HPC Career Notes: July 2020 Edition

By Mariana Iriarte

July 1, 2020

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!


Luiz André Barrosso

Luiz André Barrosso, vice president of Engineering at Google, is the recipient of the 2020 Eckert-Mauchly Award for the design of warehouse-scale computing. The basis of his architectural vision was to think of a system comprehensively, intertwining the compute, storage, and networking components into a design.

The Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society co-sponsor the Eckert-Mauchly Award, named for John Presper Eckert and John William Mauchly. The award recognizes contributions to computer and digital systems architecture. Awardees receive a $5,000 prize.

Amber Boehnlein

Jefferson Lab’s Chief Information Officer Amber Boehnlein was promoted to associate director for the newly created division of computational sciences and technology. The new division consists of various information technology employees, including computing infrastructure, supercomputer systems, desktop support, cybersecurity, business systems, and the library. Before Jefferson Lab, Boehnlein led the Scientific Computing Applications Division at the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

“This is a recognition that computational science is a cornerstone of the nuclear physics research that we do at Jefferson Lab,” Boehnlein said. “The CST division includes a reorganization and additional staff that will strengthen the connection between computing at the lab and the other divisions, with computing as an equal partner.”

Evan Coleman

Dr. Evan Coleman received the Dr. Charles J. Cohen Award of Excellence for Science and Technology Award and the 2019 In-House Laboratory Independent Research Project of the Year Award. He was recognized for his notable contributions to parallel computing, specifically in developing fault-tolerant methods deployed on high performance computing clusters. Under the ILIR Project, Coleman was recognized for his research on the robustness of the parallel iterative algorithms.

“I hope that the research that led to this award can eventually be used in a practical way to help increase the productivity on high performance computing platforms,” Coleman said. “Especially when used on large-scale, high-fidelity simulations that can directly lead to an improved product for the warfighter.”

Cynthia Dwork

The Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on the Mathematical Foundations of Computing awarded the 2020 Donald E. Knuth Prize to Cynthia Dwork, a Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University and a distinguished scientist at Microsoft Research, for her contributions to theoretical computer science over the past 40 years. Her research has contributed to distributed systems, cryptography, and data privacy, and fairness in algorithmic decision making.

The Donald E. Knuth Prize is named in honor of Donald Knuth of Stanford University. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, in addition to a $1,000 travel stipend for Dwork to receive the award at the 61st Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science.

Ken Grohe

WekaIO appointed Ken Grohe as president and chief revenue officer. He will be responsible for the organization’s go-to-market strategy and reports to CEO and Co-Founder Liran Zvibel. Grohe has served leadership positions at Samsung’s Stellus Technologies, SignNow, Virident, and Dell EMC.

“I have watched Weka’s incredible growth since its launch from stealth in 2017, and I have a great appreciation for the work of the team to date,” Grohe said. “Time and time again, Weka has proven they are delivering a highly differentiated and disruptive storage technology—with an epic performance at any scale for customers with data-intensive workloads. Therefore, I am grateful to join the leadership team and to have the opportunity to leverage my experience and proven success in this industry to help Weka grow exponentially and soar to new heights.”

Sumit Gupta

Sumit Gupta was promoted to vice president of AI Strategy and chief technical officer of IBM’s Data & AI. He will be responsible for driving IBM’s company-wide AI strategy. He was promoted from his role as VP Products, AI, machine learning and HPC, cognitive systems, where he built a startup business and led IBM’s Cognitive Systems transformation into Enterprise AI and software, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“My expertise is centered around business and product management of software and systems products in the enterprise and data center markets,” Gupta said in his LinkedIn biography. “Previously, I was the GM of the AI & GPU accelerator products at NVIDIA, where I was central to building the business in deep learning and technical computing / HPC and creating a new market category for accelerated computing. I have been front and center of the deep learning (AI) market since the start, since GPUs are used by every startup and major web, mobile, and enterprise company using deep learning.”

Janne Ignatius and Philippe Lavocat

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe elected Dr. Janne Ignatius and Philippe Lavocat as the new chair and vice-chair, respectively. Ignatius is an adjunct professor and program director at CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. in Finland.  Lavocat is president and CEO of GENCI. He is also a delegate for France.

