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Richard Gerber to Head NERSC’s HPC Department

Today NERSC announced that Richard Gerber has been named head of their High-Performance Computing Department. Formed in early 2016 to help the center’s 6,000 users take full advantage of new supercomputing architectures, the department will guide and support them during the ongoing transition to exascale.

For the past year, Gerber served as acting head of the department, which comprises four groups: Advanced Technologies, Application Performance, Computational Systems and User Engagement.

“This is an exciting time because the whole HPC landscape is changing with manycore, which is a big change for our users,” said Gerber, who joined NERSC’s User Services Group in 1996 as a postdoc, having earned his PhD in physics from the University of Illinois. “Users are facing a big challenge; they have to be able to exploit the architectural features on Cori (NERSC’s newest supercomputing system), and the HPC Department plays a critical role in helping them do this.”

The HPC Department is also responsible for standing up and supporting world-class systems in a production computing environment and looking to the future. “We work with complex, first-of-a-kind systems that present unique challenges,” Gerber said. “Our staff is constantly providing innovative solutions that make systems more capable and productive for our users. Looking forward, we are evaluating emerging technologies and gathering scientific needs to influence future HPC directions that will best support the science community.”

In addition, NERSC is working to acquire its next large system, NERSC-9, and prepare users to make effective use of it and exascale architectures in general, Gerber noted.

The challenge really is getting the community to exascale, and there are many aspects to that, including helping users explore different programming models,” he said. “Beyond that we are starting to think about how to prepare for a post-Moore’s Law world when it arrives. We want to help move the community toward exascale and make sure they are ready.”

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