HPC System Analyst Jackie Scoggins Reflects on Her Time at NERSC

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As part of cthe 50th anniversary celebrations for the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), “In Their Own Words” is a Q&A series featuring voices from across the NERSC landscape, past and present, about their experiences at NERSC.

Jackie Scoggins arrived at NERSC in 1996 as a system analyst and administrator for the Computational Systems Group and later moved to the Berkeley Lab IT Division, joining their High Performance Computing Group. She served as a system analyst for divisions across the Lab before rejoining NERSC in 2015. She retired in 2021.

What is your background, and what brought you to NERSC?

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Cal State Hayward. After graduation I got started in my career working at NASA Ames Research Center as an Operations System Analyst, and it’s there that I became an HPC system engineer working on Cray systems. I left NASA and began working as a systems engineer for a bank, and while I was there, I received a call saying that I should apply for a position as the system engineer at NERSC supporting their Cray systems. I was one of three engineers hired when NERSC moved to Berkeley Lab.

What did you learn while at NERSC?

The things that stick out for me are leadership, teamwork, support, understanding, and challenges. Understanding all aspects of the work – the DOE’s expectations, the users’ needs, keeping abreast of technology trends, and sometimes going outside that realm – always kept me on my toes. It made me a better problem solver and a forward thinker and enhanced my career.

Jackie Scoggins

What is your favorite thing about working at NERSC, or your favorite scientific achievement supported by NERSC?

My favorite thing about working at NERSC was the experience I had with co-workers, vendors, and supporting the users. I also managed the job scheduling system during that time, and managing that was an achievement. It was not a simple task, but it was rewarding for me.

In your opinion, what sets NERSC apart?

NERSC is a user facility that supports people from all over the world. They are very passionate about having the capability to allow scientists to solve large-scale scientific problems to make the world better.

What would you like to see at NERSC in the next 50 years?

Well, I don’t think I’ll be here then, but I would like to see NERSC continue helping the scientific community by providing the top-notch service in HPC, application support, user services, operations, data storage, and many other services they have to offer.

Source: Elizabeth Ball, a science and technology writer at Berkeley Lab primarily serving as liaison to NERSC. 

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