Women In HPC
Women in HPC (WHPC) was set up in 2013 to tackle the problem of diversity in HPC through research and education. It was the first organised attempt to do so in the world.
Despite the variety of the professional backgrounds of the people who work in high performance computing (HPC), diversity within the sector remains very low globally. Women are under-represented in HPC in almost every country in the world. In the UK, women make up 50% of the population, but within HPC women form less than 17% of the workforce, though the exact number is difficult to ascertain.
WHPC’s goal is to improve women’s participation in the supercomputing community by providing collaboration and networking. The programme strives to bring together women in HPC and technical computing to provide fellowship and visibility of role models. WHPC runs events around the world to share best practice on creating diverse workforces, improving the retention of women in the community and inspiring the next generation. Its work has prompted the HPC community to consider the gender balance of HPC users, technicians, researchers, developers and many more who work with supercomputers, recording this information for the first time, sharing success stories and also the challenges, while discussing solutions.
Although WHPC is predominantly concerned with the representation of women, it has been shown that positive cultural changes in the workplace can benefit everybody. For example shared parental leave, flexible working and the ability to work reduced hours, improves the wellbeing of all, and has a cultural impact on the acceptance of women taking on caring responsibilities.
WHPC undertakes research, awareness-raising, networking and training. The WHPC programme has gained widespread support internationally. Multi-nationals which have endorsed its work include: IBM, Intel, DDN, Data Vortex and Seagate.
EPCC initiated the WHPC programme and it is supported by the UK EPSRC.