“PRACE is deeply grateful to Thomas Lippert for steering PRACE during the past two years as Council Chair,” Ignatius said. “As the new Chair, I will work for the benefit of PRACE, its members, and the European HPC ecosystem. We will work together and in fruitful collaboration with EuroHPC. PRACE continues to be of utmost importance in advancing science and industry in all areas where top-level HPC is the central instrument for research.”

Elise Jennings

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing tapped Dr. Elise Jennings for the role of senior computational scientist (Research Fellow). Jennings will be responsible for developing an exascale team as part of the European High Performance Computing Competence Centre for Ireland, which is managed by ICHEC.

“It is an exciting time for High Performance Computing (HPC) in science, and I look forward to working with ICHEC on developing the national EuroHPC competence centre,” Jennings said. “My work has focused on a broad range of data-intensive science domains such as cosmology, astronomy, high energy physics, and biology. These are active areas of development to exascale under the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. I am excited at the prospect of engaging Irish research groups and industries as they develop competitive proposals for EuroHPC resources and delivering HPC training for simulations and emerging scientific machine learning and deep learning methods. The significant investment the EU is making in this area more than hints at its future relevance for industry and science.”

Wally Liaw

Former co-founder of Super Micro Systems, Wally Liaw (Yih-Shyan Liaw) joins 2CRSi as president. Since the establishment of Supermicro, Liaw held the roles of corporate secretary and vice president of International Sales. He was also on the board of directors.

“I am very proud to join 2CRSi, which designs servers with proven performance and energy efficiency,” Liaw said. “With the integration of Boston Limited, the Group benefits from strong industrial and commercial fundamentals to establish itself as one of the leaders in its market. I am thrilled to engage in this new challenge.”

Bronson Messer

Bronson Messer was appointed as the new director of science for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. He will be responsible for the scientific conclusions of the OLCF’s user programs. Currently, at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Messer is a computational astrophysicist, Distinguished Scientist in the Scientific Computing and Theoretical Physics groups. He is also a former Jeopardy! Champion.

“Ultimately, we’re responsible for implementing systems, policies, platforms—the whole computational ecosystem that will actually allow people to get science done,” Messer said. “At the OLCF, this can mean science that’s primarily data-driven or uses AI or uses a large-scale simulation of big physical systems. I want to make sure that they’re all done at the requisite level of quality.”

Andrew Moloney

Andrew Moloney joins SoftIron Ltd. as vice president of strategy. He will be responsible for the company’s go-to-market planning and execution for SoftIron’s product portfolio and global presence. Before SoftIron, Moloney was the founder of his own firm over the past nine years. He was responsible for guiding and creating strategies for various technology businesses.

“Many organizations are at an inflection point in their architecture, as they consider the implications of hybrid cloud and edge computing in their future strategy,” Moloney said. “What SoftIron is doing is truly unique – taking leading open source software and building task-specific hardware platforms that redefine what’s possible in both performance and efficiency in deploying them. In the process, SoftIron is simplifying the ability for organizations to adopt open source based ‘software-defined’ architectures at scale. This will not only challenge traditional data center design, but will also change what’s possible at the edge. I am looking forward to helping drive the mission here.”

Sethuraman Panchanathan

Sethuraman Panchanathan was officially appointed as the National Science Foundation’s 15th director. As director, he aims to ensure inclusivity and continue leading the science and engineering community worldwide. Panchanathan started his career at Arizona State and established the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing.

“Right now, the world faces significant scientific challenges — most obviously a pandemic.” Panchanathan said. “But in addition to providing creative solutions to address current problems, our eyes are on the future, leveraging partnerships at every level and encouraging diversity that breeds new ideas for a robust pipeline of young scientists. It is only through that expansive perspective on the scientific and engineering enterprise that we can recognize the brightest ideas and nurture them into tomorrow’s world-class technological innovations.”

Craig Prunty

SiPearl announced the appointment of Craig Prunty as vice president of Marketing and Business Development.  Prior to SiPearl, Craig was the marketing director within Marvell Semiconductor’s server processors unit. He was also the associate director of EU Sales at Cavium.

He will be responsible for the positioning for the first-generation microprocessor for high performance computing applications that will be launched in 2022 as part of the European Processor Initiative project. The EPI project aims to develop a microprocessor for the European Exascale supercomputer.

