Meet Gina Tourassi, director of the National Center for Computational Science

News Art – This is an ongoing series of profiles on the directors of the Department of Energy’s utility bureau of the Department of Energy (DOE). These scientists lead a variety of research institutes that provide researchers with state-of-the-art equipment such as accelerometers, radiators, supercomputers, light sources and neutrons, as well as nano-world, environment and atmosphere.

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Computer science has come a long way since Gina Turrasi began her career. Turasi studied programming from QBasic in the 1980s. It is a programming environment that has not been integrated with Microsoft operating systems for over 20 years. When she first discovered her love for computing, computer scientists were developing artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms from scratch.

While studying at Aristotle’s Thessaloniki College of Physics in Greece, Turasi studied mathematics and physics. These courses motivated her to pursue postgraduate studies in biomedical engineering. At Duke University, she realized that she had a great love for research and computers. Turasi decided to move to a larger data analytics, computing model and AI for healthcare delivery. Turasi spent 16 years in the Department of Radiology at Duke University School of Medicine. She then embarked on a new adventure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where she was hired to lead the Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering.

Today, Turasi is the director of the National Center for Computational Science (NCCS) at ORNL. There, she is leading the center’s staff in a coordinated initiative of world-class computer infrastructure programs and projects. These initiatives include efforts to launch the country’s first exascale system HPE Cray EX Frontier in ORNL. Exascale supercomputers can work with one quintal per second or 1 with 18 zeros. NCCS hosts the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE science utility.

“I am delighted to be working with NCCS staff to accelerate the development of computer and information infrastructure,” Tursi said. “In the ever-changing scientific and economic environment, open science is of great benefit to the country, which makes it meaningful every day.”

Super Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC), or Super Computer, Gives scientists the ability to model real-world situations in new detail. It enables scientists to study areas that cannot be explored by experimentation, observation, or theory alone. Computational scientists write complex mathematical formulas that can be performed by these giant systems. The systems help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Scientists can use supercomputers to improve the safety and performance of nuclear power plants and aircraft. Accelerate the development of new drugs and advanced materials. You can even understand how the climate around the world is changing. Models on OLCF’s supercomputers tested for hurricanes, fuels, diseases, and clean energy.

Director’s background:

After completing her postgraduate studies at Duke University, Turasi earned a doctorate in radiology from the Duke University Medical Center. In her first year, she began her academic career at the National Institutes of Health. For the next 16 years, Turasi served as an Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, and Assistant Professor at Duke University Medical School.

A.D. In 2011, Turasi joined ORNL as director of the Center for Biomedical Science and Engineering. She is employed by ORNL to develop a research portfolio. In 2013, she became the director of the ORNL Institute of Health Information Science. A.D. In 2019, three months before the Covenant-19 epidemic hit the United States, Turasi became director of the NCCS.

“I believe personal and professional growth comes from taking risks, solving new challenges, accepting change and adapting.” “The position of NSC Director meets many of the above criteria.”

Turasi led the team in preparing to install and launch the Frontier system. Frontier offers world-class traditional scientific modeling and simulation capabilities, leading the world through artificial intelligence and data analytics.

As director of the NCCS, Turasi continues to do research on hand. In addition to her current role in the NCCS, she runs the National Cancer Institute and the DOE Partnership. The collaboration is accelerating advances in the use of computers to predict cancer.

The institution is dead-

The OLCF was established in 2004 to provide leadership computational resources to researchers from government, academia and industry. At that time, individual programs received 100 times more computing power than in other facilities.

From ORNL’s first Cray X-MP system in the early 1980s to the present day, OLCF has more than a billion times more power than the 200-PetFlop Summit supercomputer. OLCF is now on the verge of offering the first Excel system in the US with a 1.5-exaflop Frontier supercomputer. A.D. It will start in 2021 and will be available to users by 2022. NCCS holds the OLCF in the ORNL Computing and Computing Science Directorate.

“The OLCF – and the extension NCCS – has been a global leader in the HPC for almost 30 years,” Turasi said. “When we talk about facilities like NCCS, we often forget that it is not technology that makes them shine, but individuals who do it.

