HPC Career Notes: May 2019 Edition

By Oliver Peckham

May 1, 2019

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ve got the details. Check in each month for an updated list and you may even come across someone you know, or better yet, yourself!


Ryan Adamson

Ryan Adamson, former senior high-performance computing (HPC) security engineer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), has been appointed group leader of the OLCF’s HPC Core Operations Group. In his new role, Adamson will manage the teams responsible for handling the network, cybersecurity, and infrastructure at the National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS).

“I’ve been at the crux of a lot of architectural design decisions that were managed across the division, and I’ve been able to determine whether certain systems or data were possible to bring in, from a security standpoint,” Adamson, who also previously served as the cybersecurity team’s task lead, said. “In that sense, I’ve always been a sort of gatekeeper.”

Mihai Anitescu

Mihai Anitescu has been named a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Anitescu is a senior computational mathematician in the Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) division at Argonne National Laboratory.  He also holds an appointment as a tenured professor in the Statistics Department at the University of Chicago.

“Mihai is an exceptional researcher whose research bridges computational science, applied mathematics, and statistics,” said Valerie Taylor, director of the MCS division. ​“His work has provided new scientific insights in domains including theoretical mathematics, uncertainty quantification, numerical optimization and applications in energy and the environment.”

Mark Braverman

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named Mark Braverman a recipient of this year’s Alan T. Waterman Award, which recognizes outstanding young researchers in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF. Braverman, Princeton University Professor of Computer Science, studies complexity theory, algorithms and the limits of what is computationally possible.

“Every year, every time a new concept comes up, there are more algorithmic questions,” Braverman said. “It’s a young field that is full of surprises. Algorithms are in every part of both the human and natural world, and understanding facts surrounding them is a basic quest — just like the quest of understanding facts about energy, matter or the various parts of the universe.”

Melissa Cragin

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has announced the appointment of Melissa Cragin as chief strategist for SDSC’s Research Data Services group. Cragin comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where she was executive director of the Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) since 2016.

“I am quite excited to join SDSC in this new capacity,” said a Cragin, who specializes in scientific and scholarly production and communication, data curation and stewardship, scientific data collections, and science policy. “There are multidimensional challenges for management, access, and use of research data across the data lifecycle, and I look forward to working with Christine and the RDS team to design resources and services, increase connectivity across the data ecosystem, and improve data access and reuse.”

Jennifer Dione

The NSF has also named materials scientist Jennifer Dione a recipient of this year’s Alan T. Waterman Award. Dionne, Stanford University Associate Professor of Materials Science, is developing techniques and tools to image dynamic physical, chemical and biological processes with extremely high resolution. Her research is enabling new knowledge to help solve global challenges in biomedicine, energy and computing.

“This project is especially exciting, spanning both fundamental and applied research with the potential for clinical impact,” Dionne said. “It draws on many of the physics and chemistry-based technologies my lab has developed, and has given me the opportunity to work alongside doctors, clinicians, and computer scientists. Beyond just detecting pathogens, we are eager to learn about how bacteria might be responding or evolving with various drug treatments or within distinct patient demographics.”

Mattia Gazzola

The NSF has named Mattia Gazzola a recipient of one of its annual NSF CAREER Awards. Gazzola is a Blue Waters Professor at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois. His work modeled “streaming” flows around small complex geometries and miniaturized robots.

“Medicine is a large application of this research in the future, but there are other applications in microfluidics,” said Gazzola. “If we can understand how geometry affects flow topology and streaming fields, you can imagine doing more efficient particle separation or micro-mixing, for example. This CAREER is really looking at some of these new phenomena that you can leverage with streaming, so it’s not necessarily targeted to an explicit application. It’s more fundamental.”

Kaiyu Guan

The NSF has also named Kaiya Guan a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award. Guan is also a Blue Waters Professor at NCSA, and is also an Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Guan used the Blue Waters system at NCSA to process satellite crop data and predict large-scale crop yield.

