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Mark Snir

HPCwire's People to Watch 2012

Mark Snir

Mark Snir
Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory: co-PI, NCSA Blue Waters Project

The recent flurry of news last fall surrounding IBM’s departure from the 10-petaflop NCSA petaflop “Blue Waters” Project and Snir’s role as a co-PI for the project will share the focus of a lot of attention this year as the supercomputer nears its delivery date, slated for fall 2012. Combined with his role as a one of the original co-founders and as a co-chair for the relatively new Graph 500, all but guarantees that Snir will be a person of interest to follow this year.

Snir joined the Argonne National Laboratory as Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division last September. He also is Michael Faiman and Saburo Muroga Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Snir received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1979. In 1980-1982, he worked at NYU on the NYU Ultracomputer project, an early design for a large-scale shared-memory multiprocessor. He was also on the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1982 to 1986, before joining IBM Research.

At IBM, he led the Scalable Parallel Systems research group that developed the early software infrastructure for the IBM SP scalable parallel system and the IBM Blue Gene system. He joined the University of Illinois as head of the Computer Science Department in 2001; in 2008 he moved to head the newly created Illinois Informatics Institute.

A major contributor to the design of the Message Passing Interface; Snir authored much of the MPI1 and MPI2 text and continues to be involved in MPI3. His research has spanned parallel complexity, parallel algorithms, parallel architectures, interconnection networks, parallel languages and libraries and parallel programming environments.

Snir has the interesting distinction of holding Erdös number 2, and is a mathematical descendant of Jacques Salomon Hadamard. A proud father to 3 children, he is also an opera aficionado and until recently, was an active member of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation.

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