Call for Nominations to Replace ASCR’s Barb Helland

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Barb Helland

A call for nominations has been issued to find a replacement for Barb Helland, the long-time and esteemed associate director for the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), by the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy. Helland will officially retire on January 15.

Helland, known to be media-shy, has politely declined to be interviewed by insideHPC to discuss her career highlights. One of them surely has been her leadership position within DOE’s Exascale Computing Initiative in the development of the HPE-Cray built and AMD powered Frontier system, in 2021. Frontier, housed at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, was exascale-certified by the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers during last spring’s ISC conference in Hamburg.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony for Frontier last August at Oak Ridge National Lab, several DOE and Oak Ridge senior managers cited Helland’s instrumental role in the Frontier project.

Prior to her current position at ASCR, Helland served as ASCR’s facilities division director and as program manager for ASCR’s Argonne and Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facilities and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).   She was also responsible for opening ASCR’s facilities to national researchers, including those in industry, through INCITE, the department’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program.

Prior to DOE, Helland ran computational science educational programs at Krell Institute, and for 25 years she was at Ames Laboratory. She has a B.S. in computer science and an M. Ed in organizational learning and human resource development from Iowa State University.

The Office of Science has tremendous gratitude for Barb’s years of service to the Office of Science and ASCR communities,” said Dr. Harriet Kung, the Office of Science’s deputy director for science programs. “Under Barb’s tenure, ASCR has seen tremendous growth, world leadership in high performance computing and computation science, and pathbreaking scientific discovery.”

In her statement, Kung requested nominations for Helland’s successor, including self-nominations. She asks that suggestions be sent to with the name, position, and organization information, as well as an e-mail address for each candidate, by Friday, January 27, 2023.

The ASCR program supports fundamental peer-reviewed research to discover, develop, and deploy computational and networking algorithms, methods, and capabilities to analyze, model, simulate, and predict complex phenomena. This includes exploration of future computing technologies for scientific applications, according to DOE. The Associate Director of ASCR is responsible for the overall management of this program, including strategic program planning; budget formulation and execution; project management; program integration with other Office of Science activities and other DOE offices; interagency and international liaison; and management of the federal and rotator technical and administrative staff in the ASCR program office.


  1. Mike Bernhardt says

    Barb’s contributions to supercomputing and the implementation of high performance computing to drive scientific advancement are immeasurable. This nation owes her a huge debt of gratitude for her years of leadership and dedicated service.