Frontier Exascale Install Teams Win ORNL Director’s Award

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Bart Hammontree of ORNL

Teams responsible for installation of the Frontier exascale supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory received recognition at ORNL’s Director’s Awards, an event hosted by lab Director Thomas Zacharia.

Two teams received a Director’s Award for Outstanding Team Accomplishment for Mission Support for the design, construction and installation of Frontier, a system to be powered by AMD CPUs and GPUs with HPE serving as system prime contractor.

Led by Bart Hammontree and William Wheat, the groups include Aaron Adkisson, Erech Atchley, Bill Barber, Von Bolinger, Dave Bozich, Kenneth Brown, Shannon Caudill, David Grant, Rick Griffin, John Gutman, David Hill, Erik Hunt, Greg Irby, Jeremy Nichols, Nathan Parkison, Brian Pridemore, Kyle Young, Stephen Welch, David Rhodes, William Robertson, Joseph Vanosdale, John Walker and Gary Weber.

The installation of Frontier, capable of calculating one quintillion operations per second, is under way, but before the system arrived at the lab, “the largest, most comprehensive upgrade in the history of ORNL had to be completed, including massive upgrades to the power and cooling infrastructures, as well as moving more than 100 offices and seven research facilities,” according to Oak Ridge.

“The groups operated with the utmost attention to safety and timeliness,” the lab said in its awards announcement. “Given the pandemic, these teams faced additional challenges in the delivery schedule and another layer of evaluation to this complex and detailed project. Their ability to solve problems was realized daily, maneuvering through the difficult scope of work and the required demolition and construction inside existing, fully operational buildings in the heart of the ORNL campus.”

Another Director’s Award, for Outstanding Team Accomplishment in Science and Technology, went to Nicholas Peters and his team in quantum communications and networking, including Muneer Alshowkan and Phil Evans. They were honored for their thoughtful collaboration that led to the first demonstration of an interoperable and scalable approach to quantum-secured data transmission in a real-world energy delivery environment. Their work paves the way toward the supervision and control of energy delivery infrastructure at a national scale with an unprecedented level of security.

“This achievement underscores the mass development of quantum security technologies to deliver secure, long-term cyber protections for the nation’s critical infrastructure,” the lab said.

Kate Evans, director for ORNL’s Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, said, “Nick leads by creating a positive and professional environment in which scientists thrive. He cares deeply for his staff and their well-being and, as a result, success follows his whole team.”

In addition, Miaofang Chi, a scientist in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, received the 2021 Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology for contributions to understanding the behavior of energy materials through the development and application of innovative microscopy methods. Chi also won this award in 2015.

ORNL said Chi is a world-leading researcher in solid electrolytes and sophisticated electron microscopy methods.

“Miaofang’s accomplishments have been forged by her incredible work ethic and her desire to excel,” said Juan Carlos Idrobo, Chi’s group leader in scanning transmission electron microscopy. “She is reserved but relentless, always pushing for the next big idea for how microscopy can be implemented to advance the frontiers of materials science.”

Chi’s primary research has focused on identifying battery materials that are non-flammable, lightweight and have a longer shelf life than batteries currently in use. Her earlier work on cathode materials initiated the effort within the battery community to enhance cyclability via surface coatings, and she pioneered the effort to understand battery materials at the atomic scale.

source: ORNL