.

The initial pledge to ‘move the needle’ opens on December 8th at the WHPC Breakfast at CIUK23 and runs until February 5, 2024. Full details regarding how to commit to your pledge, along with guidance, will be unveiled in advance of the commitment period (starting January 15th) and prominently featured here and on the Alces Flight blog. This project will be overseen by the WHPC Volunteer Research Team, who will play a crucial role in guiding us and analyzing the results.