HPC Vanguard Award Goes to Thomas Sterling at SC13

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thomasToday The Exascale Report announced that Dr. Thomas Sterling is the first recipient of the HPC Vanguard Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership role in the HPC community’s strategic push to achieve exascale levels of supercomputing performance.

The HPC Vanguard Award recognizes one individual as a critically important driving force in the HPC community,” said Bernhardt speaking at the award ceremony. “A person who consistently leads, pushes the envelope, is always open to new, innovative thinking, who is paramount to moving the community toward exascale. Thomas Sterling exemplifies all of these qualities and is a worthy first recipient of this award – an award that represents the voice of the emerging exascale community.”

Dr. Sterling was presented the award at the SC13 conference in Denver today by Mike Bernhardt, Publisher of The Exascale Report™ and creator of the award. Dr. Sterling was one of six award finalists chosen by the votes from hundreds of members of the HPC community.

Thomas Sterling is Professor of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University. He serves as the Executive Associate Director of CREST and as its Chief Scientist. Since receiving his Ph.D from Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Hertz Fellow in 1984, Dr. Sterling has conducted research in parallel computing systems in industry, academia, and government centers. He is most widely known for his pioneering work in commodity cluster computing as leader of the Beowulf Project for which he and colleagues were awarded the Gordon Bell Prize. Professor Sterling currently leads a team of researchers at IU to derive the advanced ParalleX execution model and develop a proof-of-concept reference implementation to enable a new generation of extreme scale computing systems and applications. He is the co-author of six books and holds six patents.

We are lucky as a community to have someone like Thomas, who has been so energetically pushing the envelope in high-performance computing,” said Andrew Lumsdaine, Director, Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies and Professor of Computer Science, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University. “His work in exascale computing is more than just his latest work — it is built upon the pioneering foundation he has established over the last three decades. And there is more to come. I am thrilled that he is being recognized with the inaugural HPC Vanguard Award.”

Other finalists for the HPC Vanguard Award included:

  • Pete Beckman, Director of the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Bill Dally, Chief Scientist and SVP of Research at NVIDIA
  • Jack Dongarra, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Tennessee
  • Alan Gara, Chief Exascale Architect, Intel Fellow, Intel Corporation
  • Bill Gropp, Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science, Computer Science Department, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana)

At the outset of the award process, The Exascale Report sent 500 email solicitations to members of the HPC community inviting them to submit nominations. More than one individual or organization could be nominated, but nominees could only receive one vote from their own organization. Some of the 500 recipients shared the original email with friends and colleagues, and the publication staff ended up receiving more than 800 nominations in total. According to Bernhardt, from those 800 nominations there were 25 validated nominees for the award, but the final vote was very close among the top six finalists.

There were a number of international nominations, with votes coming in from Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Germany, Spain, India, Canada and the U.K., along with the United States.

Exascale computing, which refers to the ability to perform a quintillion calculations per second, has become a global race in which the United States, China, Japan, India and other nations are seeking to achieve the ambitious milestone by the end of the decade. Exascale computing is widely viewed as a critical strategic capability supporting many initiatives and applications such as national security, energy exploration, economic innovation and medical discovery and treatment.