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CRD Director David Brown Announces Reorg for Strategic Alignment & Clarity

November 4, 2014

Computational Research Division Director David Brown announced a reorganization of the Computational Research Division at the October CRD All-Hands meeting, creating four new Departments aligned with CRD’s strategic directions, effective November 3, 2014. Three of the four Departments are aligned with the technical capabilities of the Division staff and recognize the Laboratory’s significant strengths in applied mathematics, computer science and data science and technology research. A fourth Department, Computational Science, reflects the increasing emphasis of high performance computing in scientific discovery, and the strong computational research efforts within CRD in a number of important scientific areas.

Brown also called out the new Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA), directed by James Sethian. CAMERA is an integrated, cross disciplinary center aimed at inventing, developing the fundamental new mathematics required to capitalize on experimental investigations at DOE Scientific User Facilities.

The new Applied Mathematics Department is led by Esmond Ng, and includes the Applied Numerical Algorithms Group, led by Phil Colella, The Mathematics Group, led by James Sethian, and the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE), currently led by Esmond Ng in an acting capacity. A job posting for the CCSE Group Lead will appear shortly.

The new Computer Science Department is led by John Shalf, and focuses on Computer Science research of importance to DOE, particularly in the area of extreme scale computing. The new groups in the CS Department are Performance & Algorithms (PAG), led by Erich Strohmaier, Computer Architectures (CAG), led by John Shalf in an acting capacity, and Computer Languages and System Software (CLSSG), led by Erich Strohmaier in an acting capacity. The CAG and CLSSG group lead positions will be posted shortly.

“The establishment of a separate Data Science and Technology Department in CRD recognizes the increasing importance of Data Intensive Science at the Laboratory and within the DOE,” says Brown. Four technology groups make up this department, led by Deborah Agarwal: the Data Analytics & Visualization Group, led by E. Wes Bethel, the Scientific Data Managent Group, led by Kesheng (John) Wu, the Usable Software Systems Group, led by Lavanya Ramakrishnan, and the Integrated Data Frameworks Group, led by Dan Gunter.

The new Computational Science Department, which Brown will lead in an acting capacity until a new Department Head can be identified, brings together a number of groups within CRD whose focus is on the advancement of science, using sophisticated computational methods and software. Groups in this Department are the Biosciences Computing Group, led by Victor Markowitz, I-Min (Amy) Chen and Ken Chu, the Computational Cosmology Center, led by Julian Borrill, the Computational Chemistry, Materials & Climate Group, led by Wibe (Bert) de Jong, and the Physics and X-Ray Science Computing Group, led by Craig Tull. The Department Head position will also be posted shortly.

Brown emphasized the importance of cross-organizational collaboration in advancing CRD’s strategic initiatives. “Our research continues to be ever more interdisciplinary, and to succeed, we need to work effectively both across CRD and across the Laboratory”. For this reason, he has established two standing committees to help promote collaboration and sharing of knowledge across the organization:

  • The CRD Scientific Engagement Council (SEC), chaired by Division Deputy for Scientific Engagement, Peter Nugent, will facilitate existing collaborations with the other Berkeley Lab Scientific Divisions and work to identify new opportunities for scientific partnerships both within and outside the Laboratory. Membership on the Council will include the Group Leads from the Computational Science Department, as points of contact for their respective science areas, the Department Heads, and representatives from the other CRD groups who are actively engaged in scientific partnerships with other parts of the Laboratory. There will also be representatives from NERSC and ESnet on the Council.
  • The Software Engineering and Management Committee (SEMC), to be chaired by Dan Gunter, Group Leader for Integrated Data Frameworks, will work to improve awareness, sharing, deployment, quality and impact of CRD software. There will be three important subcommittees, each with their own leads and team: the Software Curation and Inventory team will create an maintain a catalog of software where CRD staff and funding were significant contributors; the Software Engineering and Training subcommittee will identify common technology and infrastructure for supporting the catalog of CRD software, and a set of best practices for software engineering; the Software Technology Portfolio Management subcommittee will work to develop mechanisms for supporting and improving CRD’s software portfolio.