CompArch Mentoring


About the Program

Who is Computer Architecture Long-term Mentoring (CALM) for?

CALM primarily supports researchers and engineers in (or at least highly related to) the community of Computer Architecture. For more details, please check out mentor/mentee FAQs.

How long is “long”?

Mentorships last one year (the pilot program lasts 6 months), with mentors and mentees meeting on (approximately) a monthly basis.

How does CALM differ from other programs in the Computer Architecture community?

The existing programs in our committee tend to either cover certain groups of people, such as minority groups (e.g., CWIDCA), undergraduate students who have just started Computer Architecture research (e.g., uArch), and early-year Ph.D. students (e.g., yArch), and/or happens only during a conference (e.g., MaSA/MaSS). As our past research has shown, the majority of program attendees would prefer longer-term mentoring. This is the main motivation behind CALM. Different from the existing programs, CALM will last across multiple conferences through its one-year duration (typically four major conferences in our community).

How is the signup information managed?

CALM takes special care to manage and protect personal information of both the mentors and the mentees. Only the CALM committee has access to any information collected. If you have specific concerns, feel free to contact the co-chairs.

I am interested in contributing to the committee of CALM. How can I join?

We always welcome new committee members. If you are interested, please reach out to the co-chairs.

Starting the Mentorship

How can I signup as a mentor or mentee?

The signup information is available on our participate page.

Can I sign up as both a mentee and a mentor?

Yes, you are welcome to do so! For example, a senior Ph.D. student can be a mentor for junior students, and at the same time, be a mentee of a more senior person in our community.

For Mentors

Who are the targeted mentors?

We welcome mentors from different backgrounds, including (but not limited to) faculty members, industry researchers and engineers, and senior Ph.D. students (e.g., 4th-year and above). Our matching process will take the mentor’s position, expertise, and desired topic into account.

Who will I be potentially mentoring?

Mentors may come from various backgrounds, including (but not limited to) undergraduate, master's, and Ph.D. students, as well as industry engineers. You may specify the type of mentees in the mentor sign-up form.

As a mentor, what amount of load should I expect?

During sign-up, we let mentors select the desired meeting frequency, such as once a month, once every two months, or quarterly. We expect each meeting to be half an hour to one hour. Even though this program is long-term, we expect a minimum load from the mentor’s side in each meeting.

What I can do to best support my mentee?

We will encourage your mentee to proactively reach out to you, schedule meetings, and lead the discussions. We would appreciate it if you can answer mentees’ questions, including both research questions and non-technical questions for personal development. Please also note that the research track is not intended to let the mentee work as a research intern or volunteer for the mentor.

I found my mentee is not responding. What should I do?

If you find your mentee is not responding after several emails. You may reach out to us. We are here to help maintain this mentoring relationship. If you have any other concerns or issues regarding this mentorship, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

I found I can no longer support my mentees (or cannot support all the current mentees). What should I do?

We totally understand that you may have limited time. We encourage you to reach out to your mentee first and let them know that you have limited availability (or other reasons). Then, please let us know so that we can keep track of the mentoring status.

Do I need to list my mentee as potential conflicts of interest (e.g., paper review)?

We encourage the mentor and mentee to reach an agreement on whether or not to mark each other as potential conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest highly depend on the scenarios and interactions between the mentor/mentee. Please refer to the specific guidelines outlined by the conference/journal/funding body/etc.

For Mentees

Who are the targeted mentees?

Our program aims to support mentees from diverse backgrounds. Targeted mentees are primarily students who are interested in (or currently involved in) Computer Architecture research and industry researchers/engineers who work in areas related to Computer Architecture. In the future, we also aim to support junior faculty in our community.

I already have an advisor (e.g., Ph.D. thesis advisor), can I still sign up for the research track mentorship as a mentee?

Yes, the research track does not conflict with your current research. Instead, it aims to assist you, in aspects such as brainstorming, getting industry vision, and having feedback on your current ideas. Nonetheless, we would still encourage you to inform your advisor.

What I can do to make the most out of this mentorship?

This mentorship is not intended to be an intern-like relationship (if you sign up for the research track). Instead, the goal is to assist your research, by means of brainstorming, getting industry insights, taking feedback on your current project, etc. During the mentorship, we highly encourage mentees to actively lead the communication, such as reaching out to the mentor and asking for a schedule that works for both. For each meeting, we encourage you to be well-prepared to best benefit from each meeting (e.g., prepare a set of slides and/or questions for discussion).

I joined the research track. What should I expect?

The research track aims to help the mentee get feedback on the current project, brainstorm new ideas, and/or get new ideas from a mentor in related areas or the industry. Please note that mentors and mentees should reach a mutual agreement about the responsibilities and expectations. In general, the types of things mentees likely cannot expect on include: explicit research advice about their projects, reading the mentees research paper drafts, etc. Some PhD mentors might be willing to do so.

I joined the personal development track. What help should I expect from my mentor?

The personal development track covers non-technical aspects, such as graduate school application, industry or academia job hunting, career planning, family planning, concerns as a member of an underrepresented group. If you are seeking help in this track, please be specific about your needs to help our committee find a best-fit mentor.

I found my mentor is not responding. What should I do?

First of all, please understand that mentors are usually senior researchers who are usually very busy. If you find your mentor is not responding after several emails, you may reach out to us. We are here to help maintain this mentoring relationship. If you have any other concerns or issues regarding this mentorship, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

I would like to end my mentorship earlier (e.g., found a job). What should I do?

We encourage you to reach out to your mentor first and let him/her know that you no longer need a mentor. Then, please let us know so that we can keep track of the mentoring status.

What if I found my mentor is not a good fit?

Please reach out to us if this happens. We will help with communication and try to match you with another mentor.

I signed up for this program but have not been matched with a mentor yet. What should I expect next?

The CALM committee matches mentees with mentors according to their preferences. If you have not been matched, it does not mean we forgot about you! You will be placed on a waitlist. We are always checking the list to see if any new mentor signups could be a good match.

If you have other questions, feel free to reach out to us using the contact page!