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Advancing HPC Through Mentorship and Diversity

sally ellingson

Dr. Sally Ellingson is a prominent computational scientist, bridging the domains of computational biology and high-performance computing. She holds dual undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology and completed her Doctorate at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a focus on computational biology.

Currently, Ellingson serves as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, where she also manages High-Performance Computing Services at the Markey Cancer Center. Her research combines simulations, big data analysis, and machine learning to improve drug binding predictions.

Beyond her research, Ellingson is committed to mentoring and outreach, particularly for underrepresented groups in the field of computational sciences. Her involvement in the SC Conference, dating back to 2014, has been extensive. She has contributed significantly to various programs within the conference, such as the Broader Engagement program, Student Volunteer program, Mentor-Protégé program, and School Tours. Currently serving as the Students@SC Chair, her volunteer efforts have had a lasting impact on the community.

Momentum & Mentoring

In Ellingson’s I Am HPC blog, she emphasizes the importance of maintaining the momentum of diversity and inclusion efforts within the HPC community and underscores the significance of mentoring the next generation to ensure a more inclusive and diverse environment.

sally ellingson

Sally ellingson

Assistant Professor, Division of Biomedical Informatics, UK College of Medicine

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

Ellingson: Touring the computer room at Oak Ridge National Laboratory when I was interviewing for graduate school. 

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

Ellingson: My volunteer work through the SC Conference.

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

Ellingson: I’ve been pleased to witness the growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion within the Supercomputing conference and the HPC community. During my grad school days, I participated in a program aimed at enhancing diversity and fostering a sense of community within the conference. While it was disappointing to see it discontinued, I’m proud to see these initiatives gaining momentum. Today, inclusivity stands as a top-tier priority for the conference, influencing every facet of the event. This underscores the commitment to cultivating a diverse workforce and nurturing inclusive work environments to sustain the vibrancy and diversity of our community.

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

Ellingson: As we move forward, it’s crucial that we maintain our momentum and remain steadfast in our commitment to DEI initiatives. Additionally, we should not lose sight of the significance of mentoring students. This investment in the next generation is pivotal for the continued growth and strength of our community. By providing guidance and support to emerging talent, we not only contribute to their personal development but also fortify the collective knowledge and capabilities of our community. Together, we can ensure a more inclusive, diverse, and thriving environment for all.

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sally ellingson

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