People to Watch 2018

Trish Damkroger
Vice President and General Manager, Technical Computing Initiative

Two-time People to Watch honoree Trish Damkroger is Vice President and General Manager of the Technical Computing Initiative (TCI) in Intel’s Data Center Group. She leads Intel’s global Technical Computing business and is responsible for developing and executing Intel’s strategy, building customer relationships and defining a leading product portfolio for technical computing workloads, including emerging areas such as high performance analytics, HPC in the cloud, and artificial intelligence. Damkroger’s technical computing portfolio includes traditional HPC platforms, workstations, processors and all aspects of solutions including industry leading compute, storage, network and software products.

Damkroger has more than 27 years of technical and managerial roles both in the private sector and within the United States Department of Energy, most recently as the Associate Director of Computation (Acting) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory leading a 1,000 person group that is one of the world’s leading supercomputing and scientific experts. Since 2006, Ms. Damkroger has been a leader of the annual Supercomputing Conference series, the premier international meeting for high performance computing. She was the SC14 General Chair in New Orleans and has held many other committee positions. Ms. Damkroger has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She was previously honored as an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2014.

HPCwire: Congrats Trish! It’s been about a year since you joined Intel after a long experience at Lawrence Livermore, and at the time of your hiring you said you would be defining the focus of what appears, from your title, to be a broad portfolio at Intel. Tell us about some of the milestones that have happened in your first year at Intel.

Trish Damkroger: It’s been an exciting challenge building out the team at Intel and helping to refine and optimize the entire HPC and workstation portfolio. This past year we introduced the Intel Xeon Scalable processor, which is already being widely adopted by leaders in HPC, plus I’ve focused on streamlining Intel’s HPC software strategy to ensure the best support for open source communities and developers. It’s been a whirlwind this year, and with recent announcements from the DOE on using Intel as the foundation for their first exascale system and the incredible interest in Intel’s AI products, it’s also been one of the most exciting and impactful years to be at Intel.

HPCwire: A major industry trend is the way in which AI is broadening HPC’s reach well beyond traditional scientific and technical computing into the commercial sphere. What have you learned in your year at Intel about the differences between the traditional scientific vs. the burgeoning commercial market for HPC-class technology?

I’ve always been a believer that HPC matters and now expect the convergence of AI-HPC to transform the market. Putting powerful tools in the hands of the most brilliant and creative people is how we drive innovation, make new discoveries, build better products and enrich people lives. Being at Intel gives you a great perspective on the challenges that various customers face. Obviously, smaller organizations don’t have the dedicated supercomputing experts I worked with at DOE, but they can still get tremendous business value from technical computing. At Intel we have a commitment to expanding access to leading technologies, and in technical computing we are working to simplify on-premise deployments while also enabling HPC applications to run well in the cloud.

HPCwire: Do you have any updates for us on progress made on SSF and its components, such as OmniPath? What’s your vision for how they will impact the high end of the computing and datacenter markets?

Intel’s SSF framework has been Intel’s effort to provide a broad configurable framework for both compute and data throughput.  The SSF is the platform foundation which allows Intel to offer ingredients and solutions that we guarantee will work well together along with the applications that most people want to use. At the high end we are seeing a global desire to pull in exascale class computing, to tackle the hardest problems and combine traditional simulation and modeling applications with new AI approaches. To deliver useful, economical high-end systems we need not only breakthroughs in processors, but a balanced system that has the high-bandwidth fabric, high memory bandwidth, and vast storage capacity that fits within budget and power constraints, and builds off of today’s SW developer skills. Intel has the broad portfolio and technical expertise to solve these challenges and spread these technologies throughout the HPC community to not just national labs, but commercial users as well.

HPCwire: What do you hope to see from the HPC community in the coming year?

I know we’ll see more great discoveries and innovations from the HPC community in 2018.  I’m especially excited to see how we can utilize AI to steer our traditional workloads and scale AI on petascale class supercomputers. I also hope in 2018 that the HPC community continues to become more diverse and welcoming to everyone. With all of the challenges and opportunities we face, we really need everyone to feel like they can contribute and excel in this community.

HPCwire: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.? Is there anything about you your colleagues might be surprised to learn?

I am passionate about women in technology and specifically in HPC, I mentor and coach professional women who are in male dominated fields. I enjoy horseback riding, travelling and reading. I have two kids in college: a 23 year old son and 19 year old daughter.

Recently, as part of my Intel career we moved to Oregon, and my husband has decided to invest in a winery. This has been an incredible journey and experience for us.

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Trish Damkroger

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