Researchers can find time on OLCF systems, including Frontier, through three placement programs: the INCITE program, the ALCC (Computational Challenge Character Challenge), and the Director’s Intuitive Program.

Touresi emphasizes the unique and unmatched capabilities of the NCCS and OLCF. Both bodies work to meet a wide range of needs.

“OLCF is unique in its ability to consistently deliver the country’s fastest computer test for open science. “NCCS is unique in that it incorporates the OLCF into a larger HPC ecosystem that broadly and systematically addresses the country’s computational and information needs.”

Turasi highlighted some of the major achievements of the current OLCF leadership system.

“The conference helped the scientific community reach new heights in forecasting, gain new insights into materials, design efficient and sustainable jet engines, develop and deploy AI solutions for the National Cancer Monitoring Program, and better understand the coronavirus. Development and Drug Target, ”Tourassi said.

She said the upcoming freter system would bring further improvements.

What is Exascale?

Exascale computer systems With the ability to solve calculations five times faster than most recent supercomputers, one quintal – or more than 10.18– Calculations per second. As the next step in computer performance, XSK will enable scientists to develop the most important technologies for energy, medicine, materials and more. OLCF is launching one of the first exascale systems in the United States. For more information, please see DOE Explains… Exascale Computing.

Normal day

Tourist Day includes back-to-back meetings. The division covers a wide range of computer programs, staff management, and research projects she has led.

“I enjoy regular one-on-one meetings with class leaders and team leaders, which I think are important to stay in touch with them, discuss their challenges and support them in achieving their goals.”

Typical test:

OLCF supports many scientific projects such as biology, chemistry, geoscience, engineering and energy. The OLCF provides many times more power to researchers than computer and data analytics resources.

One project supported by OLCF includes the study of superconductors. These are materials with zero electrical resistance when reached at sufficiently low temperatures. Superconductors can be useful for technologies such as magnets, MRI, composite devices, and particle accelerators. A team led by Steven Louise and Junglu Lee at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is studying copper-based superconductors to understand the interaction between negative charge particles and other particles in these materials. The team developed a model of the material on the surface and confirmed that the negatively charged particles in these materials would interact with quantum vibration more than previously thought. That made experimental “kinks” or sudden changes in the relationship between a particle’s energy and the speed it carries.

Another project has developed an AI-based workflow to optimize the protein size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The team, led by Romy Amaro of San Diego University of California and Arvind Ramamanatan of Argonne National Laboratory, undertook a workshop on Summit to gain an in-depth understanding of growth and to accelerate the search for drugs or vaccines that reduce the spread of the virus. Reduce the impact. The team simulated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in many areas, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus envelope made from 305 million atoms. It is one of the most common simulations of the virus to date. The team was awarded the GPC-Bell-Computer Covide-19 Research Association for its work on the HPC.

Best advice for a future director in the OLCF

According to Turasi, success at NCCS requires strategic thinking not only in terms of short-term requirements and supply, but also in terms of long-term computation and information needs of the scientific community. She says NCCS has a good reputation for delivering unparalleled computer infrastructure to scientific research but cannot rely on past achievements. As science continues to evolve, the center’s computing tools and capabilities must constantly evolve to meet emerging needs.

Concerning future counseling, Turasi said: “It is important to understand that the role is to think strategically. We must always be vigilant and vigilant in expanding our portfolio of capabilities, taking into account the computational needs of the scientific community. DOE management computing facilities are a disturbing force. They shape the way we think and the way we do science.

A.D. For details about the DOE Science User Utility Office, please go to User Utilities.

To read more articles for the Office of the Director of Science Utilities, please visit the User Directory Profiles profile.

DOE explains… Provides direct explanations of keywords and concepts in basic science. It also outlines how these concepts can be applied to the work of the Department of Energy’s science bureau while helping the United States advance in research in the scientific spectrum. For more information on Excel Computing and DOE research in this area, please visit DOE Explains… Exascale Computing.. ”


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