Today marks the end of the second phase of the PHILEAS campaign, when our time here in Alaska has drawn to its end. Tomorrow Halo will depart into the Alaskan skies one last time, and will be heading north, homebound. It feels as if an era has come to its end, even if this might sound mightily over exaggerated, but for so long this has been our lives now. In these last remaining hours, it feels appropriate to reflect on what has been, and maybe what there is still to come:
The days here have grown shorter, as the first days of autumn seem to dawn here in Alaska, which most of all paints the world in the vivid pallet of the Indian Summer. Especially here it is most beautiful, a decent, somber metaphor for the coming end of the campaign as well. It appears that our instruments are slowly waning, with minor issues with the equipment becoming more and more frequent. Nothing you can't fix, mind that, and in recent lights our instruments and personal have performed admirably
The far-east winds and traces rare are what we dreamers seek above the waves of oceans and the highest mountains peak. We set our feet on northern soil, a team of many teams, and metal wings are brought to bare the weight of foolish dreams. The calling that we all once felt has brought us to these lands of ice and stone, in summertime, the task on our hands. One wonders what this time might bring, while we are here to stay, what pay-offs this campaign will bring, no-one yet dares to say.
Another day at the PHILEAS campaign, and I don't know what to tell you about. Should I tell you that our instruments still work admirably? This much should be expected by now. They are incredibly reliable this time around. Should I tell you about how the flights went? They went great. Scientific objectives are plentiful, and the Asian summer monsoon provides us with plenty of its air here in North America. We performed multiple double flights, with tomorrow even attempting sort of a triple flight, where we will probe a single filament for a third time utilizing trajectories. But this is nothing new. Thrilling for the experienced senior scientist surely, but not for the layman. With this blog designed to provide an alternative perspective, and with us slowing exhausting, I propose a different direction for this weeks post. Everyone has a different way to cope with pressure and strain, and some of them are rather humorous. Join me then, please, into the mind of the people of the campaign, and the strange habits that have arisen during these last days:
It is a strange thing, to be on campaign this long. Like the proverbial rabbit you follow into its hole, you enter a world fully dedicated to your research, your work and truly defined by it. Only in rare moments of respite may your mind wander back to the time before that, and it feels somewhat alien to me. It is not a bitter-sweet melancholy of longing and dreaded missing, to which the weary mind may cling to, but rather a slow miring, a loosing oneself in this new world, this new life. I had expected it to be less pleasant. Its dull edge irritates me very much.
At JuWinHPC we firmly believe in inclusion. This might sound obvious, or at least in my head it sounded obvious, but after reflecting a bit it might not be that obvious. After all, our name is Jülich Women in High Performance Computing.
The campaign is well underway. To be honest, a certain sense of everyday life has slowly crept in with us, so you might want to forgive me if I begin to struggle a little to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Spirits remain high, and there is plenty to tell off:
The time has finally come. With the second phase of the campaign dawning, we set our eyes onto the distant shores of Alaska. By the time you’re reading this the last of our team has arrived in the United States, to take on the second phase of the campaign head on. We’ll be operating from a hangar run by Atlantic Aviations and are currently setting up the equipment already here.
The first phase of the campaign is well underway, and with that summer has finally returned to the northern outstretches of the Alps. We have completed two more scientific flights during the last week, as well as the infamous turbulence flight, with great results. Our first flight brought us all the way up and along Sweden, along the Scandinavian Mountains and back again above the bright beaches on the Baltic Sea, flying straight along the entire country. Another team of scientists did a balloon flight near the flight track as well, and word is they did manage to see us from down there. Scientifically, these two measurements have great synergy potential, and will allow us to cross validate the data or maybe even complement each other, to see what only the other can see.
The Women in HPC (WHPC) organisation delivered two great events at the ISC23 with two JuWinHPC colleagues, Ruth Schöbel and Claire Wyatt, on the organising committee. WHPC were invited to ‘take-over’ the HPC Solutions Forum stage in the Exhibition Hall and provided a poster networking event.
Pale clouds and persistent rain usually do not bode well as omen, and only a fool or a dreamer would dare to keep high hopes and excitement on such a rather sad summer day, but looks can be deceiving, and the first scientific flight 'Bitburg' today in Oberpfaffenhofen was a resounding success, only one of many more we dare to dream of today.
My partner Marian and I both work as scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Because he also wants to spend time with our son and I did not want to pause my work completely, we decided to share the parental leave. We both reduced our working hours to about half and Marian goes to work on the days when I am at home and the other way around.
The opportunity to travel and to work with scientists all around the world was always a very exciting and thrilling experience for me. For a long time, work always came first and balancing my professional and private life was not always easy. However, as the years went by, the desire to start a family grew stronger.
We have heard time and time again about the importance of role models in building our careers. Who did you look up to? Who inspired you to get where you are today? Who did you identify with and who made you think "if you can do it, so can I"? These might be easy questions: of course I know who inspired me, look at that great scientist! But I think inspiration can be a bit more subtle and is built up over the years.
Lena Oden and her husband both work in academia and use their flexibility to travel jointly with their baby and their toddler to conferences and important project meetings. She kindly agreed to share challenges encountered, her experiences and tricks with others, who might be wondering how this interface actually works out in practice.
In May, Jülich Supercomputing Center hosted the 2023 Helmholtz GPU Hackathon, together with HZDR, HIDA, and OpenHackathons. After an initial virtual first day, nearly 80 people came together on the Jülich Campus to work together on accelerating the performance of the scientific applications they brought along.