Workshop on Training and Sustaining Research Computing Professionals

HOLD THE DATE !   21 March 2017, Washington DC Offices of Internet 2, 1150 18th Street NW, Washington DC

Travel and Hotel information

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Workshop on Training and Sustaining Research Computing Practitioners

If you’re having trouble recruiting and retaining systems specialist for Research Computing, you are not alone. The market is hot with Big Data, Business Analytics and Precision Medicine leading the way for people trained in this area. Given the current trends in computer architectures, this isn’t going to change any time soon and may well get worse. So, what should be done about it ? 

There are some players in this space. Is the LISA series sufficient ? Does the SC series fill the bill ?  If not, what should be created to fill the gaps ?

A workshop on training and sustaining the next (and current) generation of Research Computing practitioners is being planned for the 21st of March 2017 in the Washington DC metro area. This date was chosen to dovetail with the Spring Meeting of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) in Alexandria, VA ( 

Goals for the 21 March Workshop on Training and Sustaining System Professionals in Research Computing

Professionals that are able to design, build and administer a complex computational and data infrastructure in academia and at national labs are in short supply. Additionally, most academic institutions are unable to hire a sufficient number of system professionals that deeply understand the complex interactions of the different system components, from file system to advanced networking. Most institutions address this problem by hiring students and/or local talent and train them on the job.

The goals of the workshop are to identify the areas where the biggest personnel and training gaps are, to collect the approaches used today to address these gaps, and to propose a set of recommendations on how to address the  system professional shortage at the national level. This workshop will try to leverage similar efforts by other groups (e.g. LCI, ACI-REF, LISA, etc) as much as possible and learn best practices from organizational specialists.

The workshop is mainly focussed on addressing the needs of the academic community, from campus cyberinfrastructure providers to national centers (including the National Laboratories), but will no doubt have interest to the commercial community, as many of the research computing specialists in academia migrate into the commercial space. We welcome participation from individuals from all these communities and organizations with their varied perspectives.

Participants in the workshop should include representatives from the research community, current systems specialists, trainers and managers of systems specialists, funding agencies, organizational specialists, and commercial users and trainers.

The workshop will be a facilitated, by-invitation workshop held at the Internet2 headquarters in Washington DC. The workshop is sponsored by Internet2 and the National Science Foundation. There will be parallel and plenary sessions within the one day workshop with a final plenary session to summarize the conclusions and consensus of the group.

The outcome of the workshop will be a set of recommendations to academic institutions and relevant federal funding agencies (including NSF, DOE, DOD, NIH and others) on how to improve the training, recruitment and retention of systems specialists within the academic research community. We expect these recommendations to be submitted in a report to the NSF and published on an open website within the community. We expect this report to be published within 60 days after the workshop.


Working agenda for the meeting is as follows:




Goal of the workshop


Lightning talks - existing models - LCI (Henry), Tom & Thomas (RMACC), DOE,  DoD, NCAR?

Breakout session 1 (Defining the Needs and Gaps)




Reporting from the breakout session 1




Breakout session 2 (Proposing Models for Professional Development and Training)




Report of Breakout session 2


Plenary discussion of all ideas - Draft Recommendation





The workshop is by invitation only. Persons interesting in making nominations for the workshop should contact the organizing committee:

Dane Skow <>

Jim Bottum <>

Dana Brunson <>

Tom Cheatham <>

Thomas Hauser <>

Henry Neeman <>

Jenett Tillotson <>