HPC Career Notes: March 2021 Edition

By Mariana Iriarte

March 1, 2021

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!

Hannes Bernien

Assistant Professor Hannes Bernien from the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago was selected for the 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded annually to U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation, and research have the potential to make significant contributions to their fields. Bernien will utilize the two-year, $75,000 fellowship to scale quantum systems in both the number of qubits and the distance between qubits.

“The Sloan Fellowship is a wonderful recognition for my previous and current work, but also for the promise and potential for future work,” Bernien said. “It’s a highly regarded award that follows the wonderful tradition and line of researchers who have already received them. This tradition is really inspiring. The fellowship is flexible with how I spend the award,” he said. “So, I’d like to spend it trying out new ideas that are higher risk than what you would normally get funded. I have the freedom to be bold, to try something a little risky but highly promising.”

Joan Bienvenue

Joan Bienvenue was named the first executive director of the Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee. Bienvenue will also serve as a vice provost at UT. She comes from the University of Virginia, where she was senior executive director of the Applied Research Institute since June 2013.

“The opportunity to lead this partnership between a national research university and the country’s leading science and energy laboratory holds transformative potential,” Bienvenue said. “The institute is a truly visionary initiative that positions UT, ORNL and the state of Tennessee at the forefront of developing the research and talent required to lead the industries of the future. I can’t wait to get started.”

Arthur Bland

Arthur “Buddy” Bland has retired from his role as project director at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. During his time as project director, Bland delivered and deployed the Jaguar, Titan, and Summit supercomputers. All three were located at the OLCF, a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Out of the 36 years Bland spent at ORNL, 14 years were spent delivering the OLCF’s supercomputing systems. Bland was awarded the DOE Secretary’s Exceptional Service Award for his service to DOE and the nation delivering exemplary leadership in high-performance computing.

Edward Bortnikov, Ofer Bustin, Angela Restani, and Marius Tudor

Angela Restani, Marius Tudor, Ofer Bustin, and Edward Bortnikov have joined Pliops’ leadership team. Former senior director of research at Yahoo, Bortnikov, joined Pliops as its new VP of technology. Bortnikov will oversee the research and architecture of the next-generation products for Pliops. Bustin was appointed as the company’s chief operating officer. He brings 20 years of experience in operations, engineering, infrastructure building, methodologies, and execution.

Restani joined Pliops as vice president of marketing. She brings more than 20 years of experience holding executive leadership roles for tech companies, including Hedvig, Nutanix, DataEndure and Cancom US.  Lastly, Tudor joined as the VP of sales and business development at Pliops. He will manage the existing sales pipeline and developing new business opportunities and relationships.

Paul Dabbar

Former Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar has joined the Council on Competitiveness as a distinguished fellow. The Council is an organization that champions a competitiveness agenda for the United States to attract investment and talent and spur the commercialization of new ideas.

As Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science, Dabbar served as the Department’s principal advisor on fundamental scientific research in high energy and nuclear physics; advanced computing; fusion; biological and environmental research; and had direct management over many of DOE’s national labs that run data-intensive experiments. He held a leadership role in the COVID-19 HPC Consortium and had top-level involvement in the nation’s AI, quantum and supercomputing efforts. Prior to confirmation as Under Secretary for Science, Dabbar worked in operations, finance, and strategy roles in the energy sector.

Ken Denman

Ken Denman was elected to the VMware board of directors. Denman currently serves on the board of directors of Costco Wholesale, LendingClub and Motorola Solutions, where he is the lead independent director and chair of the nominating and governance committees. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and serves on the boards of the Foster School and the University of Washington Foundation.

“I am thrilled with the appointment to the VMware board,” said Denman. “VMware is a proven market leader that is continuing to evolve and is committed to helping its customers transform in these unprecedented times. I am pleased to join the team and contribute.”

