Exascale Computing Project’s Doug Kothe to Be Named Oak Ridge Associate Lab Director

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Doug Kothe

Last month, we reported on management changes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP), including the upcoming retirement of Jeff Nichols, associate director of the lab with oversight over the National Center for Computational Sciences, the site of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF).

Now we’ve learned that ECP Director Doug Kothe will fill Nichol’s role – he will be named associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences (CCSD), effective June 6. insideHPC has requested comment from Kothe. Nichols will leave his post in early July.

Kothe also will continue as ECP director, the organization responsible for sheparding exascale supercomputers to programs within DOE’s Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration.

Kothe was appointed ECP director in 2017 after serving as CCSD’s deputy ALD. From 2010- 2015 he was director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. He joined the lab as director of science at the National Center for Computational Sciences in 2006 and previously spent 20 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory in technical, line and program management positions. He also spent a year at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the late 1980s as a physicist in defense sciences.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a master’s and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Purdue.

Jeff Nichols

Nichols (who was a recent guest on the @HPCpodcast) became the associate laboratory director for CCS in 2009. In this position, he had had major influence on the evolution of the OLCF, which has housed some of the country’s most powerful supercomputers, including Summit, the nation’s most powerful computing resource. He also has lead ORNL’s agenda in advanced HPC in such areas such as materials science, fusion energy and health data, as well as the laboratory’s quantum computing and artificial intelligence initiatives.

Previously, Nichols was the deputy associate laboratory director of Computing and Computational Sciences, where he led efforts to deploy supercomputers for DOE, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. A theoretical chemist and software developer, Nichols joined Oak Ridge in 2002 as the director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division.