This is a contributed post by participants in the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC) Unconference.
This November, almost 40 engineers, data scientists, and open source enthusiasts got together for NumFOCUS’s first Diversity and Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC) Unconference. This is one event of many that DISC puts on — all in the service of creating a more diverse data science community.
The DISC Unconference mission is to equip participants to create a more inclusive open source scientific computing community by generating practical and scalable solutions, identifying best practices, and sharing knowledge. Participation in the Unconference was free, and financial support was offered to participants wherever possible.
This was the first Unconference experience for many, so we’ll take a moment to explain what an Unconference is. While each Unconference is unique, they share the fact that their agendas are constructed by the participants.
In the weeks leading up to our Unconference, participants chatted on video calls and posted on Unconference forums to brainstorm topics of interest. When we arrived on Wednesday morning, armed with pens and sticky notes, we pooled all our ideas, and eventually distilled them down to seven project groups. Over the two day Unconference, each group worked to concretely articulate the problem they are addressing and produce something tangible to help address that problem. This could be a tool, a collection of resources, or a study of the current landscape. Working sessions were punctuated by lightning talks, check ins, and of course some tas