Jeffrey Evans

Internet2 appointed Jeffrey G. Evans as its chief financial officer and treasurer. Evans will be responsible for developing financial strategies to facilitate the operation of Internet2. Serving as the treasurer for the Internet2 Board of Trustees, he will also oversee the financial resources for domestic and global activities.

Evans brings over 20 years in corporate finance. Most recently, he held the role of CFO at Columbus Regional Airport Authority. He was responsible for the company’s financial operations. He also held CFO positions with the Detroit Zoological Society, Stout Risius Ross, PMA Consultants, and Smith Group.

Fernanda Foertter

Fernanda Foertter has joined NextSilicon, a stealth HPC startup that is developing a novel computing chip, as its director of applications. Foertter joined from high-performance consulting practice Bioteam. Before Bioteam, she worked at Nvidia as global alliance manager for genomics HPC+AI. Prior to Nvidia, she spent six years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as an HPC data scientist.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to create a collaborative and supportive environment, like the one I experienced at BioTeam, with my own team. I’m even more excited to be part of the Next evolution in HPC architecture at NextSilicon. I’m one lucky nerd,” said Foertter on Twitter. “The great thing about HPC is that even when we leave we are never far away from one another. So, it’s not a goodbye but a see you later. Thanks BioTeam for everything, we accomplished so much in 2020 despite a raging pandemic and the future of the republic at balance.”

Rick Franke, Helen Protopapas, and Tom Whaley

VAST Data, a storage solutions provider, appointed Rick Franke as its vice president of global customer success, services and support; Helen Protopapas as its VP of finance; and Tom Whaley as its VP of sales. Franke will be responsible for growing VAST’s customer experience. He comes from VMware, where he held the role VP of global customer services and support.

Protopapas will be responsible for the company’s financial operations. Protopapas comes from the Ringier Group, where she served as divisional CFO. As VP of Sales, Whaley will oversee VAST’s initiatives in customer adoption. Whaley has more than 20 years of experience focusing on Fortune 50 customers.

Jennifer Granholm

Jennifer M. Granholm has been sworn in as the 16th Secretary of Energy, becoming the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. Before nomination, she was the first woman elected Governor of Michigan, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011.

“I am humbled by the faith President Biden has placed in me to lead this incredible team at the Department of Energy,” said Secretary Granholm. “DOE is powered by brilliant scientists, engineers, and energy policy experts who are the very best for the job we’ve been tasked with: to develop and deploy new clean energy technologies that will achieve the Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and secure our nation’s future. I am so ready to work alongside them as we kickstart America’s clean energy revolution, create millions of good-paying union jobs, and deliver benefits to American workers and communities across the nation.”

Sumit Gupta

Sumit Gupta has joined Google as senior director of the company’s machine learning infrastructure division. Gupta will be responsible for the product management for Google’s internal ML infrastructure. He comes to Google from IBM, where he held the role of vice president of artificial intelligence strategy and chief technology officer of the company’s data and AI division. He was responsible for driving company-wide strategy and execution plans for leadership in AI. Before IBM, he held the role of general manager for the GPU Accelerated Data Center Computing division at Nvidia.

Andy Jassy

Amazon announced the promotion of Andy Jassy to the role of chief executive officer. Jassy, who joined Amazon in 1997, steps up to the role of CEO from his current CEO role for Amazon Web Services. He will replace Jeff Bezos, who is stepping down to become the company’s executive chair in its board of directors.

During his tenure as CEO of AWS, Jassy helped grow the business unit grow since it was established as the infrastructure that would drive and fuel what would become the retail giant. He is also a minority owner of the Seattle Kraken and the National Hockey League.

Rob Mains

CHIPS Alliance, a leading consortium advancing common and open hardware for interfaces, processors and systems, has appointed Rob Mains as its executive director. Mains brings over 35 years of experience in software engineering and development, with 25 years of experience as an EDA software architect focused on microprocessor design and advanced process node technologies.

