Podcast: What a Supercomputer Does

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Katherine Riley, Director of Science at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

Katherine Riley, Director of Science at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

In this WBEZ podcast, Katherine Riley from Argonne explains what a supercomputer does.

Argonne National Laboratory is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The science and engineering research center has had a prominent place in historical research developments. They’re currently in the process of installing their newewst supercomputer, Theta. The Theta supercomputer will serve as an early access development platform for Argonne’s 180 Petaflop Aurora system, which is slated for deployment in 2018.


Katherine Riley is the Director of Science for the ALCF leading a fantastic team of experts in computational science, performance engineering, visualizations, and data sciences. The ALCF is familiar territory for Riley as she was one of the facility’s first hires in 2007. She previously served as a principal scientific applications engineer and manager of the ALCF catalyst team, a group of computational scientists who work directly with users to help them maximize their time on ALCF systems and achieve their research goals. Riley has also been a key contributor to the strategic vision of the facility, assisting with the design and development of ALCF supercomputers by helping to identify the scientific requirements for new systems. She has spent her career focused on scientific application architecture and how this impacts performance, scalability, and extensibility. In her new role as Director of Science, Riley leads scientific strategy for the ALCF, ensuring the facility delivers leading-edge computational capabilities and expertise that help advance fundamental discovery and understanding in a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines.

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  1. Satoe Sakuma says

    Any chance I can find you on the podcast app on my iPhone?