Birds of a Feather Sessions: Bringing Communities Together Across the SC Audience

Birds of a Feather

One of the benefits of having one of the world’s premier technical conferences and exhibitions for HPC is that all of the research and industry expertise is present in the same place at the same time. The Birds of a Feather (BoF) program exists to harness this availability by creating sessions where communities of people formed around particular technologies, research areas, software, and hardware can gather to have discussions showcasing their work and directing their future.

Every year, from over one hundred submissions, a number of sessions are chosen and draw hundreds of attendees to participate in these conversations. These sessions are designed to allow teams of people to come together and talk directly with the people in their communities in a way that may not be possible remotely. In past years, there have been sessions as varied as groups of open source projects talking to their users, organizations taking advantage of the ability to reach out to all of their current members at once in addition to drawing in people to whom they might not have already been exposed, and users of particular technologies gathering to discuss best practices and brainstorm future improvements.



Submissions for Birds of a Feather sessions are already open for SC19 and will close on July 31st. The submission process involves proposing the content of the session in addition to describing some details of the format, participants, and leaders. The BoF program committee will select the best submissions to be added to the technical program.

Successful BoF submissions will often involve any combination of presentations, audience discussion, roadmap discussions, question and answer periods, and community meet ups. Before submitting, consider whether your proposed session fits this description. Consider also whether there is another group of people who are likely to submit a similar BoF and whether you should merge your proposal with theirs. In some cases, the BoF committee might suggest combining multiple proposals into a single session when appropriate to allow the maximum number of proposals to be accepted.

One thing to keep in mind is the difference between a BoF and an Exhibitor Forum talk (where the content is more focused on a particular product), or a Panel (where the session is largely focused on a series of presentations by topic experts). More details about the submission process as well as links to the submission website can be found on the BoF Submission page.


During the Conference

Once a proposal has been accepted by the BoF committee, the proposed session leaders will provide some details to be included in the conference program and can begin putting together their sessions. The sessions themselves are hosted in the afternoons and evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday, and during the afternoon of Thursday during the week of the conference.

The session format is largely up to the leaders themselves. We do not prescribe a particular type of discussion or presentation format. We want the focus to be an interactive time with your community.

In the many years the BoF program has existed at SC, there have been hundreds of BoFs, large and small, with a wide variety of topics. We would love to add yours to that list this year in Denver! Submissions are now open, and we look forward to seeing communities gather together to discuss the things that interest them.


Wesley Bland, SC19 Birds of a Feather Chair, Intel Corporation
Yanjie Wei, SC19 Birds of a Feather Vice-Chair, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, CAS

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