Jon Bashor Retires After 27 Years of Service to National Labs

April 9, 2018

April 9 — The way he tells it, Jon Bashor fell into a science communications career when he landed a job at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1991. But talk to him a bit more and it becomes clear why he stayed for nearly three decades. He fell in love—with the science, the people and the mission of the national labs.

“What really struck me was the intellectual capital,” said Bashor. “Thousands of smart people working on amazing projects, it can be overwhelming, but it’s really inspiring. The stuff they come up with is mind boggling.”

Jon Bashor accepts a 2017 Berkeley Lab Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement from Associate Lab Director Kathy Yelick.

On April 6, Bashor retires after 27 years with the national lab system, 21 of those at Berkeley Lab promoting computing, networking and mathematics.

“As communications manager, Jon has been key to the visibility of Berkeley Lab’s computing program, both through written articles and other material produced by Jon and his team and his community leadership—including several years of organizing the DOE booth at SC, the annual supercomputing conference,” said Associate Lab Director Kathy Yelick.

“Beyond that, he has been very active in outreach and community building, not only with local high schools, but also within the lab itself, creating STEM workshops for kids, creating and co-chairing an employee resource group to advocate for a more accessible campus and much more,” Yelick continued.

For his career-long efforts, Bashor was recently recognized with a 2017 Berkeley Lab Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement.

“I love this job. I love the people. I’m just tired of coming to work everyday,” chuckles Bashor, who intends to step up his volunteer work with Kennedy High School’s IT Academy, the Friends of El Cerrito Library and the Turnabout thrift shop after retirement. “There might also be some days I just stay home and pet my cat,” he said.

Tam difficile non debet

Bashor was hired at Berkeley Lab in 1997 by then NERSC Director Horst Simon. During the job interview, he recounts, Simon asked him to name one important thing that happened in high-performance computing (HPC) over the last year. Bashor, who still describes himself as “the least technical person in the room,” could only summon up the recent death of HPC pioneer Seymour Cray, of Cray Computer fame. That was enough to seal the deal, “because nobody else [applying for the job] could come up with even that,” he laughed.

But technical knowledge isn’t what made Bashor successful, said Simon: “He is a keen and witty observer. That’s what made him successful as a communicator,” and a lot of fun to work with.

It was Simon who encouraged Bashor to keep a “book of quotes,” funny (sometimes Dilbertian) utterances encountered in the line of duty. Simon shared one of his own: “It’s nobody’s responsibility, so it becomes everybody’s panic.” In the same spirit, Bashor also jokingly signs all his emails “Tam difficile non debet,” schoolboy Latin for “It shouldn’t be that difficult.”

Still, Bashor has taken his role as an advocate for the national labs very seriously. In 2016, he was asked to organize the computing portion of National Lab Day, an educational expo held for Congress, where he was photographed in the rear of a group with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz: “I think that particular photo reflects the nature of our job: to work behind the scenes and help researchers—or a DOE secretary—to be recognized for their work,” Bashor said.

Personal Connections

Some of Bashor’s most enduring contributions, however, come from the many personal connections he’s made at the lab and beyond.

His collaboration with Kennedy High School’s IT Academy, for instance, has grown from offering NERSC tours and resume-writing advice into daylong “big data” workshops that give kids from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds exposure to STEM careers.

“That’s worth a lot, because you can’t imagine going to college and having an IT career when everyone you know goes to work after high school,” said Jose Sierra.

He should know. Sierra was one of those Kennedy High kids introduced to the lab by Bashor. After working at the lab as a summer intern, then as a part-time computer systems engineer, Sierra recently graduated San Francisco State University with a computer engineering degree and accepted a full-time position in operations at NERSC.

Not only did Bashor help Sierra make the right contacts to land that first internship, but “when I had my doubts about being able to perform at a professional level, Jon kept encouraging me to believe in myself and pursue a higher education,” said Sierra. “My career started because of Jon’s friendliness and his belief in me.”

Another friendship, with Sandia computer scientist Jeanine Cook, opened Bashor’s eyes to physical accessibility issues and inspired him to help start an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to improving accessibility at the lab. Cook, in turn, helped launch the ERG with a well-received talk given with Bashor in interview format.