“As more companies are looking to open source solutions to help eliminate design barriers, reduce costs and speed up development time, the CHIPS Alliance will play a critical role in advancing open hardware for the benefit of everyone,” said Mains. “I look forward to working closely with CHIPS Alliance members to continue the organization’s goals, while also focusing on growing the membership base.”

Margaret Martonosi

The National Academy of Engineering has elected Professor Margaret Martonosi as part of the Class of 2021 for her contributions to power-aware and power-efficient computer architectures and mobile systems. She is among 106 new members and 23 international members.

Martonosi is the Hugh Trumbull Adams ’35 Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where she has been on the faculty since 1994. She is also a fellow of IEEE and ACM. Her papers have received awards, including the 2015 ISCA Long-Term Influential Paper Award, 2017 ACM SIGMOBILE Test-of-Time Award, 2017 ACM SenSys Test-of-Time Paper award, and the 2018 HPCA Test-of-Time Paper award.

Amy Medeiros

DDN, provider of data-storage systems, has appointed Amy Medeiros as its senior vice president of corporate marketing and inside sales. Medeiros will be responsible for DDN and Tintri’s marketing and sales initiatives to increase channel partners’ profitability and enhance their value to customers.

“DDN and Tintri, alike, are at the forefront of innovation with broad portfolios of Intelligent Infrastructure solutions that enhance the value of data while decreasing the cost to manage it – in virtually every sector and at any scale,” said Amy Medeiros, senior vice president, corporate marketing and inside sales, DDN. “Building on a successful year, I’m thrilled to continue the momentum in arming partners with the technology, tools and support they need to help customers drive out infrastructure complexity and inefficiency and benefit from accelerated time to value with simplified and smart data management.”

Céline Merlet

Dr. Céline Merlet has been named the winner of the 2021 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC for her substantial impact on HPC in Europe. Merlet is a CNRS researcher from the Centre Inter-universitaire de Recherche et d’Ingénierie des Matériaux in Toulouse, France. She is also active in the “Femmes & Sciences” association, which promotes women in science and technology.

“I am very happy that my research work has now been honored with the PRACE Ada Lovelace Award, also because it resonates with my commitment to inspire girls and young women for science,” said Merlet.

Brian Moynihan

The Council on Competitiveness has appointed Brian Moynihan as its chairman of the board. Moynihan has served as the Council’s vice chair for industry and co-chair of its flagship initiative, the “National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers.”

“I am honored to lead the Council on Competitiveness and its accomplished and diverse network of leaders at this critical time for our country,” Moynihan said. “As we emerge from the twin trials of the health and economic crisis, the nation is already facing a range of new challenges and opportunities that will define our future for the next fifty years. The United States has been a peerless incubator of ideas for the past century, but we must be even more creative in building a future that is focused more on the power of diversity, inclusivity and innovation for all.”

Dan Olds

Dan Olds

HPC industry analyst Dan Olds has joined HPC analyst firm Intersect360 Research as chief research officer. Olds comes to Intersect360 Research from OrionX, where he was a partner, analyst, and consultant for the HPC/AI market. Olds is widely known in the community for heading up Gabriel Consulting group for two decades and for his deep involvement with the Student Cluster Competition. He previously has led teams at IBM, Sun Microsystems and Cray.

“I’m really excited to work with Addison [ie Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research] and the rest of the Intersect360 team,” said Olds. “As an industry analyst, I’ve been admiring their reputation for generating highly reliable data and usable insights for their clients for more than a decade now. I’m really looking forward to furthering the mission to discover and interpret HPC/AI industry trends.”

Stuart Parkin

Stuart Parkin, director at MPI of Microstructure Physics, was awarded the King Faisal Prize for Science 2021 for his discoveries and innovations in the field of spintronics. Parkin’s inventions enabled the capabilities to increase the data density on hard disks by a factor of 1,000. With his research on thin magnetic layers, he created the basis at IBM on which the company developed a new read-and-write-head for hard disks.

