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December 1, 2020

HPC Career Notes: December 2020 Edition

Mariana Iriarte

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!

Florian Berberich

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) Council appointed Dr. Florian Berberich as PRACE’s operations director. Berberich will be responsible for developing and overseeing the PRACE peer review process and project management operations. He has been PRACE council secretary since March 2018 and has held the role of project manager of the PRACE Implementation Phase projects at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

“It is a tremendous honor and a real thrill for me to become PRACE’s new Operations Director,” said Berberich. “I will do my best to ensure that the scientific and industrial HPC communities benefit from the necessary support. This will be one of my main tasks. Nowadays, we are facing major changes in the European HPC ecosystem, with the EuroHPC JU fully operational and substantially increasing its investments in world-leading HPC systems in Europe. I am confident that PRACE can contribute to the growing European HPC ecosystem and secure coherent development.”

Peter Braam

Dr. Peter Braam joined ThinkParQ as its chief technical officer. Braam will be responsible for managing the research and development team. He will also lead the product development and roadmap of BeeGFS. Braam held several executive roles at public companies and has founded or co-founded six-start-up companies.

“It’s very exciting to join the excellent ThinkParQ team right when it is gaining market share,” Braam said. “My first mission is to strengthen that further by leading the architecture and guiding the development. New computation, storage hardware, and requirements from Machine Learning will be making unprecedented demands on our software, and fortunately, new engineering practices are now available to us to converge to the best-distributed systems without endless experimentation. This will also help us to introduce innovation in strategic areas. I’m delighted to work in such an interesting technical area.”

Chris Ferrie

Q-CTRL appointed quantum physics instructor and children’s book author Chris Ferrie as its quantum education advisor. Ferrie, who will remain as the associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney and Centre for Quantum Software and Information, will be responsible for managing the content development for the company’s educational software package that aims to help amateurs with the use of quantum computing.

“I am looking forward to bringing my passion for teaching quantum computing to develop interactive content with the world-class team of quantum scientists and software developers at Q-CTRL,” said Ferrie. “There is a growing appetite for learning more about quantum computing across a broad spectrum of people. If we can make quantum physics and computing interesting and understandable to young children, we can definitely make it so for adults as well.”

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty resigned as the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security. The U.S. Senate confirmed Gordon-Hagerty on February 15, 2018, marking the first time the role has ever filled by a woman.

During her tenure, Gordon-Hagerty led modernization efforts of NNSA’s infrastructure and the growth of its workforce. Dr. William Bookless will serve as the acting NNSA administrator during the transition. Most recently, Bookless was the NNSA principal deputy administrator.

Torsten Hoefler

Professor Torsten Hoefler received the BenchCouncil Rising Star Award. The International Open Benchmark Council committee recognized Hoefler for his work in benchmark testing, metrics, and optimization. Hoefler, a professor at the department of computer science at ETH Zurich, is one of the leading scientists in the field of high-performance computing. He also manages the Scalable Parallel Computing Laboratory at ETH Zurich.

The winner of the BenchCouncil Rising Star Award is elected as a senior member of the ISTC and will be invited to join the ISTC Rising Star Award Committee in the second year of the award. For more information, visit

Daniel Katz

Daniel “Dan” Katz has been named chief scientist by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he also serves as research associate professor in Computer Science (CS), research associate professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), research associate professor in the School of Information Sciences (iSchool), and faculty affiliate in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE).

“His expertise will enhance NCSA’s leadership and international recognition, & we are excited to see what his leadership can achieve for NCSA, the science community, and the world!” NCSA said in an announcement tweet.

Katz is a senior member of the IEEE and ACM, and a founding editor and current associate editor-in-chief of the Journal of Open Source Software. He has held many prominent roles in the research computing community, including serving as senior fellow in the Computation Institute (CI) at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory (2009-2016), a program director in the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation (2012-2016), and director for cyberinfrastructure development at the Center for Computation & Technology (CCT), Louisiana State University (LSU) (2006-2009).

Paul Kent

Computational Nanoscience Researcher Paul Kent received the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology. The award recognizes Kent’s leadership in quantum computing development and application on high-performance computing platforms to help solve major scientific problems.

Kent received the lab’s top science and technology award “for exemplary leadership in the development of quantum Monte Carlo methods on high-performance computing platforms and applying them to major problems of high scientific and technologic relevance.” ORNL live-streamed the Director’s Awards ceremony this month.

Mikko Möttönen

Mikko Möttönen, D.Sc. (Tech), received the 2020 Recognition Award from the Nokia Foundation. Möttönen, professor of quantum technology at Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, was recognized for his notable contributions to quantum computing research.

“It has been great to see how quantum mechanics, which was generally considered as strange and rare, has over the years become a common tool that is being harnessed for industrial use around the world. I can’t wait to see what it turns out to be, especially in Finland, where, over the decades, we have been able to develop a unique ecosystem,” said Möttönen.

Brian Peterson

Panasas appointed Brian Peterson as its chief operating officer. Peterson brings over 25 years of experience in sales, business, marketing and corporate development positions. He currently serves as a strategic adviser at Tack22, a marketing and advertising firm. Before Panasas, he held the role of strategic advisor at Synoptek, a systems integrator and managed IT services provider.

“Joining the Panasas team to chart the next stage of the company’s growth is an exciting step in my career,” Peterson said. “I will lean on my background and relationships established in the technology industry, working with customers, partners, and alliances, to help deliver breakthroughs in research and innovation, and ultimately, transformational outcomes.”

John Wagner

John Wagner, Ph.D., has been named director of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Wagner succeeds Mark Peters, who will serve as executive vice president for laboratory operations at Battelle Energy Alliance, whose Board of Managers oversees and operates INL for the U.S. Department of Energy. Wagner was promoted from his role of associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology division.