Then there are the just-plain-fun connections. Bashor coaches a Berkeley co-ed softball team that grew out of a lab softball league team more than 15 years ago. “We are competitive, but we’re not jerks about it,” he said of his Diamond Dogs (only Bashor recalls it was named after a David Bowie LP). After the games, everyone retires to Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub for pies and brews where Bashor has, naturally, made friends of the staff and manager.

“I like making connections and I think I’m good at it,” said Bashor. Judging by his post-retirement plans, he’s going to keep on doing what he’s good at.

For starters, he’s serving as communications chair for Friends of El Cerrito Library and the Turnabout thrift store, which funds dental and orthodontia care for East Bay kids in need. He’s also developing a study module for the Kennedy High School IT Academy. And, for all our sakes, let’s hope he keeps on making big, delicious batches of plum jam to share.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy’s research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.


Source: Berkeley Lab

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Azure Benchmarks HC-series across 20,000 cores for HPC

June 25, 2019

Cloud provider Microsoft Azure’s push into HPC continues to gain momentum. In a blog last week, Evan Burness, principal program manager, Azure HPC, announced HC-series Virtual Machine are now available in West US 2 and Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf Expands Toolset; Launches Inferencing Suite

June 24, 2019

MLPerf today launched a benchmark suite for inferencing, v0.5, which joins the MLPerf training suite launched a little over a year ago. The new inferencing benchmark, which has been anticipated, covers models applicable Read more…

By John Russell

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – and now, Tom Coughlin (on behalf of Supermicro) has provided a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

For decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Avoid AI Redo’s by Starting with the Right Infrastructure

Do you know if you have the right infrastructure for AI? Many organizations don’t have it. In a recent IDC survey, “77.1% of respondents say they ran into one or more limitations with their AI infrastructure on-premise and 90.3% ran into compute limitations in the cloud.” Read more…

U.S. Blacklists Sugon, 4 Others from Access to Advanced Technology

June 21, 2019

Just as ISC19 wrapped up yesterday, showcasing the latest in supercomputing technology, the U.S. added five Chinese entities including Sugon to its blacklist prohibiting them from access to advanced technology vital to s Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf Expands Toolset; Launches Inferencing Suite

June 24, 2019

MLPerf today launched a benchmark suite for inferencing, v0.5, which joins the MLPerf training suite launched a little over a year ago. The new inferencing benc Read more…

By John Russell

Is Weather and Climate Prediction the Perfect ‘Pilot’ for Exascale?

June 21, 2019

At ISC 2019 this week, Peter Bauer – deputy director of research for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) – outlined an ambitious Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC Keynote: Thomas Sterling’s Take on Whither HPC

June 20, 2019

Entertaining, insightful, and unafraid to launch the occasional verbal ICBM, HPC pioneer Thomas Sterling delivered his 16th annual closing keynote at ISC yesterday. He explored, among other things: exascale machinations; quantum’s bubbling money pot; Arm’s new HPC viability; Europe’s... Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Claims No. 1 Commercial Supercomputer with Total Oil & Gas System 

June 20, 2019

IBM can now boast not only the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, it also has claimed the top spot for a supercomputer used in a commercial setting. Read more…

By Staff Report

HPC on Pace for 5-Year 6.8% CAGR; Guess Which Hyperscaler Spent $10B on IT Last Year?

June 20, 2019

In the neck-and-neck horse race for HPC server market share, HPE has hung on to a slim, shrinking lead over Dell EMC – but if server and storage market shares Read more…

By Doug Black

ISC 2019 Research Paper Award Winners Announced

June 19, 2019

At the 2019 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this week, the ISC committee awarded the event's top prizes for outstanding research pape Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC Keynote: The Algorithms of Life – Scientific Computing for Systems Biology

June 19, 2019

Systems biology has existed loosely under many definitions for a couple of decades. It’s the notion of describing living systems using first-principle physics Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Achieves 445 Petaflops on New ‘HPL-AI’ Benchmark

June 19, 2019

Summit -- the world's top-ranking supercomputer -- has been used to test-drive a new mixed-precision Linpack benchmark, which for now is being called HPL-AI. Traditionally, supercomputer performance is measured using the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, which is the basis for the Top500 list that biannually ranks world's fastest supercomputers. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This