Students Surprise, Step Up as Next Generation HPC Professionals

Brad RutledgeBy Brad Rutledge, Cycle Computing VP of Marketing

Students attending the Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium brought a lot of energy, creativity, and surprises to the event. Hosted on the University of Oklahoma (OU) campus, I expected to see a lot of students – the surprise came in when we learned two high schools, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), and Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM), sent groups of students to attend, and participate. Some of the high school students presented during the poster segment of the Symposium, bringing with them impressive knowledge, and energy to these programs – and ultimately to the industry.

OSSM StudentsTeachers Brad Burkman of LSMSA, and Farideh Samadzadeh of OSSM, fearlessly led their students to campus, through sessions, all in the spirit of quenching their students’ thirst for knowledge. We were so impressed by them, that Cycle Computing donated two remote control quadcopters to the two high schools as gifts (we offered a quadcopter as free give-away door prize in our booth at the event).

HPC Industry’s Attention on Students is Working
This isn’t the first time our industry has embraced and welcomed students. The last several years, the annual SC (Supercomputing) conference has developed programs to encourage student involvement in High Performance Computing (HPC) through the Student Cluster Competition, and the Job Fair. It’s great to see Henry Neeman’s Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium going deeper into the well with both college and high school students. International Supercomputing Symposium (ISC) held each June in Germany now has a Student Competition as well. All of these programs help create interest and excitement from smart students, and help pave the way for future success in HPC.


Do [More Of] What Works
In today’s HPC industry, we have a shortage of talented engineers, designers, and developers. One can only expect the issue to become worse, as our top professionals retire. While these programs involving students are great – we need more of them. Some of these same students may be drawn towards developing social media, and smart phone technologies simply because they are unaware of the role our industry plays in making the world better … in so many ways. The #HPCMatters campaign at SC14 seems to be going in the right direction of creating broader awareness, and education to attract that next generation to HPC.  So we’re doing a lot of the right things – we just need to do more of it.

The excitement and drive created in the students who attend events like the Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium, SC, and ISC, is invaluable. From the viewpoint of Cycle Computing, students bring creativity, and energy to HPC. Encouraging our smartest students to become HPC professionals if vital, as they bring with them open and creative minds that allow us to embrace new technologies like Linux clusters from the past, to Cloud HPC today, and whatever will come next … If you’re a student, and are interested in getting some experience in HPC, please send an email to info @, as we have lot’s of opportunities.

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