“Our goal is to develop components that work with spins or ions, for example, for technology beyond today’s microelectronics,” said Parkin. “But it can take ten to twenty years from the discovery of a new physical phenomenon to its technical implementation. I think it’s important to have a long-term view when investing in science, to be able to do exciting research that seems unlikely or impossible.”

Keshab Parhi

Keshab Parhi,  professor at Minnesota Supercomputing Institute’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department, has been named as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the highest professional honor given to academic inventors. Parhi, who holds 31 U.S. patents,  will be inducted into the NAI at the group’s annual meeting in June. He is best known for pioneering research in digital signal processing, image processing, and communications systems.

“About 25 years ago, Dr. Cliff Lau, my then program director at the Office of Naval Research, mentioned to me that, in addition to writing papers, I should think about patenting some of my work—that was excellent advice,” Parhi said. “I am pleased that the National Academy of Inventors has elected me as a Fellow in recognition of my efforts in patenting and training Ph.D. students in patenting.”

Stefano Pironio

Cambridge Quantum Computing appointed Dr. Stefano Pironio as its scientific advisor on quantum cryptography. Pironio is a Fund for Scientific Research senior research associate at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he completed his Ph.D. in Physics.

Pironio has held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology, the Institute of Photonic Sciences, and the University of Geneva. He is well known for his work on deriving one of the earliest security proof of device-independent quantum key distribution and his contributions to the first experimental demonstration of device-independent quantum random number generation.

Naveen Rao

Naveen Rao has joined NeuReality’s board of directors. Rao was the chief executive officer at deep-learning startup Nervana Systems, which Intel acquired in 2016. He joined Intel as part of the acquisition, but parted ways in February 2020, not long after Intel’s purchase of Habana Labs, which made similar AI chip technology.

“After seeing so many AI companies focusing on deep learning accelerators at the device level, NeuReality intrigued me with their refreshing view of overall AI deployment barriers and their unique systems-level approach that will eclipse today’s outdated data center architecture,” said Rao. “NeuReality’s innovative design solves AI scalability and cost challenges.”

Todd Ruff, Brian Reed and Richio Aikawa

Panasas announced three new hires, bringing 70-plus years combined experience to HPC storage leader’s management team. Todd Ruff, vice president of marketing, and Brian Reed, vice president of product and alliances, have joined the company’s senior management team. Richio Aikawa has also joined Panasas as director of vertical solutions, a key role as the company looks to expand its focus for financial services, trading and manufacturing customers. All three executives will report to Chief Operating Officer Brian Peterson.

“Our current growth trajectory, coupled with the addition of three great senior leaders, reflects today’s demand for an enterprise-grade, high-performance computing experience,” said Peterson. “Todd and Brian are exemplary leaders who will help expand our diverse customer base – a base whose diversifying workloads increasingly requires adaptable HPC storage solutions. Richio meanwhile will leverage his expertise in critical industries to help us create a stronger set of vertical solutions.”

The Department of Energy Secretary’s Honor Awards

The Department of Energy announced the recipients of the 2020 Secretary’s Honor Awards, which recognizes DOE employees and contractors for their service and contributions to the Department’s mission and the benefit of the nation. A total of 32 Honor Awards were granted across a 24 teams and eight individuals based on accomplishments from 2019, including for work mobilizing high-performance computing to combat the pandemic.

Thirty-two Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) employees were named among the teams that received awards, including Daniel Jacobson (computational systems biologist) and Gina Tourassi (director, NCCS and OLCF) for their work on the COVID-19 Insights Partnership Team. Also recognized were Bronson Messer (director of science, OLCF), Tjerk Straatsma (manager of the scientific computing group in the NCCS) and Tourassi (again) for involvement in the High Performance Computing Resource Team.

The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory received the honor for six groups that included 17 scientists, engineers and other staff. Michael Papka (director of the ALCF as well as director of Northern Illinois University’s Data, Devices, and Interaction Laboratory) and Katherine Riley (director of science at the ALCF) were recognized as part of the High-Performance Computing Resource Team.

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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