Why are there not more women working in high performance computing (HPC)? That is basically the central question this blog is all about and perhaps you have already asked yourself this question once or twice, just like we did. We are Ruth, Anna, Claire and Cristina and are some of the board members of JuWinHPC, responsible for this blog.
The HPC community is very diverse – as are the jobs in the field – and there are many paths into HPC. In this mini-series we will share our personal journeys into HPC. We will describe our roles and explain how we got to our current positions.
The last two weeks of September were quite busy for me, as I participated in three different events featuring three distinct talks across three different fields. Each event required also preparation from my side and interaction with various audiences.
What can I say, for those who know me, it’s no secret that I enjoy talking, but each time before my talk, I could not shake the feeling, this feeling of self-doubt creeping in. I’d ask myself, „What am I doing here? Look at all these guys so brilliant and well-prepared. I feel like I have no idea of anything, and they’ll surely see right through me, I‘m a fraud!“
So, how did it go? What did we discuss? Did we gain any new perspectives?
As we wrote in an earlier post, at JuWinHPC we firmly believe in inclusion. Therefore, we had organised a members meeting in September 2023, specifically inviting our male colleagues (who are also welcome to join any other meeting!) to offer space for their thoughts and opinions.
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 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.
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.