NERSC Announces 4th Annual HPC Achievement Award Winners

By John Russell

March 23, 2016

Earlier this week the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) announced the five winners of the 2016 High Performance Computing (HPC) Achievement Awards. The awards recognize NERSC users who have demonstrated an innovative use of HPC resources to solve a scientific problem or whose work has had an exceptional impact on scientific understanding or society.

To encourage younger scientists who are using HPC in their research, NERSC also issued two early career awards. “While many of NERSC’s users are longtime users who have a consistent record of accomplishment, it’s important that we also acknowledge the innovative work of those in the formative years of their work, as evidenced by our Early Career award winners,” said Richard Gerber, NERSC Senior Science Advisor. “These young researchers are the future of science and they bring new ideas, new perspectives and new energy to their chosen fields.”

NERSC 2016 Award for High Impact Science: Open

  • Charles Koven and William Riley of Berkeley Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division and David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research were honored for their role in using an Earth system model to demonstrate the atmospheric effect of emissions released from carbon sequestered in melting permafrost soil. Running simulations on NERSC’s Hopper system, the team demonstrated that thawing permafrost releases enormous amounts of long-frozen carbon into the atmosphere—more than carbon taken by plants.
  • Scott French
    Scott French

    Former Berkeley Lab computational scientist Scott French was honored in for his role in helping seismologists create a unique 3D scan of the Earth’s interior that resolved some long-standing questions about mantle plumes and volcanic hotspots. Working with Barbara Romanowicz, a professor of earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley, French (who now works for Google) ran a number of simulations at NERSC, producing for the first time a computed tomography scan that conclusively connects plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle with surface hotspots that generate volcanic island chains like Hawaii, Samoa and Iceland.

NERSC 2016 Award for High Impact Science: Early Career

  • Nathan Howard, a research scientist at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center was recognized for his pioneering computational work in plasma turbulence simulations. In particular, Howard, who was a postdoc at the University of California, San Diego until joining MIT in 2015, carried out the most physically comprehensive simulations of tokamak plasma microturbulence to date, according to Christopher Holland, associate research scientist in the Center for Energy Research at UCSD, who nominated Howard.
  • Min Si
    Min Si

    Min Si, a graduate student from the University of Tokyo who is working at Argonne National Laboratory, was honored for pioneering work in developing novel system software in the context of MPI­3 one­sided communication. This software has had a transformative impact on the field of computational chemistry by completely eliminating the need for custom ports of global arrays, according to Jeff Hammond, a research scientist in the Parallel Computing Lab at Intel Labs, who nominated Si for the award.

Here is a link to the full article on this year’s awards, which were announced at the annual NERSC User Meeting: https://www.nersc.gov/news-publications/nersc-news/nersc-center-news/2015/nersc-announces-4th-annual-hpc-achievement-award-winners/

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