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Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Research Staff Honored with Seven Director’s Awards for Exceptional Achievement

October 10, 2023

By Linda Vu

Seven Director’s Awards for Exceptional Achievement will be awarded to Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences staff—in the Applied Math and Computational Research Division (AMCR), Scientific Data Division (SciData), Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), and National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)—at an awards ceremony held on Wednesday, November 8 at 3:00 p.m. PT in 50 Auditorium. The event will be live-streamed at

The Director’s Awards program recognizes the significant achievements of Lab employees. Each year, these awards are given for accomplishments, leadership, collaboration, multi-disciplinary science, cross-divisional projects, and commitment to excellence supporting the Lab’s mission and strategic goals.

Here are this year’s Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Area award recipients:

Zhi Jackie YaoEarly Scientific Career: Zhi Jackie Yao

This award category recognizes scientists early in their careers (typically less than 10 years after their Ph.D.) who have made substantial contributions leading to important progress in an area of research or completion of a project.

Applied Math and Computational Research (AMCR) Division research scientist Zhi Jackie Yao was recognized for embracing the spirit of co-design and emerging as a critical cross-area leader of Berkeley Lab’’s emerging microelectronics initiatives.

IDEA Award – Mentorship: Deb Agarwal, Ann Almgren, Lisa Claus, Rebecca Hartman-Baker, and Susan Lucas

Five headshots of the women who are this year's IDEA Award Mentorship honorees.

This year, 27 researchers across the Lab were recognized for their significant efforts to foster belonging and access to opportunities for career advancement for employees regardless of background.

Among those honored for building the critical foundations of a complex mentoring ecosystem that fulfills different employee needs around mentorship while also modeling the value of team science and cross-lab collaboration over three years are Computing Sciences’ Deb Agarwal (former SciData Division Director), Ann Almgren (AMCR), Lisa Claus (NERSC), Rebecca Hartman-Baker (NERSC), and Susan Lucas (ESnet).

Monica HernandezIDEA Award – Outreach: Monica Hernandez

This new award category honors significant efforts to increase current and future diverse representation at the Lab. AMCR's Monica Hernandez was recognized for her exemplary and sustained efforts to operationalize IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability) in the dissemination and outreach of quantum information science and technology at the Lab, including bilingual content for communities underrepresented in the field, thereby inspiring diversity and representation.

Ann AlmgrenScientific: Ann Almgren

Ann Almgren, Applied Mathematics Department Head, was recognized for her leadership in algorithm development, software design, and applications that have led to transformative developments in scientific computing. Through the Exascale Computing Project, she has delivered exascale simulation capability spanning a wide range of applications to the scientific community.

This award category honors exceptional scientific or technical contributions leading to significant progress in an area of research or completion of a project.

Scientific: The Superfacility Team

Collage image with 24 headshots of Berkeley Lab CS Director's Award Winners for their contributions to Superfacility.

A group of cross-division researchers, computer scientists, and engineers were honored for developing and demonstrating the revolutionary Superfacility concept, coupling high performance computing, networking, services, and tools with a range of experimental and observational science facilities spanning multiple science domains. NERSC’s William Arndt, Debbie Bard, Johannes Blaschke, Shane Canon, Ravi Cheema, Bjoern Enders, Lisa Gerhardt, Annette Greiner, Doug Jacobsen, Stefan Lasiewski, Jason Lee, Kelly Rowland, Chris Samuel, Ashwin Selvarajan, David Skinner (posthumous), Cory Snavely, Laurie Stephey, Rollin Thomas, Gabor Torok, and Becci Totzke worked with SciData’s Shreyas Cholia and Alex Sim and ESnet’s Chin Guok, Damian Hazen, and Xi Yang on the award-winning project.

Scientific: WarpX Team

12 people standing on a stage in front of a screen with an image honoring the 2022 winners of the ACM Gordon Bell Prize.

The WarpX team, which includes Ann Almgren (AMCR), John Bell (AMCR), Arianna Formenti (ATAP), Marco Garten (ATAP), Kevin Gott (NERSC), Junmin Gu (SciData), Axel Huebl (ATAP), Revathi Jambunathan (AMCR), Hannah Klion (AMCR), Prabhat Kumar (AMCR), Remi Lehe (ATAP), Andrew Myers (AMCR), Ryan Sandberg (ATAP), Olga Shapoval (ATAP), Jean-Luc Vay (ATAP), Weiqun Zhang (AMCR), Edoardo Zoni (ATAP), was recognized for developing an innovative accelerator modeling development code, WarpX, which pushed forward the state-of-the-art in algorithmic innovation and high performance computing at exascale — achievements made in the Berkeley Lab tradition of team science.

Last year, the team also received the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize for their work in advancing the design of particle accelerators.

Early Scientific Career: Kanupriya Pande

AMCR and Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Division scientist Kanupriya Pande was recognized for developing a new algorithm that allows fully automated and robust alignment and reconstruction of high-res X-ray tomography data.

About Berkeley Lab

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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