Women in HPC: Beatriz Martinez Montesinos
02 November 2020

ChEESE proudly announces that two female researchers will present their work in the lightning talk session of the Women in HPC Workshop at SC20 on 11 November 2020. Get to know them! In these interviews Marisol Monterrubio-Velasco and Beatriz Martinez Montesinos introduce themselves and their work and share what being a woman in HPC means for them.

Beatriz Martinez Montesinos

Volcanic Hazard Assessment Technologist at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV)

What is your motivation for pursuing your research?

I was never interested in computers. I liked mathematics, physics, Earth sciences, etc. Due to life circumstances, I worked for many years as a computer programmer in the information technology sector as a way of making a living and because I was not bad at it. When I decided to change my career path, I looked for a way to combine both my passion and my experience and I discovered that informatics is fundamental in all areas of research. In particular, applying computing in the field of volcanology is not only fascinating but necessary for our safety, which is a great motivation for me. 

What would you have done if you were not a researcher? 

Before starting in the computer world, during my studies, I sewed clothes, bags and things like that. It is a hobby that I have always had and perhaps it could have become a profession. 

Have you encountered any challenges as a woman in pursuing your research career? 

As a mother, the great challenge is to start from scratch every time I change country to join a new project, with all that that entails: looking for a house, for schools and adapting ourselves to new situations. But I am lucky that my children love to visit new countries and learn new languages, so each change appears as a new adventure for us. My daily challenge is to reconcile work and family life, that is why I always have a process running in parallel in my brain trying to arrange my day to day. On the other hand, this dedication generally does not require a rigid schedule and workplace, so it helps me get organised. 

What do you do within the ChEESE project? 

I am part on the team that is developing the pilot demonstrator number 6 (PD6) in the field of the Physical Volcanology. From the history of the volcano, probabilistic studies and monitoring data, we are using HPC to update current tools for the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Assessment in terms of ash dispersal and we are applying it to Campi Flegrei in Italy and Jan Mayen in Norway. 

How do you like it so far? 

The ChEESE project is amazing, loads of experts from different disciplines working hand-in-hand to solve important computational challenges in Earth Sciences. I am happy to be part of it. 

Do you have any advice for young researchers who would like to follow in your footsteps? 

I would advise them not to set limits, either personally or professionally, and that regardless of the discipline in which they operate, consider HPC as a powerful tool to advance their research. 

What does being a woman in HPC mean to you? 

There are few women in HPC. Much remains to be done until all women have the same rights, freedoms and opportunities as men. As we achieve that, more women will study, more women will  be researchers and more women will be interested in HPC. In my work I do not have the consciousness of being a woman, I am simply one more person on the team. 

Watch the presentation here