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Say It Loud: Kevin Hayden Is HPC Proud

kevin hayden

As a previous SCinet Chair (for SC20), Kevin Hayden knows a thing or two about managing a high-capacity network along with those who operate it. His service to the SC Conference is far from a one-and-done enterprise. Hayden, currently a Senior Network Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory, has been volunteering with the SC Conference since 2005, keeping him at the leading edge of technology in his chosen field for just shy of two decades. More importantly, he credits his many years at the SC Conference with helping him hone his skills as a collaborator, leader, manager, and network designer with keen insights into HPC’s future. This year, Hayden is as devoted to the conference as ever with roles in the SC23 Exhibits and Steering Committees, as well as SCinet. Over time, he also has made the conference a family affair and continues to work toward expanding the network of volunteers who bring their diverse talents and perspectives to the conference.

SC Becomes Family Tradition

While his service at the SC Conference has been expansive, Hayden has the enthusiasm of a first-timer and is more than happy to share why everybody should take the chance, get to know the community, and find their place among the multitude of disciplines and research that stems from HPC and grows through participation in the SC Conference. For Hayden, it seems everyone should have a chance to proclaim: “I AM HPC!”

Kevin Hayden

Senior Network Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory

Q: What single event most made you realize you wanted a career in HPC/computing?

Hayden: Attending my first SC Conference in Seattle (SC05).

Q: What do you consider your biggest contribution to the HPC/computing community?

Hayden: Being a member of the SC Steering Committee and SC Steering Diversity and Inclusivity sub-committee.

Q: In the past 35 years, what is the most significant overlooked breakthrough that has impacted the field in your eyes?

Hayden: Clean, inexpensive nuclear power.

Q: What would you like to see change about, within, or among the HPC/computing community?

Hayden: The community is getting older, and we need young people to be excited about the future of HPC and engineering as a whole. The United States has become a little soft, and other countries are catching us quickly due to their desire to make an impact on the world.

Q: Can you share any “words of wisdom” for those new to HPC or curious about the SC Conference and how they may fit in?

Hayden: I began my journey in HPC (support) at SC05 when I was asked to help set up the conference as a fiber optic cable installer as a member of SCinet. Since I was a fiber technician who didn’t directly work with the HPC community, I only supported the data pathway to the computers. I really had no idea what the conference was or what it was even about. Turned out, it was such a great experience! Not only did I help install, troubleshoot, and repair this incredibly fast network for the conference, I also had the opportunity to learn all the amazing things the HPC community did with their supercomputers, and I met the wonderfully captivating group of people that made up the SC Conference. I was so excited to learn more and couldn’t wait to go back again the next year and the next and the next. 

As my career progressed at work, so did my positions within SC. I worked my way through SCinet as the fiber team lead for several years, edge network lead for two years, then onto the management team. Eventually, I became SC20 SCinet Chair, where I was responsible for leading 100-plus SCinet volunteers through the challenges of the first virtual conference. While I am still a member of the SCinet team as the Physical Security Chair and still helping with the fiber team, I am also the SC Exhibits Deputy Chair and a member of the SC Steering Committee, where we set and approve conference policies, budgets, future sites, and work closely with the two sponsoring societies, IEEE-CS [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society] and the ACM [Association for Computing Machinery].

I was so fortunate to be asked to participate way back in 2005. I know I am lucky to work with such an amazingly talented, passionate group of volunteers from all around the world. SC is a family, and, as such, I have my family involved as well. My father-in-law has been a member of the SCinet wireless/edge team since 2018; my son, a wireless and fiber team member since 2021; my brother-in-law, a member of the SC21 SCinet logistics team; and my wife is now the SC23 Communications Chair after joining SC in 2016.

If you have the opportunity to volunteer at SC, I say, DO IT! And, have a great time meeting extraordinary people, expanding your horizons, working long (fun) days, and having a wonderful time. Who knows where it will take you?

My name is Kevin Hayden, and I am an HPC supporter… I AM HPC!

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