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Longstanding Student Volunteer Mohammed Tanash Continues to Discover Opportunities at SC

scinet group
Mohammed (front center) with the wireless and Edge team members at SC19

Mohammed Tanash has logged quite a bit of experience as a SC Conference volunteer. From his first time as a student volunteer at SC17 to a lead student volunteer position at SC18, and a SCinet student volunteer on the SC19 wireless team, Tanash has shown he is not afraid of challenges and is not one to give up. Tanash, from Jordan, went to the University of Utara (Malaysia), where he earned a master’s degree in Information Technology. He went on to become a lecturer at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia for four years. Then he chose to pursue another master’s degree at New Mexico State University and has since continued with his doctoral studies at Kansas State University. Notably, Tanash discovered SC student volunteer opportunities while surfing the internet for the best conferences in his field. He was immediately impressed by SC’s diversity of programs and size. He started questioning colleagues about SC and quickly learned that it was “مؤتمر يتحدث عنه الجميع لانه واحد من اكبر المؤتمرات على الاطلاق” (the one that everyone talks about as it is one of the biggest). Realizing SC had a student program, he promptly started the application process.

“يجب أن تكون شخص نشيطً جدًا، وأن يكون لديك إنجازات في مجال الحوسبة عالية الأداء ، وسيرة ذاتية قوية ، بالإضافة إلى خطابات توصية إيجابية ، ليتم قبولك كمتطوع في المؤتمر”

(You need to be very active, have achievements, a strong resume, and positive recommendation letters to be accepted,) he explained.

“نموذج التقديم يتطلب منك التصميم و جهد كبير. حيث يتم اختيار ٢٠ طالب فقط من جميع المتقدمين للانضمام للبرنامج
, لذلك فإن المنافسة ولكنها ليست مستحيلة. لقد تم قبولي كمتطوع في البرنامج ، وكل عام يتم اختيار طلاب اخرين.”

(The application requires a lot of effort and determination. Only 20 students are selected into SCinet, so the competition is tough, though it is not impossible. I got in, and every year others get in.)

As part of his work on the wireless team for SCinet at SC19, Tanash learned how the team provides wireless network connectivity for conference workshops and tutorials, conference committee rooms, exhibit floor, hallways, and other public spaces. Like all SCinet student volunteers, he started his adventure with three days of laying a total of 66 miles of fiber. He then joined the wireless team led by Jeff Hagley, now a Campus Network Support Senior at the University of Michigan. The wireless team closely works with the Edge team to provide stable network connectivity throughout the conference. The SC19 Edge team was led by Angie Asmus, Interim Cybersecurity Team lead/ IT Security Analyst at Colorado State University, and co-lead by Carlos Rojas-Torres, Network Engineer, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Front Range Giga Pop (FRGP).

Initially, Tanash expressed was how much he enjoyed working with the wireless and Edge teams. He said they first had to “اتعلم كيفية العمل معا كمجموعة, و كيفية إجراءات العمل, و أيضا العمل ضمن جدول زمني محدد” (learn to work together, the procedures, and timetables.) He found the team leadership very effective.

“لقد تعلمنا كيفية انشاء الشبكات اللاسلكية و ضمان عملها بشكل كامل, بالإضافة الى فهم طريقة عملها بشكل كلي”

(They taught us how to implement the wireless and ensured that we did everything properly, all the while making sure we understood the reasoning for their choices,) Tanash noted.

“تعلمنا أيضا كيفية التعامل و اصلاح الأنظمة, و الجميع كان مستعد و متعاون لارشادنا و تعليمنا”

(We were also taught how to troubleshoot the systems. Everyone was always ready to help and teach us.)

Though he explained it was a very positive experience, Tanash said that it also was a bit challenging at times.

“يجب ان تكون متأكد و تضمن ان الجميع لديهم وصول لشبكة الانترنت”

(You want to make sure that everyone has access to internet,) he said.

It also was physically challenging as Tanash recalled one team member recorded taking 216,666 steps over 17 days—and yes that is slightly more than 95 miles!

