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Dona Crawford

HPCwire's People to Watch 2013

Dona Crawford

Dona Crawford
Associate Director for Computation, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL)

The old saying goes, it’s lonely at the top. Now that Sequoia has single-handedly put the US back on the map as the number one system in the TOP500, speculation abounds about what’s in store from Sequoia this year to fend off the fierce competition and retain the crown?

As Associate Director for Computation at LLNL, Crawford has her game plan in place. She oversees a formidable ‘dream team’ in the form of a staff of roughly 900 of the best and brightest who develop and deploy an integrated computing environment for petascale simulations of complex physical phenomena, such as understanding global climate warming, clean energy creation, biodefense, and non-proliferation. This environment includes high performance computers, scientific visualization facilities, high-performance storage systems, network connectivity, multi-resolution data analysis, mathematical models, scalable numerical algorithms, computer applications, and necessary services to enable Laboratory mission goals and scientific discovery through simulation. An icon for the computing environment provided is the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program’s BlueGene/Q Sequoia, which is recognized as among the fastest computers in the world.

Crawford has served on advisory committees for the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation. She is Co-Chair of the CRDF Global Board, Co-Chair of the Council on Competitiveness High Performance Computing Advisory Committee, and a member of IBM’s Deep Computing Institute’s External Advisory Board. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and participates in community outreach activities to promote math and science. Crawford holds a master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Redlands, California.

She is the first woman to be recognized as an ‘HPCwire People to Watch’ in 2002, and the only woman who has made the list twice. She was named 2005 Woman of the Year in Science in Alameda County, received the Computerworld Honors Award in 2006, and was also recognized by her undergraduate alma mater with the “Alumni Career Achievement Award” in 2012.

With humble beginnings, Crawford grew up in Indiana as the youngest of three girls and was the first in her family to go to college. With very few women role models to look up to, she paved her own unique path to the pinnacle of success she worked so hard for today. In her precious free time, fostering education, protecting the environment, volunteer work and giving back to the community remain a primary focus in her private life.

Dona’s Top 5 HPC initiatives or technologies to watch in 2013:

  • Power efficiency for HPC, for big data, and for the mobile market
  • Intel Xeon Phi vs. GPUs
  • Programming languages – for multi-core/multi-thread and domain specific languages for big data processing
  • High bandwidth memories
  • Industrial engagement

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