Wagner brings over 20 years of experience leading research and development projects, programs and organizations. Before INL, he built a 17-year career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, holding research and leadership roles focused on reactor and fuel cycle technologies.

Jack Wells

Jack Wells has been named president of OpenACC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the research and developer community advance science by expanding their accelerated and parallel computing skills. Wells is the current director of strategic planning and performance management at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As OpenACC president, he succeeds Duncan Poole, who will continue to serve on the OpenACC Board of Directors as chairman.

“As we ready future systems to support science in the exascale era, I am extremely excited about the science that will emerge. Data analytics and machine learning creatively integrated with modeling and simulation is growing, and it is clear that hybrid, accelerated computing technologies are a large part of this story,” said Wells. “Important to the story is the development of a performance-portable programming tool chain for scientific computing. This includes the evolution of language extensions and frameworks; maturation of accelerated compiler directives such as OpenACC; and the emergence and adoption of library abstractions, such as Kokkos and Raja. It also includes providing training and education for our researchers to avail themselves of these accelerated technologies. This is all within the scope of the OpenACC organization’s mission.”

Carol Woodward

The Association for Women in Mathematics named Carol Woodward, a computational scientist from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as a 2021 fellow. Woodward has been a computational mathematician in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing since 1996. Her LLNL research focuses on nonlinear solvers and time integration methods and software, including the SUNDIALS suite of solvers.

“Being selected as a fellow of the AWM is special to me,” Woodward said. “Promoting the amazing work that women do in mathematics, as well as encouraging equal treatment for women, have been causes I strongly support and have worked hard to develop. The AWM does so much amazing work in support of women and girls in mathematics. I find it a humbling honor to be recognized by them.”

Andy Young

Asperitas appointed Andy Young as director of the research & development unit at the company. Young brings over a background in mechanical engineering, having worked at Ansys and Iceotope. He is an active member of the OCP community as part of the Advanced Cooling sub-project.

“I’m excited to start at Asperitas and feel my experience in thermal design will add value to the team,” said Young. “Asperitas Immersed Computing technology captures more of the heat generated by IT equipment, reducing the load on HVAC systems without focusing on discrete components. With low energy overheads, Asperitas leads the immersion cooling market alongside Shell and OEMs as strong, strategic partners. The integrated, sustainable solutions are able to meet the industries increasing demands for cooling and energy efficiency.”

Richard Zahner

Retired Army Lieutenant General Richard Zahner joined the advisory board of the Tachyum Government Corp., a newly created subsidiary.  Zahner has built a 36-year military career focusing on airborne, special operations, special mission, and heavy ground forces.

Zahner held the roles of director of Signals Intelligence at the National Security Agency and deputy undersecretary of defense. He has served on a number of  NSA Advisory Board panels and DARPA-sponsored initiatives. He also supported the development of hybrid airship technology.

AASS Fellows: Gina Tourassi, Jeffrey Vetter, Peter Kogge, and Esmond Ng

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced nearly 500 members have earned the lifetime distinction of AAAS Fellow. Among the HPC professionals receiving this honor are Gina Tourassi, director of the National Center for Computational Sciences at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Jeffrey Vetter, head of the Advanced Computing Systems Research Section in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at the DOE’s ORNL; Peter M. Kogge, a Ted H. McCourtney Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame; and Esmond G. Ng, a Computational Research Division senior scientist and division deputy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific body and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through the Science family of journals. The Council of AAAS annually elects the AAAS fellows. For the full list of fellows, visit

HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards for Outstanding Leadership in HPC

Mateo Valero, Yutaka Ishikawa, and Satoshi Matsuoka were recognized for Outstanding Leadership in HPC by the 2020 HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards during a virtual presentation, held in tandem with the SC20 proceedings. Mateo Valero, founder and director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre and host to the MareNostrum supercomputer, was honored with the Readers’ Choice Award. He has been an HPC pioneer since 1990 and the driving force behind the renaissance of European HPC independence.

Yutaka Ishikawa, lead for Japan’s Flagship 2020 project at Riken, and Satoshi Matsuoka, director at Riken, were named co-recipients of the Editors’ Choice Award for bringing the Fugaku project to fruition, standing up the world’s number one supercomputer, and supporting COVID-19 research, a full year earlier than planned. To see the full list of award winners, click here.

Irish Centre for High-End Computing Appointments

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing appointed eight new members in 2020 to support the increase in demand for the center’s high-performance computing services. Dr. John Brennan, Dr. Orna Fennelly, Dr. Manuel Fernández, Dr. Elise Jennings, Dr. James Nelson, Enda O’Brien, Finnuala Solomon, and Dr. Antonio Villapando joined ICHEC under different capacities and projects. To learn a bit more about each member, click here.

ICHEC’s mission is to support Ireland’s goal to realize “the benefits of high-performance computing, creating breakthroughs in science, economic development, and evidence-based policies.” For more information about ICHEC, visit

SNIA 2020-2021 Board of Directors and Technical Council Members

The Storage Networking Industry Association announced its 2020-2021 Board of Directors and Technical Council members. SNIA, a not-for-profit organization comprised of storage-based solution provider companies, confirmed its significant vision to be “All Things Storage,” focusing on responsibility and accountability to its members, its alliance partners, and end-users around the world. To see the full list of members, click here.

“2020 has been a year of change, renewed commitment and investment for the future by the industry,” said Michael Oros, SNIA Executive Director. “Taking on the changing world, we have new representatives from several industry companies that have joined the SNIA Board from Cisco Systems, Kioxia, NetApp, and Pure Storage. In addition, Dell has also joined the Technical Council, and together we look forward to the new industry engagements and technical work that is already underway with SNIA’s 2,500 storage industry experts from around the world.”

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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