Still, he emphasized the benefits of the hands-on experience.

“مجال البحث لدي هو مجال نظري, لكن المؤتمر هو تطبيق عملي, الطلاب في نفس حالتي لا يمتلكون الخبرة العملية في مجال الحاسب, لذلك المؤتمر يطور و يزيد كل من مهاراتي و فهمي كل على حد سواء. نحن نادرا ما تتاح لنا الفرصة لصقل مهاراتنا. و انا اؤمن ان اكتساب الخبرة العملية و اضافتها للسيرة الذاتية هو شيء مفيد و مميز. من خلال خبرتي بالمؤتمر, كنت قادرا على رؤية مجموعات العمل الأخرى و مشلركتهم العمل والتعلم منهم, و اذا كنت شخص محب للاطلاع فستجد الجميع متعاون لمساعدتك على فهم كيف يؤدون عملهم. بحيث تسطيع ان تطور من مهاراتك في جميع النواحي, بالإضافة الى انشاء علاقات عمل مع الخبراء في مجالك العلمي.”

(I am doing research, my work is theoretical, and at SC it is practical work. Students like me don’t get to experience the practical aspects of this field, which can improve our skill sets and overall understanding. We are rarely provided with the opportunity to blend these skills. I also believe that learning the practical aspects and adding these skills to your resume is very beneficial and unique. During the SCinet experience, I was able to see all the other teams, and I was able to collaborate with them. If you are curious, everyone will help you understand what they are doing. You can grow from all aspects and acquire a wide range of skills, as well as an extensive network.)

For many students, the SC experience is a great way to make connections, discover research, and meet people who work in common fields.

“لقد التقيت مع عدد كبير من الخبراء في مجالي العلمي (I met a lot of experts in my field,) Tanash said. لقد تلقيت عدد كبير من النصائح لكي أكون متأكدا انني على الطريق الصحيح و لقد ساعدتني هذه النصائح كثيرا في مجال بحثي” (Getting feedback and making sure I am on the right path has really helped me.)

During his time at SC, he also met Dirk Petersen, a researcher from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who proved to be very interested in Tanash’s work and offered to collaborate with his organization.

“المشاركة ما تزال قيد النقاش, ولكن انا متطلع للمضي قدما للعمل سوية”

(This is still pending, but we look forward to collaborating together,) Tanash said.

Being a student volunteer also provides full conference access. Tanash used that connectivity to attend the Doctoral Showcase, where he was able to see what other people were working on.

“الاطلاع على الأبحاث الأخرى فتحت لي المجال للتفكير”

(Seeing other research is also an eye-opener,) he explained.

“هنالك تستطيع انشاء علاقات عمل وتشارك العمل مع الخبراء في مجالك العلمي. هذا المؤتمر قبل كل شيء هو أرضية مثالية لتقديم أبحاثك وأفكارك و توضيحها وتبادلها.”

(There you can make connections, collaborate, and seek out collaborative opportunities. It is foremost, a perfect ground for presenting your research and ideas to elaborate and exchange.)

Still, Tanash has not reached all of his SC goals yet—he submitted a paper for SC19 that was not selected for presentation. He still expects that SC20 will change that with his submitted paper, Improving HPC System Performance by Predicting Job Resources via Supervised Machine Learning. And, once again, he applied to be a student volunteer and has high hopes to join as a SCinet student lead volunteer.


Inspired by Mohammed’s story? Apply to be an SC20 student volunteer. The deadline for applications closes June 26.

Christine Baissac-Hayden
SC20 Students@SC Communications Liaison (Easy English 4 All)

Christine Baissac-Hayden created Easy English 4 All, which provides multilingual communication tools for clients from diverse backgrounds in the renewable energy, medical, defense, marine science, and film industries. Easy English 4 All provides English as a Second Language (ESL), French, Spanish and Japanese tutoring from certified native-speaking teachers and organizes international student exchanges with personalized objectives and goals.

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