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The Challenge, Inspiration, and Promise of the Next SC Conference — SC23

dorian arnold

For more than 20 years, I have been fascinated by high performance computing and SC. My research explorations have studied how system software and tools can make HPC systems more resilient, performant, and easier to use. The very first technical conference I ever attended was SC99. After experiencing SC and attending my first non-SC conference, naively I uttered to myself, “That’s it?” Indeed, SC ruined me for all other conferences.

For even longer, my personal charge has been to do what I can to make opportunities available to all. Serving as SC23 General Chair is not only an honor and a privilege, but an opportunity to serve a community that has become near and dear both professionally and personally. I have a responsibility to pay forward all the professional and personal privileges I have been afforded by the HPC community and by SC. The SC23 tagline, “I am HPC” reflects our vision to celebrate and promote all things HPC, the field, and the people!

Returning to Denver for the fourth time, in many ways, puts us on very familiar grounds. Yet in many ways, we are charting new territory. Technically, we have ever-evolving HPC technologies, new algorithmic capabilities, and computing at unprecedented scales. As a society, we are now in a post-pandemic world with a changing global economy. While some parts of the SC23 experience in Denver will ring familiar, we are excited about the novel aspects that will be realized.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the world since SC was last in Denver. The completely virtual SC20 boldly and successfully brought us together even from a distance. The hybrid SC21 wonderfully balanced in-person and remote engagements, and SC22 supplemented a full in-person experience with a new Digital Experience. For SC23, we target and anticipate in-person participation that exceeds our pre-pandemic numbers. Yet, SC23’s goal is to use what we’ve learned in the preceding conferences to extend SC’s reach like never before.

In this context, SC23 considers three driving questions: (1) How can we inspire new constituents to attend the conference in person? (2) How can we use the Digital Experience to engage fully those who cannot afford to attend in person? and (3) How can we best support the in-person or remote attendance of all who wish to participate?

Our outreach campaign aims to excite those familiar with SC and to reach new potential attendees not yet “in the know.” More than ever, we are being intentional about the in-person versus remote participation. The in-person experience will focus on interactive, interpersonal elements that are not possible or effective otherwise. Meanwhile, our Virtual Logistics team is striving to develop and execute an effective strategy for using the Digital Experience, not as a stopgap measure, but as a way to make SC23 as inclusive and accessible as possible — a practice we hope the conference series sustains.

Continuing with the inclusivity charge our tagline “I am HPC” exudes, SC23 has several other plans, including the “Exhibition Village” that will afford exhibition opportunities to individual researchers who lack the critical mass for their own research booth, reduced registration costs for qualifying individuals from underserved institutions, and a celebration of “Hidden HPC Figures” as a part of our 35th anniversary celebrations.

Traditionally, Invited Talks were a part of SC’s Technical Program. For SC23, Invited Talks will expand the traditional slate of compelling technical talks with sessions themed around broader topics like Education, Professional Development, and Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity.

We hope that you are as excited about SC23 as we are. We invite you to share with us your thoughts and ideas for making SC23 as awesome as possible. We look forward to hearing from you. And we look forward to seeing you in Denver!

dorian C. Arnold

SC23 General Chair

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