Hasmukh Ranjan

Xilinx announced the addition of Hasmukh Ranjan under the role of chief information officer. He will be responsible for managing the company’s information technology group driving the IT strategy, systems, and processes.

Before Xilinx, Hasmukh built a 20-year career at Synopsys serving as CIO and corporate vice president leading the company’s IT department. He was awarded a “Top 500” supercomputing rank. Other notable accomplishments by Hasmukh include implementing the use of private cloud for engineering and a distributed processing library.

David Raun

One Stop Systems announced the appointment of David Raun as its new president and CEO. Since February 2020, Raun has served as interim CEO. He has also served on OSS’s board since 2016. Ruan has served as an audit committee chair and a member of the nominating committee. Before OSS, He was president and COO of ASSIA.

“I am excited to have this opportunity and look forward to continuing to work closely with our management team, talented employees and recently expanded board of directors,” said Raun. “While there is still much to do, over the last few months, we’ve made strong progress with our reorganization, expense reductions, and strengthening our balance sheet with additional working capital. Recent project wins, new orders, and industry-leading product launches highlight the tremendous opportunities ahead. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on increasing our market position while driving expanded margins, operational efficiencies, and shareholder value.”

Larry Smarr

Larry Smarr retired from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. He was the director of the institute and retired as a distinguished professor from the Jacobs School of Engineering’s Computer Science and Engineering Department. Dr. Ramesh Rao is stepping in as interim director of Calit2. He is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering and the director of the Qualcomm Institute.

Smarr started his career at UC San Diego in 2000. He was later selected to serve as director of Calit2. Smarr is credited with growing the two-campus Calit2 into a collaborative discovery system. Before UC San Diego, Smarr was a professor of Physics and of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Erich Strohmaier

Erich Strohmaier is retiring from Berkeley Lab. He started his career at Berkeley Lab in 2001 when he joined the Future Technologies Group, which was later renamed the Computer Languages & Systems Software Group. His first research position in HPC was at the University of Mannheim. His project focused on comparing the performance of several physics applications on a Fujitsu VP2600 supercomputer.

“I’m ready to do something else, and I think it’s better to do it sooner rather than later,” Strohmaier said. “I will remain an affiliate at the lab so I can maintain an academic connection, listening to talks, and maybe giving a presentation now and then.”

Strohmaier confirmed he will continue on with his leadership role as co-author of the Top500 list.

Umesh Vazirani, David Wineland, Margaret Williams, and Kenneth Brown

IonQ announced the additions of Umesh Vazirani, David Wineland, Margaret (Peg) Williams, and Kenneth Brown to its advisory team. Vazirani is a Roger A. Strauch Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the co-director of the Berkeley Quantum Computation Center.

David Wineland is a Nobel Laureate and Philip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair at the University of Oregon. Williams is the former senior vice president of Research and Development at Cray Inc. Lastly, Brown is an associate professor at Duke University within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Gerald Wang

Gerald “Jerry” Wang, a CMU assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was selected for the 2020 Frederick A. Howes Scholar in Computational Science Award. The Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship selection committee, including alumni and friends, selected Wang for his work in nanoscale fluid flows and for enlisting Post-it Notes in a morale-boosting project.

The Howes Award recognizes one or two recent fellowship alumni their research accomplishments and leadership, integrity, and character. It was named after Howes, manager of the DOE Applied Mathematical Sciences Program. In 1999, friends established the award. The Krell Institute of Ames, Iowa, manages the fellowship and oversees the Howes Award.

DOE Early Career Research Program Awardees at Argonne

Michael Bishof, Maria Chan, Marco Govoni, Alessandro Lovato, Bogdan Nicolae, and Stefan Wild were selected to receive funding for their work through the De­partment of Energy’s Early Career Research Program. They are among 73 scientists set to receive the award with approximately $500,000 per year for five years. The award delivers support to researchers during their early career years. Full a full description, click here.

“The Department of Energy is proud to support funding that will sustain America’s scientific workforce and create opportunities for our researchers to remain competitive on the world stage,” said DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. ​”By bolstering our commitment to the scientific community, we invest in our nation’s next generation of innovators.”

Learn about the 73 awardees and their research projects on the Early Career Research Program webpage.

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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