NVIDIANs Mozhgan Kabiri Chimeh and Misbah Mubarak work in different areas of the company — and on opposite sides of the Atlantic — but have collaborated closely for years, organizing biannual workshops for women in supercomputing.
The workshops, which take place at the annual SC and ISC annual supercomputing conferences, are hosted by Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC), an international organization that aims to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the field.
The pair, both with Ph.D.s in computer science, grew up in Iran and Pakistan, respectively. They met through WHPC and have led the workshop committee since 2018.
Pictured at top: Mubarak and Kabiri Chimeh on the SC18 show floor.
“We were motivated to get involved with WHPC to raise awareness of the very real challenges that women and underrepresented communities face in the workplace,” said Mubarak, a New York-based principal software architect on the NVIDIA Omniverse infrastructure team. “You’ll find plenty of technical workshops at the supercomputing conferences, so we work to cover topics around diversity and inclusion, such as impostor syndrome, mentorship, allyship and more.”
“We feel that by sharing our stories, and by bringing in diverse leaders to share their experiences, we can help give a voice to people who never had the opportunity to study or enter the field of HPC,” said Kabiri Chimeh, a U.K.-based developer advocate who leads GPU bootcamps and hackathons.
Advocating for Diversity in Engineering
As co-chairs of the WHPC workshop committee, the two collaborate with volunteers from national labs, academia and industry. The workshops they organize — typically half-day events at ISC and a full day at SC — attract dozens of participants from around the world. To help support attendees from emerging areas such as Africa and Latin America, WHPC provides free conference passes.
Each event features a keynote talk, a series of sessions by women in HPC and allies, lightning talks by early-career women and a panel discussion on key challenges that underrepresented communities in HPC face.
Bolstering Allyship in HPC
In the past few years, the workshop committee has placed a greater focus on increasing the presence of male allies at WHPC events.
“Earlier, when I’d ask male colleagues to attend, they’d think the event was just for women in HPC,” said Mubarak. “But we can make a greater impact by sharing ways allies can effectively support diverse communities at work.”
At ISC22, NVIDIANs Jack Wells and CJ Newburn spoke at a WHPC session on early-career development. Wells, a scientific program manager for HPC, discussed developing an inclusive work culture. Newburn, a distinguished engineer in HPC software, presented about building character and community.
“There are some great allies within NVIDIA,” Kabiri Chimeh said. “We need more supporters like this to attend WHPC events and volunteer their time.”