I was proud to work with Margaret and many collaborators over a rollercoaster last few days to help enable the now famous diversity statement at MICRO-50. As a woman, this issue touches my life intimately, and as SIGARCH chair, I strive to use the platform entrusted to me to make change. That is why I worked with Margaret et al. to drum up support for a long overdue public call to action. That is why I changed my plans and flew to Boston on Sunday night just so I could stand with Margaret and our community the next day. And that is why I need all of you who stood for, tweeted, and endorsed the diversity statement this week to stay engaged and work with us to make real change for all.
Our community is represented by four organizations: ACM SIGARCH (co-sponsor of ISCA and ASPLOS), ACM SIGMICRO (co-sponsor of MICRO), IEEE TCCA (sponsor of HPCA and co-sponsor of ISCA), and IEEE TCMicroArch (co-sponsor of MICRO).
SIGARCH does not sponsor the MICRO conference and has no purview on it. But what taints one organization taints us all. We must all work together to establish a common set of documented best practices and programs for the entire computer architecture community.
The SIGARCH executive committee is a working committee that strives to create an environment of openness and inclusivity for all. While outcomes remain imperfect, SIGARCH has long worked towards increasing diversity. We created a pioneering program for travel grants for childcare and supporting people with disabilities about 15 years ago. In 2008, SIGARCH adjusted the eligibility criteria for the Maurice Wilkes award to account for documented family-related or medical leaves from employment. We have been a significant sponsor of CRA-W’s grad cohort workshop. Just in the last two years we have started several new initiatives. We started the Computer Architecture Today blog, which has provided a platform for ongoing diversity discussions. We relaunched Women-In-Computer-Architecture (WICArch), led by Natalie Enright Jerger, as our subcommittee that will continue to keep diversity issues front and center. We started a mentoring program at our flagship conference where senior architects sign up to meet one-on-one with students to convey the welcoming and open environment we seek to foster. Our annual report describes the full range of our activities.
There is much more to be done. We call on our sister organizations to coordinate their efforts with SIGARCH’s efforts. We call on you to make your voices heard and get involved to make change.
Contact me at chair_SIGARCH@acm.org to tell me what concerns you and ask what you can do to help. If you hesitate to contact me, contact a friend but get your voice heard.
About the author: Sarita V. Adve is Richard T. Cheng Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently chair of SIGARCH, a member of the executive committee of the ACM SIG Governing Board, and a member of the board of the Computing Research Association. She is (distressed to be) the only woman to have received a major career award in computer architecture (Maurice Wilkes, a mid-career award, in 2008) and the first woman of South Asian origin to be named ACM Fellow (in 2010).