Jülich Women in HPC

At Forschungszentrum Jülich, there are now various networks, initiatives, and programmes to give women in particular more visibility – for example FemaleVoice. Another network for women has now been established, specifically for the field of high-performance computing (HPC). Ruth Schöbel, founding member and head of the JuWinHPC network, explains how it came about and why Forschungszentrum Jülich has thus taken on a pioneering role in Germany.

Ms Schöbel, how did the network for women in high-performance computing at Forschungszentrum Jülich come about?

Neues Netzwerk für Frauen im HPC-Bereich
Ruth Schöbel

To answer this, we must first understand why the umbrella organization “Women in High Performance Computing” – WHPC for short – was founded. It was driven by the phenomenon that HPC is perceived as an exclusively male-dominated field of work and is often associated with “nerd” stereotypes. I too felt the same way at the beginning of my career. This is where WHPC comes in, aiming to achieve greater gender equality, diversity, and integration of women in the HPC community. The initiative participates in the most prominent conferences in the industry, such as the SC Conference or ISC High Performance. It also offers special workshops and mentoring programmes for women in HPC.

Computer-aided simulation and data analysis have become a mainstay of science in recent years. At Jülich, researchers from different institutes who are not in direct contact with each other work with Jülich’s HPC systems in connection with various projects. However, the proportion of women working with high-performance computers is much lower than in other priority areas. The main goal of the chapter is thus to strengthen the local HPC community and build a network at Jülich that empowers women in this specific research area, i.e. HPC, and increases their visibility. We aim to achieve this by organizing a networking or information meeting once a month. The chapter members and anyone interested in HPC can use the meetings to meet new colleagues or to strengthen existing contacts. All employees are warmly invited to participate.

JuWinHPC also represents an enrichment for Forschungszentrum Jülich as an employer: as the first-ever German chapter of the worldwide WHPC umbrella organization, it shows young people that Forschungszentrum Jülich is committed to the issue of equal opportunities in the HPC field. We are all the more pleased that the Board of Directors has supported our efforts to have our own chapter at Jülich – JuWinHPC is thus also a recognized network within Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Now that the chapter has been founded, what’s the next step? What are the next goals for the chapter?

The founding team, of which I am a member, is already working on other tasks in the background. We want to create a better understanding of the gender imbalance and make women in HPC more visible and networked. In the long term, we are therefore also interested in equal opportunities and diversity independent of gender, and hope to be able to advocate more for other marginalized groups in the future. Ultimately, all employees can benefit from our goals.

On an international level, we will compare our strategies with those of other chapters and exchange information with each other. On a national level, we will support the foundation of further chapters in order to promote the aim of nationwide cooperation.

Further information on JuWinHPC

More information on the global Women in High Performance Computing initiative

Last Modified: 26.03.2024