“I am very honored to be awarded the NSF CAREER Award. This award not only provides encouragements on the work that I’ve been doing, but also offers generous resources to realize more ambitious goals in my research, which is to model every individual field for its crop growth, water use, and nutrient cycles for the whole Corn Belt,” said Guan. “I am grateful for all the supports that NCSA provides, especially the Blue Waters and Blue Waters’s team. Without them, nothing would be possible.”

Joe Landman

Joe Landman is joining Cray as Director of Cloud Solutions and DevOps. In 2002, Landman founded Scalable Informatics, which built hardware and software defined big data appliances. After leaving Scalable Informatics in 2016, Landman joined Joyent as Senior Director of Product and founded Nlytiq, an HPC consulting company. He earned his M.S. in Physics from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in Computational Physics from Wayne State University. “I gotta say,” wrote Landman, “I’m quite excited about this!”

Claire Porter

Blue Waters researcher Claire Porter has received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) David Johnson Award for her work as project manager and lead developer of the ArcticDEM project. Porter and the ArcticDEM team use satellite imagery to create digital elevation models (DEMs) to map the Arctic, the Antarctic, and soon, the entire world.

“The Blue Waters team moved heaven and Earth for us to process our data on this supercomputer, even though it wasn’t designed for it,” said Porter, “they worked very hard to come up with a sub-scheduler to work in the larger ecosystem of a big job, so we always run in very efficiently. Otherwise, there is no way we could have achieved this goal in the timeframe we were given without Blue Waters and NSF.”

Thomas Schulthess

Thomas Schulthess, director of the Swiss National Supercomputing Center, CSCS, has received the 2019 Doron Prize for his outstanding achievements in the field of high-performance computing. The Foundation praised Schulthess as one of the most renowned Swiss and American scientists in the field of supercomputing.

Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thomas Schulthess studied physics at ETH Zurich and earned his doctorate in 1994. His research interests are focused on magneto electronics, nanoscience and transition metal oxide materials, as well as the application of supercomputing in these areas. Together with his team in Oak Ridge, he won the Gordon Bell Prize in 2008 and 2009.

Debora Sijacki

PRACE has named Dr. Debora Sijacki, Reader in Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Institute of Astronomy and Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom winner of 2019 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC for her outstanding contributions to and impact on HPC in Europe.

Sijacki focuses her work on computational astrophysics, especially studying galaxy formation, supermassive black holes, and hydrodynamical feedback processes. Her work directly showcases the importance of high performance computing for fundamental research in cosmology and astrophysics. She has achieved numerous high-impact results in astrophysics based on numerical simulations on state-of-the-art supercomputers.

Inder M. Singh

Arm has announced the appointment of Inder M. Singh as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Singh, who joins Arm from Unisys, will lead Arm’s global finance organization. Singh holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Engineering from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, in addition to an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“As CFO of Arm, I have a unique opportunity to help architect the future of one of the world’s most transformative technology leaders,” said Singh. “I believe Arm is the only company at the center of the convergence of Artificial Intelligence, 5G and IoT and I look forward to defining the financial strategy for its next era of growth.”

Andy Watson

WekaIO has announced that its CTO, Andy Watson, has been accepted into Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only community for CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. “We are honored to welcome Andy Watson, from WekaIO, into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils.

“I appreciate the mission of the Forbes Councils to provide a platform for senior leaders to share knowledge, wisdom, and expertise,” remarked Watson. “It’s a privilege to be accepted to the technology council and publish content under the Forbes brand.”


HPCwire would also like to congratulate the four PhD students who have been selected as Blue Waters Graduate Fellows.

  • Forrest Glines, Michigan State University, will study magnetohydrodynamic simulations of galaxies.
  • Josh Lansford, University of Delaware, will focus on electron density-based machine learning for accelerating quantum calculations.
  • Nicole Rosato, Rochester Institute of Technology, will address improved gauge conditions for binary black hole simulations.
  • Micheline Soley, Harvard University, will research the ultracold KRb dimer reaction.

The fellows will receive a year of support to advance their research, including a tuition allowance, a substantial stipend, an allocation of time on the Blue Waters system, and funds to support travel to the annual Blue Waters Symposium.


To read last month’s edition of Career Notes, click here.

Do you know someone that should be included in next month’s list? If so, send us an email at [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you.

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