John A. Turner with the Summit supercomputer

John A Turner

Computational Engineering Program Director

Dr. John A. Turner has almost 30 years of experience applying computational science to challenging problems ranging from nuclear energy and stockpile stewardship to battery safety. He is currently the Computational Engineering Program Director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), focusing on bringing advanced computational science expertise and resources to applied energy challenges. He is a Distinguished R&D Staff Member at ORNL, the ORNL lead for the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program [1] and Principal Investigator for two Exascale Computing Projects [3] (Additive Manufacturing, ExaAM, and Accelerated Libraries for Exascale, ALExa). In the past Dr. Turner has served as Group Leader for Computational Engineering & Energy Sciences, Chief Computational Scientist for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL[4], and Principal Investigator for the Consortium for Advanced Battery Simulation (CABS) [2]. He is also a Joint Faculty Professor in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education at the Univ. of Tennessee in Knoxville.

After completion of a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University, Dr. Turner joined Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and worked in radiation transport, fluid flow, and numerical methods. He was one of the original developers of the Truchas computer code, developed as part of the NNSA/ASC program for metal casting and welding simulation, and now being applied to metal additive manufacturing.

In 1997 John left LANL to join Blue Sky Studios, a computer animation company outside New York City, earning credits on the Academy Award-nominated feature film “Ice Age” as well as the Oscar-winning short animated film “Bunny”.

In 2001 Dr. Turner returned to LANL and became Group Leader of the Computational Physics Group (CCS-2), a group of over 70 Ph.D. scientists, students, and other staff conducting research in modeling & simulation of physical phenomena for applications ranging from ocean & climate to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy systems. He led an internally-funded R&D effort to investigate hybrid computing architectures such as video cards (GPUs) as high-performance co-processors, and subsequently led the Advanced Algorithms & Applications team for the Roadrunner supercomputer. Roadrunner augmented standard processors with enhanced versions of the processor used in PlayStation 3 game consoles, and was the first system to achieve a sustained performance exceeding 1 PetaFlop/s (1015 operations per second).

In 2008 John moved to ORNL to form CEES, a new group focused on developing and applying advanced simulation tools to applications such as nuclear energy and electrical energy storage. 

[1] Launched by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EEREAdvanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), HPC4Mfg ( applies HPC expertise and capabilities to industry challenges to optimize processes and reduce energy consumption.

[2] CABS is a joint project between ORNL, SNL, ANL, and LBNL and is part of the Computer Aided Engineering for Batteries (CAEBAT) program in the Vehicle Technologies office of EERE.

[3] ExaAM is a joint project between ORNL, LLNL, LANL, and NIST and is part of the Exascale Computing Project (

[4] CASL ( is a DOE Innovation Hub that brings together national laboratories, universities, and industry to apply advanced modeling and simulation to challenges in nuclear energy.

2015 – UT-Battelle Significant Event Award for the release of the Virtual Integrated Battery Environment (VIBE)

2014 – International Data Corporation (IDC) High-Performance Computing (HPC) Innovation Excellence Award for core physics simulations of the Westinghouse AP1000® PWR startup core using CASL’s Virtual Environment for Reactor Application (VERA)

2013 – UT-Battelle Significant Event Award for Deployment of the first "Computational Test Stand" for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-Water Reactors (CASL), the ORNL-led DOE Innovation Hub on Modeling and Simulation for Nuclear Energy

2012 – UT-Battelle Significant Event Award for the release of version 2.0 of the CASL Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) software2011 – UT-Battelle Recognition for exceptional mentoring of Research Alliance in Math and Science summer student

2011 – UT-Battelle Significant Event Award for support to the US Department of Energy in response to the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors

2010 – UT-Battelle Legacy Achievement Award for successfully capturing the Department of Energy’s first Energy Innovation Hub

2008 - Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Performance Award recipient as member of Roadrunner Team

2007 - Los Alamos Awards Program (LAAP) recipient for Roadrunner Advanced Algorithms Assessment Team achievements

2007 - Los Alamos Awards Program (LAAP) recipient for FY07 Entrepreneurial activities

2007 - Los Alamos Awards Program (LAAP) recipient for leadership

1989 - Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society

1983 - Institute of Nuclear Power Operations scholarship recipient

1982 - Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Fraternity