The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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Best Practices – Outreach & Training

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is located in Perth, Western Australia, and is known as one of the most remote cities in the entire world. The majority of the Australian population is located on the other side of the country, at least 3000 kilometres and three time zones away! This proximity can make engagement on a National level a challenge.

Pawsey has been focused on direct engagement with its different stakeholders. This is achieved through a range of outreach and training activities including national training, conferences, tours and open daysinternships and the promotion of researchers utilising Pawsey services To engage with younger community, Pawsey future researchers, Pawsey runs a ten-week intensive Summer Internship Program for undergraduate students. The program is designed to develop skills in computational science by giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in advanced computing projects. Taking advantage of the resources Pawsey provides, students undertake challenging research projects while their supervisors and sponsors benefit from the opportunity to understand the technologies and learn new techniques for their own research areas.

Pawsey have run Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Training in Perth for a number of years, recently expanding to major cities across Australia. Free National Training is held every month in a different major city and attendance has drastically increased.

Pawsey Roadshows are another way the Centre showcases the services and resources that they provide. Held across Australia, it is also an opportunity for researchers to showcase the work they are doing with the Centre.

Clinics are also held in conjunction with the roadshow with the Pawsey Uptake Group, who sit with researchers to fine tune their code, help with bug fixes and any other problems the researchers are facing.

Looking for opportunities to improve, at the end of every calendar year, Pawsey staff send surveys to their users. In 2017, Pawsey began hosting face-to-face User Forums at Universities across Australia where researchers can provide feedback on Pawsey. Being held four times a year, the User Forums are dynamic and allow Pawsey to take action for researchers to benefit during their current allocations.

Internationally, beside the regular presence on conferences through booths and presentations from staffs, Pawsey hosted and HPC Advisory Council Conference earlier this year. This event, help us to realise the extremely talented people Australia has on HPC field. Also is bringing international attention from the international HPC community and is helping to build new connections with them.

Locally, researchers are given many opportunities to showcase their work. Pawsey Fridays are a bimonthly event for researchers to present their work and network with staff and other users in a relaxed and informal setting. Each Pawsey Friday highlights one researcher and their outcomes as well as their experiences with Pawsey. The success of this researcher focussed event has now seen growth into industry and government.

Every two years, Pawsey opens its doors for a grand Open Day. This sees the wider Perth community in attendance with a day filled with tours, researcher talks, science stalls and more. These Open Days show its success by having some of the highest attendance at the centre of any Pawsey event. It generates incredible awareness of the Centre and its science, most of the attendees were surprised on how supercomputing is impacting people’s life and that this one sits on their backyards.

Due to the success and high demand of the biennial Open Days, Pawsey began Community Tours every month. These are open to the general public, where they can see and learn about the latest research being undertaken at Pawsey and walk through the whitespaces that house the Centre’s supercomputers.

Pawsey National Training has now become so popular, the Centre staff is  working to create online training videos with the same content, so that this knowledge base can be accessed anywhere in the world. Many of the online training suites will also integrate Software Carpentry to allow for a more interactive learning experience.

In additional to training, Pawsey’s YouTube channel is starting to grow to also highlight their researchers, news, conferences and events.