Friday, March 06, 2009


Sometimes, there gets to be a pile-up of work to do.  These past few weeks have been that way for me at work.  

In addition to all my other work, my boss gave me an additional responsibility.  I am now charged with maintaining the software infrastructure on our supercomputers.  I  have to make sure that the software is up to date and installed correctly.  I don't have to install it all myself; and in fact, my philosophy is that if someone installed a piece of software last time, that person is responsible for installing it this time.  But of course that involves nagging motivating people to do the work that they're being paid to do.

I'm also in charge of the decisions about what new software to install.  When a user comes to us with a request, I give them our decision (which is made by the consensus of a committee, but I'm the face of the committee).  So far this has been okay except for one user who refused to take no for an answer.  But I think I may have convinced him that I'm not going to budge, because I haven't heard anything from him lately.

Then, there are lots of other things going on, mostly just the usual work, but some other fun things too.  Last week a colleague and I gave a workshop about high-performance computing to some people in a different division who do a lot of computing but haven't made the leap to parallel computing yet.  The size of the problems they work on is limited by the computing capacity of desktops and workstations.  So we tried to present supercomputing in an accessible way to them, and I think it was a success.  They came out of the workshop really interested in parallel computing and the things they could do with it, and resolved to engage in some further dialogue with us.

I felt really good about that.  The thing I love the most about my job is when I feel like I have enabled people to solve really hard science problems that they couldn't have solved on their own.  I think the people in this group really have the potential to become big-time HPC users in the future.

1 comment:

PhizzleDizzle said...

Have fun being Computer Czar!! You must be a rockstar :).