LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 23 September 2013 — Australian anthropologist and researcher Genevieve Bell is set to bring a new perspective to the international supercomputing community as she delivers the keynote talk at SC13 this November. Hosted in Denver, Colorado (USA), SC is the premier international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis.
"Supercomputing as a discipline is uniquely valuable in our society," observes William Gropp, the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science at the University of Illinois, co-creator of MPI, and the general chair of SC13. "From more absorbent diapers to better medicines and technologies for a sustainable future, the benefits of HPC are felt everywhere, every day. As a global leader in the effort to understand how technologies support and transform society, Genevieve's talk will help our community better understand how we can relate to society more effectively, extending the reach of HPC even further than it goes today."
Genevieve BellBell was a researcher at Stanford until she joined Intel Corporation in 1998 as a cultural anthropologist studying how different cultures around the globe used technology. She was named an Intel Fellow in November 2008 for her work in the Digital Home Group, and today directs the Interaction and Experience Research group.
"Neither individuals, organizations, nor technologies exist in a cultural, political and economic vacuum. Like other technologies, supercomputing both shapes and is shaped by the context of its use and the perspectives of those involved and affected. As supercomputing is increasingly recognized as an unparalleled universal intellectual amplifier in research and development, business, manufacturing, complex systems modeling and a host of other disciplines, it is critical that we – as developers, practitioners and policymakers – understand this milieu. Genevieve is the rare individual who can illuminate these deep connections among culture and technology and their implications," notes Daniel Reed, Vice-President for Research and Economic Development and Computational Science and Bioinformatics Chair at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Bell will officially open the conference with the keynote address on Tuesday morning, during which she will show that we have been dealing with big data for millennia, and that approaching big data problems with the right frame of reference is the key addressing many of the problems we face today.
Big data is the catch-all term for datasets that are so large, so complex, or arriving so fast that our ability to manage and process them using conventional technologies is challenged. In her talk, Bell will explore the lifecycle of data to better understand its needs and potential. "The next 10 years will be shaped primarily by new algorithms that make sense of massive and diverse datasets and discover hidden value," said Bell. "As we embark to create a new data society, could we ignite our creativity by looking at data from a fresh perspective? What if we designed for data like we design for people," and how can the SC community adopt this approach as we build the tools and infrastructure that help society take advantage of big data?
In 2010 Bell was named one of the top 25 women in technology to watch by AlwaysOn and as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Bell is a Thinker in Residence for South Australia, and in 2012 was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. Her book, "Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing", written with Paul Dourish, explores the social and cultural aspects of computing. Many of Bell's fascinating talks on human interaction with technology can be found online, including her TedXSydney talk, "The Value of Boredom", at http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxSydney-Genevieve-Bell-The-V.