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John West

HPCwire's People to Watch 2012

John West

John West
Director, Department of Defense, High Performance Computing Modernization Program

Recently appointed to his new position, expectations are high that West is likely to make dramatic changes in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) role as a provider, not just of commercially available hardware and software, but also to help drive requirements for future R&D to serve the DoD in the future. This will mark a dramatic change in the way the program has operated in the past, and could potentially result in bringing a new player in to the forefront of HPC.

West is director of the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program, a DoD-wide program that provides high performance computing expertise, computing, storage, and communications resources for the Defense science, engineering, and test communities. He also serves as special assistant for High Performance Computing to the Director, Information Technology Laboratory at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). West has held a number of positions in private industry and the federal government, including a tour as director of the Scientific Computing Research Center at ERDC, and 5 years as director of the ERDC DoD Supercomputing Resource Center, at the time one of the 20 largest supercomputing centers in the world.

West began his career in scientific visualization and virtual reality, and moved on to work in scalable parallel algorithm development. In addition to other awards his computational work has been awarded the Department of the Army’s R&D Award. He is a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, a continuing member of the organizing committee for SC and the HPCC Newport conference series, a member of the editorial board of Computing in Science and Engineering, a member of ACM and Senior Member of IEEE, a founding officer of the ACM Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC), a Distinguished Fellow of the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University, and is 3 term chair of the External Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Mississippi State.

West has written extensively on high performance computing, technology, and leadership for a variety of industry and technical publications with a focus on increasing awareness of, and access to, high performance computing.

It’s also interesting to note that West was captured early on for his career in HPC while still an undergraduate through a student intern program in a DoD lab, and he continues to be an advocate for these types of recruitment programs today. Married to his high school sweetheart, West is the proud father of three beautiful children.

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