Zarija Lukić is a research scientist in the Computational Cosmology Center. He earned his astrophysics Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a postdoctoral researcher in the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory (2008-2011) and the Computational Research Division of Lawrence Berkeley Lab (2011-2013).
Zarija's research combines (astro)physics, high-performance computing and "big data". He has published research articles in both physics and computational science venues. The main topics of his research are the formation and evolution of the structure of the Universe and different ways of determining cosmological parameters from sky surveys. His studies involve modeling the Lyman-alpha absorption observed in spectra of distant quasars, the evolution and properties of clusters of galaxies, and the internal structure and statistical properties of dark matter halos, among topics.
An essential part of Zarija's research is finding new computational algorithms for modeling physical systems – building simulation codes that can efficiently run on the largest supercomputers, as well as algorithms for extracting scientific insights from big data sets produced with these simulation codes. Over the past 15+ years, he has used many leading machines at different supercomputer centers, including NERSC, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Los Alamos Supercomputer Center and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF). He has been the principal investigator (P.I.) and co-P.I. on some of the largest computing allocations in the U.S. He is currently LBL P.I. on SciDAC-4 project "Accelerating HEP Science: Inference and Machine Learning at Extreme Scales", and on ECP project "Computing the Sky at Extreme Scales".
In addition to astrophysics, Zarija's research also includes topics in applied nuclear physics. He has published research on the practical use of cosmic rays to identify materials and remotely diagnose the state of damaged reactor cores in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.