Post SC07

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Supercomputing 2007 was held in Reno, Nevada.

  1. Day One: November 10, 2007
  2. Day Two
  3. Day Three
  4. Day Four
  5. Day Five
  6. Day Six

Here are some scattered thoughts on my SC07 experience. . .

  • The student volunteer (SV) program could be more organized. Compared to my SV experience at SIGCHI07, the SC07 job assignment process seemed arbitrary. At SIGCHI, SVs use a web interface to rank their preferences for the next day’s available volunteer positions. Every night, the preferences are compiled, and job assignments are made accordingly. I think SIGCHI’s laissez-faire assignment system yields high SV satisfaction. On the other hand, Supercomputing-07 SV jobs were assigned by the SV organizers. The organizers are great people, and I believe they made a fair attempt to judiciously assign jobs. That said, there was a lot of job-swapping among the volunteers. I realize that SIGCHI and SC are radically different conferences. However, both conferences share a similar scale of organization and I think the Supercomputing SV program could learn a lot from the SIGCHI SV program.
  • Although attending a conference with my cohort is nice, it also breeds xenophobia. At evening events, I found myself tempted to just hang-out with the U.O. crowd.
  • SC07 feels more like a trade show than an academic conference. The exhibit floor is HUGE, and most of the booths belong to companies hawking high-performance computing hardware. Although commercial activity is necessary for SC to be shiny and big, it thwarted my ability to meet other students, faculty, and researchers. Specifically, most of the evening parties were dominated by sales reps, not researchers.
  • I highly recommend lodging in a hotel across the street from the convention center. In the mornings, I had no trouble waking-up and attending keynote lectures, whereas my colleagues faced a thrity-minute shuttle ride across town.
  • Final thought: slot machines are like Hell for a light-induced epileptic.

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