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ORNL: Exascale Leadership

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the largest US Department of Energy (DOE) science and energy research laboratory and home to critical DOE computing expertise and resources. ORNL’s Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate (CCSD) focuses on high-performance computing, data science, advanced modeling and simulation, mathematical and analysis techniques for enhanced software and scientific applications, and the procurement and operation of large-scale computer systems.

For a quarter century the directorate’s National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) has stood up successive generations of the world’s leading supercomputers, which have demonstrated the unmatched advantage of simulation for securing and improving the nation’s energy infrastructure, revitalizing its manufacturing sector, and predicting the impact of twenty-first-century challenges like climate change. The Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, within the NCCS has, to date, delivered 4 years of breakthrough science at the petascale, and its upcoming system, Summit, expected in 2018, will be a significant stepping stone to exascale, a thousandfold increase in computing power.

On these merits ORNL is one of six DOE national laboratories with senior staff who serve on the leadership team of the Exascale Computing Project (ECP)—a monumental DOE initiative to advance scientific and computational capabilities to the exascale in less than a decade. Further, ORNL is the location of the ECP Project Office, and many CCSD researchers are heavily engaged in research and development activities for the project’s Application Development and Software Technology focus areas. As ECP leadership, CCSD staff serve in key roles:


  • Lab Operations Task Force (LOTF) Co-Chair, Jeff Nichols​:   The LOTF is composed of Associate Laboratory Directors of computing from the partner DOE laboratories. LOTF members assist the ECP Board of Directors in overseeing operations and ensure the ECP Project Director has the resources and institutional support necessary to execute the technical, schedule, and cost requirements for the approved scope of work assigned to each laboratory.
  • Project Director, Doug Kothe: The ECP Project Director provides the expertise and leadership required to successfully plan, execute, and manage the activities of the ECP.
  • Chief Technology Officer, Al Geist:   The Chief Technology Officer helps develop the overall project plan and budget, particularly as it pertains to technology challenges and gaps in applications, hardware, software, and the vendor’s development of systems. 
  • Technical Operations Director, Julia White​:  The Technical Operations Director will plan, coordinate, and facilitate the management of technical business, operational, and/or programmatic activities in order to promote the high-level vision of the project director while operating cross-functionally at multiple levels of the organization, identifying gaps and opportunities.
  • Project Management Director, Kathlyn Boudwin:  The Project Management Director leads the Project Office and provides management for planning and executing large, complex science projects, including related communication products, financial management, project controls and reporting, risk assessment and quality assurance, procurement oversight, information technology support, and travel planning, among other services.
  • Control Account Manager (CAM) of Training and Productivity, Ashley Barker​:  The CAM works to disseminate and transfer application development knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices across application teams and provide training on key technologies.
  • CAM of Development Tools, Jeffrey Vetter​:  The CAM oversees and monitors the progress of research and development projects for performance portability, compilers, autotuning, and performance and debugging tools within the Software Technology focus area.
  • CAM of Energy Applications, Tom Evans: The CAM oversees delivery of a broad array of science-based computational applications able to provide, through effective exploitation of exascale HPC technology, breakthrough modeling and simulation solutions that yield high-confidence insights into a set of critical problems and challenges that positively impact the nation’s energy security.
  • CAM of Application Integration at Facilities, Judy Hill: The CAM leads the successful execution of the science mission of the delivered ECP applications on the pre-exascale and exascale systems at the DOE computing facilities.
  • Communications Manager, Mike Bernhardt:  The Communications Manager is responsible for communications strategy and project outreach activities to maintain a high level of public awareness for the ECP and works in close collaboration with the communications teams at the DOE partner labs on exascale-related messaging.