The directorate will house the Computer Science and Mathematics, Networking and Computing Technology, and Computational Sciences and Engineering divisions, as well as the Center for Computational Sciences.
In making the announcement, ORNL Director Bill Madia said, "Leadership in high-performance computing and computational sciences is a goal of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is critical to the laboratory's science and technology agenda. Thomas Zacharia has all the vision and skills to make this goal a reality."
With Zacharia as director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division, ORNL has achieved prominence in the area of supercomputing with the acquisition of a multi-teraflop computing facility that has made ORNL home to the some of the most powerful open scientific computers in the nation.
ORNL's Computer Science and Mathematics Division, Zacharia noted, is one of the premier computer science research organizations in the country and has a long history and tradition of excellence. The division helped usher in the era of massively parallel computing in the mid- to late '80s. Today, the division is working with industry, national laboratories and academic institutions to usher in the era of petascale computing.
The Center for Computational Sciences is a DOE High Performance Computing Research Center. As an advanced computing research testbed, the center plays a critical role in testing and evaluating new computing hardware and software. It houses the latest IBM eServer supercomputer, which by early next year will provide 4-teraflop (4 trillion calculations per second) computing power. The computer is dubbed the Cheetah.
Research programs throughout the laboratory use high-performance computing to solve problems related to climate studies, transportation, the human genome, energy, materials and nanotechnology.
The Networking and Computing Technology Division is responsible for delivering information technology services to the laboratory. The division is key to ORNL being part of a national fabric of networked laboratories and educational institutions delivering outstanding science in a safe and secure manner.
The Computational Sciences and Engineering Division offers a broad range of technical and computer-related expertise in technology development and analysis, systems development and integration, and systems management to solve challenging science and technology problems. The Computational Sciences and Engineering Division helps ensure that the laboratory's vast resources are combined to deliver outstanding science and technology to some of the most challenging problems facing the nation.
"We are beginning this new directorate on an auspicious note, with major successes in the Department of Energy's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) initiative," Zacharia said. "We intend to build on this success.
"The new Computational Sciences Building, the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and partnerships with the University of Tennessee and the core universities are key to our strategy in computing."
Zacharia expects computing and computational sciences to continue to grow in the coming years as a major lab agenda and an important tool for scientific discovery.
"I see a bright future ahead for computing and for ORNL," said Zacharia, who joined the laboratory in 1987.
Zacharia earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Regional Engineering College and the University of Mississippi, respectively, and a doctorate from Clarkson University.
ORNL is a Department of Energy multiprogram facility managed by UT-Battelle.