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Hoffman recognized by IEEE as senior member

Forrest Hoffman
Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Forrest Hoffman, a distinguished scientist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest organization for technical professionals.

Hoffman works in the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate’s Advanced Computing Methods for Physical Sciences Section, where he leads the Computational Earth Sciences Group.

Senior membership, the IEEE’s highest grade, recognizes veteran scientists, engineers and others with at least 10 years of professional experience who have shown significant performance over at least five years and have been nominated by other IEEE fellows and senior members. The IEEE reserves that status for fewer than 10% of its more than 400,000 members worldwide.

Hoffman began his career at ORNL as a research intern in 1988 and received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Tennessee in 1991. He received a master’s degree in physics from UT in 2004, a master’s degree in Earth system science from the University of California Irvine in 2012, and a doctorate in Earth system science from UC Irvine in 2015.    

Hoffman’s research focuses on development and application of Earth system models to investigate the global carbon cycle and its interaction with biogeochemical cycles and global climate. He also employs data mining methods using high-performance computing to address problems in landscape ecology, ecosystem modeling, remote sensing and large-scale climate data analytics.

Hoffman’s accomplishments include leading Earth system modeling efforts for ORNL’s Climate Change Science Institute and acting as principal investigator for the DOE’s Reducing Uncertainty in Biogeochemical Interactions through Synthesis and Computation, or RUBISCO, project. He leads such DOE efforts as the development of the International Land Model Benchmarking and International Ocean Model Benchmarking packages, along with development and deployment of a next-generation Earth System Grid Federation distributed-data infrastructure in the U.S. His work helps inform estimates of Arctic ice levels, predictions for wildfire risk, and analysis of projections for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports.

“It has been personally rewarding to contribute to the advancement of Earth system modeling and related analytics development,” Hoffman said. “It has been an honor to work with so many great scientists to support and advocate for open source, open data, and open science for the good of humanity.”

Beyond his work at ORNL, Hoffman teaches as a joint faculty member in UT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and serves on a variety of editorial boards and steering committees. He’s a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and the Ecological Society of America.

Hoffman’s honors include seven DOE Significant Event awards, a 2021 UT-Battelle Distinguished Researcher award, and being named a 2020 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In his spare time, he enjoys running, hiking and gardening.

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