Application of Ashwin Kallor a PhD student form computational biology group at ICCVS was selected in a competitive recruitment process to participate in the International High Performance Computing Summer School 2022. Below Ashwin’s reminiscences about the event.
The International High Performance Computing Summer School (IHPCSS) was held this year at Athens, Greece between 20 and 26 June. This is an annual event which is hosted jointly by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), XSEDE (USA), SciNet (Canada) and RIKEN Center for Advanced Computing (Japan) where participating students are provided training on various topics related to high performance computing, ranging from parallelization to big data techniques. Hands-on classroom lectures are supplemented with learning materials and take-home exercises to impart a holistic and rigorous grounding in the underlying concepts of HPC while exposing the students to real-world applications through examples derived from engineering, astrophysics and the biomedical sciences. The participants are also given an opportunity to present their doctoral/post-doctoral research during a two day electronic poster session and connect with academicians/industry professionals during a career fair held during the latter half of the program. Beyond didactics, each student is assigned a specific mentor, who is expected to provide the student with professional, academic and even personal guidance on various issues faced by them.
The summer school was an enriching experience. Through the classroom sessions, I was able to learn new techniques in parallelization and big data processing such as OpenMP and PySpark, both of which are expected to be implemented in my computational workflows in due course. Outside the classroom, I was able to present the work conducted by the computational biology group at ICCVS during the e-poster session with a poster titled “Utilizing high performance computing for cancer vaccine discovery”. Meeting students, academicians and industry professionals from around the world was eye-opening since we were able to exchange ideas around HPC-related techniques and discuss our work. The networking sessions were further enhanced through the career and resume/interview sessions, where industry professionals and academicians provided advice on how to approach job interviews, how to frame and develop resumes and also the skill-sets required for each industry. In this regard, it is fitting to acknowledge the contribution of my mentor, Dr Pawel Janowski, who, through his constant support and encouragement, ensured that my time at the summer school was stimulating, both at the intellectual and personal level. Of course, the summer school was not entirely work and career-oriented as trips to a musical performance at the ancient Odeon theatre, the Athenian Acropolis and the Lycabettus Hill provided much-needed recreation during a week of intensive learning.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska and Dr Javier Alfaro, without whose assistance and encouragement this trip would not have been possible.