Hello everyone! I’m Denizhan, I’m about to finish the first semester of my PhD. I’m working and studying at Istanbul Technical University, Computational Science and Engineering, which has a curriculum in which HPC and parallelization is especially emphasized. And yes, the semester still goes on and I still have a whole group project on reinforcement learning that is postponed a lot due to Covid-related reasons. But Summer of HPC already taught me a few useful tricks for working with CUDA, it contributes to my other academic work surprisingly fast!
(I’m not really good about photos, so here is one, please don’t be picky. Some of my body and some surroundings are involved in the context. Technical details: webcam, uncontrolled sunlight, cheese/linux, so I said cheese silently to thank programmers, and so on)
The training week was very well structured, a wonderful work for adapting to online enviroment. A great orientation day, followed by 3 modules on most important parallelization paradigms/techniques in the field. Course materials and hands-on exercises were well prepared, no prior knowledge was assumed but also it was not too simple for most of more experienced students. Various online tools were involved in the process, and I maybe took even more notes on them than actual subjects because I think there was many potential improvements on the course I assist as TA. I am especially thankful for organizers’ efforts to provide us a socializing environment in such challenging situation, and also for yoga and exercise sections. We programmers have a bunch of occupational problems (such as back ache and postural problems, and arguably lower social skills being more wide-spread and so on), but most educational/professional organization I saw chose to neglect it. When those problems are addressed, by lovely instructors, I felt a bit more important and more human, really! A better professional community is possible, a community in which we feel that those works are made for humans and we’re not born just to do them in a hurry, even in a pandemic. The effort put on those things, that are considered off-topic like a hobby or a luxury by some of us, pays off. I hope to see this more and more as I stick around for the following years in this area of occupation.
Now, I’m even more impatient for the project. It seems that I will work with wonderful mentors and co-worker. Our project is Development of visualization tool for data from molecular simulations, and I’m sure that it will be a good opportunity to practice my programming skills and widen my knowledge on molecular simulations.
I know that it would be considerably better for many things in regular conditions, face-to-face, meeting with people in person and so on; but summer of HPC exceeds my expectations from the start even online! I’m really excited for the rest of experience, and to tell you more here, so stay tuned!