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Doug Kothe Leaving Oak Ridge and Exascale Computing Project for Sandia

Doug Kothe

Doug Kothe, associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences (CCSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and director of the Exascale Computing Project (ECP), is leaving ORNL to become chief research officer and associate labs director (ALD) of the Advanced Science and Technology Division at Sandia National Laboratories.

Kothe has been at Oak Ridge since 2005. At Sandia, it’s believed he will succeed Susan Seestrom, who is expected to retire in June after serving as CRO and ALD for Advanced Science and Technology since May 2017.

Kothe was named ORNL associate lab director for CCSD last May, replacing Jeff Nichols who retired last summer. Kothe also was widely rumored to have been a candidate to fill the vacancy left by former Oak Ridge Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, who announced his retirement last July.

Kothe was named ECP director in September 2017, succeeding the project’s first director, Paul Messina. The ECP was launched in 2016 as a collaboration between the DOE Office of Science and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration to develop not only exascale-class supercomputers but an ecosystem of software applications and support services within a “capable exascale” strategy. ECP includes contributions and expertise from six national laboratories – Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia – along with representatives from industry and academia.

The ECP effort reached a high point last May when Frontier, an HPE-Cray EX system powered by AMD CPUs and GPUs, was listed on the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers as the first HPC system to exceed the exaFLOPS milestone.

Previously ORNL’s deputy associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences, Kothe also served as director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, DOE’s first Energy Innovation Hub (2010-2015), and as director of science at the National Center for Computational Sciences (2006-2010). Before joining ORNL in 2005, he spent 20 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he held a number of technical and line and program management positions.

Susan Seestrom

Prior to coming to Sandia, Seestrom spent more than 30 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, arriving as a graduate student while pursuing her doctorate in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Minnesota. She subsequently joined Los Alamos as a Directors Fellow and continued as a member of the scientific staff.

While at Los Alamos, Seestrom initiated efforts to develop a source of ultra-cold neutrons (UCN). Her work culminated in a world-leading UCN source at Los Alamos and the first measurement of the beta asymmetry in neutron decay using UCN. Most recently, as a Senior Fellow at Los Alamos, Susan was part of a collaboration measuring the neutron lifetime using UCN.

She served in leadership positions at Los Alamos over 13 years. She served as Associate Laboratory Director for Experimental Physical Sciences from 2006 to 2013 and was Associate Laboratory Director for Weapons Physics from 2004 through 2006. Prior to that, she was the Physics Division Leader and the Neutron Science and Technology Deputy Group Leader.

She is co-author of more than 140 referred publications and was named Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1994.

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