Inaugural HPC Community Leadership Award winners

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In early October insideHPC announced voting for the inaugural HPC Community Leadership awards in two categories: Individual and Organization.

As regular readers know, we don’t just report on HPC — we live and work in this community. And we believe strongly in the power of recognizing the people and organizations that make a difference in HPC. The award recognizes the people and organizations who have persevered through technology, budget or organizational challenges to place innovative HPC solutions in the hands of users in business, engineering, technology, and science.

A select panel of HPC rock stars (from both sides of the Atlantic) recommended an impressive slate of nominees. I was enthusiastic about the idea, but even I was taken aback by the tremendous response we got from our readers. And with nearly 1,000 votes cast, the top two in each category were very close. A testament to the quality of the nominees and the work of the nominating committee.

During the Opening Gala at SC09 Monday night, I presented the inaugural awards HPC Community Leadership to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Illinois’ Bill Gropp.

Organizational Leadership Award Winner: Oak Ridge

ORNL has been one of the highest profile supercomputer centers of recent years — in political, scientific, technology, and media arenas — and has globally raised the profile and value of high end HPC. ORNL has led the way with services, support and research that help science — not just Top500 ratings.

Jeff Nichols receives award on behalf of ORNL“On behalf of hundreds of Oak Ridge National Laboratory computer scientists, computational scientists and applied mathematicians, as well as the much larger community of scientists and engineers worldwide who work with us, we are honored by the HPC community’s recognition of our accomplishments,” said Jeff Nichols, ORNL’s associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences. ORNL houses Jaguar, the first petascale supercomputer dedicated to open science. “Dramatic scientific breakthroughs have already been enabled by the remarkably balanced system that combines unsurpassed speed, memory and I/O bandwidth, and we look forward to continued scientific advancements with our partners as we tackle challenges in energy, climate change, advanced materials, and neutron sciences.”

The award was presented to Jeff Nichols, ORNL’s associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences, in the Oak Ridge Booth Monday night.

Individual Leadership Award Winner: Bill Gropp

Bill Gropp’s best known legacy to the HPC community is the MPI standard. Many people suggest that node level parallelism will run out of sensible programming paradigms long before inter-node — largely due to MPI scaling well beyond the scale of resources around at the times of its introduction. Gropp can be regularly heard arguing how MPI can evolve to keep our millions of lines of “legacy” applications scaling to systems with millions of cores, and he has made major contributions in hierarchical numerical methods for the numerical solution of partial differential equations. He has also been a familiar presence at some of our community’s most high profile events, and this year he lead the SC09 technical program and was a major contributor to several other conference technical programs.

Jeff Nichols receives award on behalf of ORNL“Bill’s insights into scientific applications is keen, and his knowledge of scientific computing broad. His contributions to the HPC community as well as to the University of Illinois’ extreme-scale computing efforts are invaluable. The Blue Waters sustained-petascale computing project and Illinois’ Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies would not be the success that they are without him. The HPC Community Leadership award is a well deserved honor,” said Thom Dunning, who leads Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies.

“Those of us who have worked with Bill for many years have always known that he exemplifies true leadership,” said Michael Heath, interim head of the University of Illinois department of computer science. “Not only has he played a major role in advancing high performance parallel computing, but he has done so with particular emphasis on its role in scientific computing. His ability to work both sides of the equation have enabled him to make vital contributions that solve some of the most pressing issues in science and computing.”

The award was presented to Bill in the NCSA booth Monday night.

A thank you from insideHPC

Congratulations to this year’s winners. As I look forward to next year’s awards, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the tremendous response to this effort. I believe that recognizing leadership is the single best way to ensure that we attract outstanding new talent to our field, and ensure that the supercomputing of tomorrow is even more innovative and vibrant as it is today.


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