NEW to Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Team
July 31, 2009
Hank Childs, Analytics and Visualizations Group
|Hank Childs and his wife Carissa celebrate 10-years of marriage on Baltic cruise ship.|
Hank Childs, architect of VisIt—one of the most popular frameworks for data analysis and scientific visualization—has joined the Berkeley Lab's Computing Sciences Analytics and Visualization group. In this new post, he will continue to enhance VisIt for the petascale visualization and analysis needs of researchers in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science.
Childs comes to the Berkeley Lab after nearly a decade in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program, where he was a member of the original VisIt development team. He is credited with broadening its user base beyond DOE's National Nuclear Security Agency to researchers in the Office of Science and elsewhere.
“NERSC supports a variety of science users, thousands across the country, and this new position will allow me to interact with these researchers and help make VisIt meet their needs,” says Childs, who is also the Chief Software Architect for the Visualization and Analytics Center for Enabling Technologies (VACET), which is supported by the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program.
Originally from Westlake Village, California, Childs migrated north to attend college at the University of California at Davis. He initially majored in math, with the intention of becoming a high school math teacher. However, after a few introductory computer sciences courses, he decided to double major. After college he took a post at LLNL, where he was introduced to the field of scientific visualization. While working, he attended school on nights and weekends to pursue his doctorate. He finished his graduate studies in 2006.
In his spare time, Childs enjoys playing basketball and is a fan of the Settlers of Catan board game. He is married with two children.
David McCallen, Earth Sciences Division Infrastructure Protection
This spring David McCallen arrived at the Berkeley Lab to begin work on a project that utilizes advanced computational techniques to analyze the safety of nuclear power plants, and develop structural guidelines that will ensure plant safety in the event of an earthquake.
Although McCallen directly reports to the Earth Sciences Division, he will work closely with the Lab's Computing Sciences, Engineering and Physics organizations in his research. The project is supported by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy and other related agencies.
“With the increased need for carbon-free energy, nuclear power has again emerged as a viable energy source,” says McCallen. “With the advancements in technology, high performance computers can play a very important role in ensuring the safe, economical and secure implementation of nuclear energy.”
McCallen will also be serving as the first director of the UC Berkeley Nuclear Research Center, a newly funded center that serves as a focal point to coordinate education and research activities between the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering and three DOE national laboratories, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Berkeley Lab.
Originally from Truckee, McCallen is a native of Northern California. He earned a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics from the University of California, Davis, and spent the last 20 years at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Most recently, he was the program director for LLNL's $90 million Nuclear Nonproliferation program. In his spare time, McCallen enjoys hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Lavanya Ramakrishnan, 2009 Alvarez Fellow
This month, Lavanya Ramakrishnan joins CRD's Advanced Computing for Science department as a Luis W. Alvarez Fellow. She will spend the next few years exploring different techniques and tools for managing science workloads that rely on high performance and distributed systems such as grid and cloud systems.
Originally from India, Ramakrishnan came to the United States nine years ago to pursue a graduate degree at Indiana University, Bloomington. She notes that an interest in grid computing, high performance computing and utility computing, was sparked shortly after taking a class taught by Professor Dennis Gannon, who later served as her research advisor.
“I was inspired by the contributions that high performance computers and other distributed systems could make on scientific research,” says Ramakrishnan.
After finishing her master's degree, Ramakrishnan developed middleware and security architectures for grid-based systems as a research engineer at MCNC, a non-profit organization that employs advanced information technologies solutions for North Carolina's educational community. She later joined the Renaissance Computing Institute as a research staff member and served as the technical lead on several interdisciplinary collaborations, including meteorological modeling, storm surge modeling, as well as bioinformatics and biomedical research.
Ramakrishnan moved to Northern California's Bay Area in 2006 and worked remotely on her Ph.D. at Indiana University. She now lives in Sunnyvale with her husband, and spends much of her free time hiking and reading.
Sean Peisert, Future Technologies Group
Sean Peisert began a joint appointment this month, as a research scientist in CRD's Future Technologies Group (FTG) and in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California at Davis (UCD).
At UCD, Peisert researches issues surrounding computer security, particularly computer forensics, electronic voting and vulnerability analyses. As a member of the FTG group, he will build on this work by investigating computer security and forensics relating to the supercomputer systems at NERSC.
Before starting his joint appointment, Peisert was a postdoctoral fellow at UCD. Last fall, his research was incorporated into a document about “election forensics” that was distributed by the American Bar Association and picked up by both the Obama and McCain campaigns. The document was a collaborative effort between researchers at Cleveland State University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UCD.
Peisert earned his Ph.D .from the University of California, San Diego in 2007, and has given lectures and consulted on issues of computer security. From 2007 to 2008, he was an Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P) fellow. I3P is a consortium of leading universities, national laboratories and nonprofit institutions dedicated to strengthening the cyber infrastructure of the United States.
Originally from Marin County, Peisert is no stranger to the Bay Area. He jokes that his second full-time job is recordist, publicist and occasional piano accompanist, for his wife, who is a professional flutist. The couple met while playing in the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra—she the flute, he percussion. On his spare time, Peisert enjoys playing tennis, sailing, SCUBA diving and skiing.
Matt Harvey, NERSC HPC Technician
Matthew Joseph Harvey may be new to Berkeley Lab and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), but he's right at home in the Bay Area and around computers. He spent the past 11 years providing network, desktop and server support, most recently at MegaPath, one of the leading providers of managed IP communications services in North America. Harvey began his new post in NERSC's Computer Operations and ESnet Support group on July 6.