Child Care at SC17 – a big deal and benefit to attendees.

Deadline to sign up: 20-October 2017

This article originally published in HPCwire.

I’ve been thinking about this child care thing – on a couple of different fronts. First, if you are working parent who would like to come to the conference but can’t because of lack of help taking care of your child, it’s a huge deal. But there’s a non-trivial ripple effect to this benefit because the HPC community as a whole is richer for the greater participation that might otherwise be lost.

I’m also thinking about how to get the word out. The SC team has written some about this, but this is such an important topic that I’m writing about it again.

First – the facts:

Note the details. If you are thinking about using the child care benefit at SC17, you need to know these things:

  • Deadline to sign up is 20-October. This is a HARD deadline, due to staffing and licensing of the temporary child care facility at the conference.
  • Space is limited due to the room allocated to childcare and regulations on child care facilities. So, there is a finite number of children that can be accommodated.
  • Child care is available for children from 6 months to 12 years of age. (Children 6 months or under may be brought into all conference sessions subject to the terms and conditions of the SC17 Child Policy which aims to ensure the safety of all attendees.)
  • Cost:
    • $6 an hour per child for attendees and exhibitors
    • $5 per hour for SC17 committee members
    • $3 per hour for student attendees
  • You’ve signed up, but then need to cancel – what happens then? If you cancel before the start of the conference, you get 50% of your fee refunded.

Full details can be found on the website.

Second – the why:

In my opinion, one of the top reasons the SC conference should be doing this is because it’s the right thing to do. Conferences need to do things to help make it easier for working parents to attend. I am purposely using “working parents” instead of “working mothers” (you will see a strong propensity to gender diversity in HPC on the SC17 Inclusivity website) because the benefit should be for anyone who needs it.

It is projected that the HPC industry will have a shortfall of 1 million workers by 2020. I’m not a researcher and I didn’t come up with the number – I’m repeating the number that has been reported by multiple luminaries in our industry including John West, Lorna Rivera, and Toni Collis. (If you want the actual number, email me and I’ll work with Toni and Lorna to get a firm statistic and source.) But whether the number is 1 million or 750,000, it’s still a big number. The gap is rising because the younger generation is going into a variety of scientific fields other than HPC. Why – we don’t know for certain. But, we need to make it easy for them to stay in HPC, come to conferences, learn and network.

I must note that most of the major conferences offer some type of on-site child care. That is not a reason to offer on-site child care. But, it is a consideration to ensure that the SC conference is competitive and keeps up with the current trends.

Third – spread the word:

I’m writing this article as a way to get the word out. Very kindly, HPCwire is publishing the article and promoting it. I’m tweeting about it via my Twitter handle and the SC17 Inclusivity handle. I’d appreciate you sharing this information with your network – whether it’s in your company newsletter, your company Twitter, or your own personal Twitter. Tag @SCInclusivity, @kamcmahon, or use #SC17. I’ll notice and share your communication.

In Summary

I’m proud to be part of the SC17 Inclusivity Committee and working with the Steering Committee and conference organizers to make the conference more accessible for everyone. I welcome your ideas and suggestions. You can DM me on Twitter @kamcmahon or email me at

See you in Denver for SC17!