ISC 2016 BoF: Addressing the gender gap in the community

Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:15 am – 11:15 pm CET
Booth #220 Frankfurt Messe Conference Centre

The Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) BoF, held at ISC 2016, Frankfurt, Germany will once again bring together the HPC community to discuss the growing importance of increasing diversity in the workplace. The BoF will focus on how employers can improve diversity with discussion by employers on successful strategies implemented by employers to improve diversity and how unconscious or implicit bias can impact hiring and promotion. The speakers will share the tools already available to the community to help address this issue, and the challenges faced.



  • Toni Collis, Women in HPC and EPCC
    Introduction and Welcome, including a discussion on unconscious bias in the workplace and the challenges this introduces
  • Dr. Jacqueline H. ChenDistinguished Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories
    Methods to improve diversity in National Laboratories in science and engineering disciplines: Jackie will discuss the effectiveness of mentoring and scholarships as well as the benefits of coaching early career women.
  • Carolyn Devany, President, Data Vortex Technologies
    Improving the representation of women in executive and strategic roles in industry: as one of the few female Presidents of a technology company in the HPC sector Carolyn will discuss the importance of ensuring that women are well represented at executive and board level as well as the need for more female entrepreneurs and investors.

The BoF will encourage audience participation with the use of audience focused discussions with the results being used in the 2016 Women in HPC whitepaper on improving diversity in recruitment, where possible quantifying the value and benefit to the HPC community and employer of methods that can be used to improve workforce diversity and create guidelines that are useful throughout the international community. We hope that these outcomes will also be of benefit when considering improving diversity amongst other underrepresented groups.

Don’t forget to check out all of our events at ISC 2016 here.


Director, Hartree Centre, UK

AlisonAlison 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.


Distinguished member of technical, Sandia National Laboratory

Dr. Jacqueline H. Chen’s primary field of research is computational combustion, which relies on high-fidelity combustion simulations to develop accurate predictive combustion models, which will be used to design more fuel-efficient, cleaner-burning vehicles, planes and power plants in the future.

The 2016 ISC High Performance conference has invited Chen to keynote on Tuesday, June 21, on the topic of advancing the science of turbulent combustion using petascale and exascale simulations. The ISC Communications team caught up with Chen to find out more about combustion simulations and thus create more awareness for her research among a broad HPC audience.


Founder and Director, Women in HPC, EPCC at the University of Edinburgh

Toni Collis is the Director and founder of the Women in HPC (WHPC) network in the UK, as well as an Applications Consultant in HPC Research and Industry at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), UK. Within EPCC Toni provides technical expertise on a range of research projects using HPC in academic software, from engineering to biology and teaches on courses in the EPCC MSc in High Performance Computing. Toni is also part of the team that provides technical assistance to the UK national HPC service (ARCHER) community to help users port and optimise codes on ARCHER, and the provision of training for the ARCHER user community. Prior to working at EPCC Toni gained a PhD in computational condensed matter as well as an MSc in HPC and an MPhys in Mathematical Physics. Toni has previously been the Equality and Diversity Coordinator for the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and as WHPC Director is responsible for leading the network as it grows, running events and is also working on research into diversity in the HPC community, how it can be improved and the unique problems faced by this field. She has been on the organising committee for a variety of workshops and conferences including leading the team for the previous WHPC workshops.


President, Data Vortex

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.