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Welcome to the November 2016 Women in HPC Newsletter

The year is nearly at an end, and although WHPC will be working hard on our 2017 plans for the rest of the year, our 2016 events came to a spectacular close at SC16 earlier this month. Find out more about what went on at SC16 below.

Distinguished Speakers in HPC
There is still time to help us develop the WHPC distinguished speakers programme. Fill in this short survey to tell us what you think about the idea and how best to proceed so that this works for our community in the most successful way. 
We've extended the deadline for completion but please complete this survey by 15 December 2016.

Changing the face of HPC in Salt Lake City

Women in HPC's 2016 activities came to a spectacular close at Supercomputing 2016 in Salt Lake City. Our week began with the fifth international WHPC workshop which provided 28 early career women the opportunity to present their work as well as sessions on mentoring, career coaching and discussions on how to improve diversity. Based on the feedback from our workshop, plans are already forming for our 2017 workshops. Throughout the SC16 week we also hosted two BoFs, participated in numerous panels and talks and were hosted by exhibitors including Lenovo, Intel and PRACE. 

We were also honoured to receive three HPCWire Awards:

  • Readers’ Choice: Workforce Diversity Leadership Award
  • Editors’ Choice: Workforce Diversity Leadership Award
  • Readers’ Choice: Outstanding Leadership in HPC, for Toni Collis, Director or WHPC.
Our success, both at our events and in the recognition that these awards represent, is due to the large number of volunteers that help us put on our successful activities and everyone that supports us in our endeavour to diversify the face of HPC. We thank everyone that was involved in our activities during SC16 and to all our supporters that helped us receive these awards.

Hopper and Hamilton receive Presidential recognition of their contribution to computing

On 22nd November something happened in the White House, and this time, it was something that everyone, especially women working in HPC, could be extremely pleased about! The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US’s highest civilian honour, was awarded to 21 people from all walks of life, including two female greats in the history of software engineering and computer science: Margaret H Hamilton and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Margaret Hamilton, born in 1936, developed software on the SAGE project at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory from 1961-1963. This project started life as a computer system to predict and track weather systems but was soon developed by the military into an anti-aircraft defense system at the height of the Cold War tensions. Margaret then joined the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT and led the team that wrote the software for the Apollo and Skylab missions, including the first successful Moon-landing, Apollo 11. Margaret, now aged 80, has over 130 papers and six major programs to her name.

Grace Hopper (1906-1992) was a pioneer in the very early days of software engineering, creating the first compiler for a computing language.  This early work led to the development of COBOL, the very first high-level programming language. Grace joined the United States Navy Reserves in 1943, and served as director of the Navy Programming Languages Group at the Navy’s Office of Information Systems Planning from 1967-1977. In 1966, by then Commander Hopper, Grace retired for the first time; recalled twice more she would eventually retire for good, aged 79, in 1986. At that time she was the oldest commissioned officer in the United States Navy and had the dubious honour of serving on the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship!

See the whole ceremony here:

Want to help WHPC?

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Our work relies on volunteers and we are currently seeking people to help out with our monthly newsletter, the WHPC website and contribute to our social media campaigns. If you are able to help us you will be helping to raise awareness of WHPC's message and the importance of diversity to the HPC workforce to the broader scientific community.

If you have a few hours a month, or maybe a bit more time every few months, get in touch by email: and let us know what you are interested in.

Just the Facts

To find out more about Women in High Performance Computing check out our website:

You can keep in touch with WHPC between newsletters by visiting us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or items you would like to include in future newsletters please  contact us at We are particularly interested in hearing from event organisers or programmes that are looking to recruit women and would like to have their information shared in the Opportunities section of our newsletter.

Previous WHPC newsletters are available on our website here.


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Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) · EPCC, The University of Edinburgh · The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow · Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9BT · United Kingdom

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