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The global publication of record for High Performance Computing
HPCwire's People to Watch 2005

From benchmarking battles to cluster collaborations, the universe of high-performance computing truly has evolved over the past year. The advances HPCwire has reported on certainly could not have occurred without the work of some talented people. So HPCwire is proud to present our annual "People to Watch" list, which chronicles the year's most influential and interesting luminaries in the HPC field. Several of the notables made the list by making waves in the past year or so. Others seem to be building steam and should be noted for their potential impact on the industry. But above all, our list, compiled by HPCwire with the help of past winners and a cast of industry insiders, represents the foundation of a new era in high-performance computing. -- Tim Curns, HPCwire Editor

Stanley C. Ahalt | Thom H. Dunning Jr. | Robert H. "Bo" Ewald | Peter A. Freeman | Eng Lim Goh
David K. Kahaner | William T.C. Kramer | Cherri M. Pancake | Steven L. Scott | Andy Shearer
Rick Stevens | David Turek | Srinidhi Varadarajan | Fred Weber | Deborah L. Wince-Smith


Stanley C. Ahalt
Executive director
Ohio Supercomputer Center

Stanley C. Ahalt

Why he's worth watching: Because he's an upstart. We appreciate Stan most as the inspiration behind "blue collar computing for industrial HPC," a concept that he has pioneered. He's scrappy and yearns to bring HPC to the masses. He's worked wonders at OSC, adding a research component and bringing the center to national prominence.

Aside from his work at OSC, where he leads a high performance computing and networking infrastructure that serves as an enabler for a diverse community, including education, academic research, industry and state government, Ahalt also is academic lead for Signal and Image Processing (SIP) in the Department of Defense's High Performance Computing Modernization Program's Programming Environment and Training (HPCMP PET) initiative. In addition, he's a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at The Ohio State University.

Thom H. Dunning Jr.
Director
National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Thom H. Dunning Jr.

Why he's worth watching: In his first year leading the NCSA, this prestigious chemist has met all the huge -- and myriad -- challenges head on, with a heady mix of steadfast determination and self-effacing humor. He looks like the right guy to skillfully balance the NCSA's legacy as a source of supercomputing resources with its future as a scientific research partner. We hope he will maintain the NCSA's diversity, both of people and programs.

Dunning also serves as distinguished chair for research excellence in chemistry as well as a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the university in January 2005. An accomplished, respected scientist, he is looked to provide the research skills and overall guidance to fulfill NCSA's mission of enabling scientific discovery. His recent research has focused on the development of techniques for the accurate solution of the electronic Schrodinger equation.

Robert H. "Bo" Ewald
CEO
Linux Networx Inc.

Robert H. 'Bo' Ewald

Why he's so watchable: Because he was just named CEO at Linux Networx. In basic terms, we keep an eye on Bo because we've been watching him for so long; he's an industry legend. As a user, he was one of the original Cray-ons -- way back in the 1970s -- and he's been a key mover at both Cray Research Inc. and SGI. Aside from being a motivational leader, Bo brings a wealth of insider knowledge to up-and-coming LN.

Ewald has built an impressive track record serving in executive positions in the HPC industry. He was at Cray Research Inc. from 1984 to 1996, serving as president and COO the last three years. During his tenure, the company grew from about $200 million to more than $900 million. He also has served as executive vice president and COO for Silicon Graphics Inc. Ewald began his management career at Los Alamos National Laboratory as head of its Computing and Communications Division.

Peter A. Freeman
Assistant director
National Science Foundation

Peter A. Freeman

Why he's worth watching: His tenure at NSF is up in less than two years. So much of his funding is determined by peer review, so what will be the fate decided regarding the much-discussed national "shared cyberinfrastructure"? And how will he deal with his declared intention to focus on diversity issues?

After a distinguished career as the founding dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, he took the position with the NSF for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). With the NSF in the midst of making major decisions about funding new IT initiatives, Freeman heads the organization's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, which manages the country's three biggest supercomputing centers.

Eng Lim Goh
SVP & CTO
Silicon Graphics Inc.

Eng Lim Goh

Why he's worth watching: He's one of the quiet heroes of the HPC ecosystem. Despite the recent economic and restructuring challenges in his workplace, Goh continues to go-go-go with new product innovations. Worth particular attention is that he's in charge of SGI's Project Ultraviolet, the incubator for the company's next-generation, science-driven computer architecture.

A 14-year veteran at SGI, he became one of the chief scientists in 1998 and assumed CTO duties in 2001. He is co-author of SGI's recommendation to the high-end computing revitalization task force (HECRTF) for federal funding of key corresponding technologies. Known as a strong proponent of next-generation computer systems designed specifically for applications performance, he's also an advocate for computational density and a balanced multi-paradigm approach.

David K. Kahaner
Founding director
Asian Technology Information Program

David K. Kahaner

Why he's worth watching: "Mr. IT Asia" is a well-connected forward thinker who works the frontlines. Constantly traveling throughout Asia, he spreads the word not just on what people are talking about now, but what they soon will need to know. David's a relentless networker, and not only in the more developed regions of Asia, but also Thailand and Vietnam too. He serves the entire Asian community and is masterful in connecting scientists from all over the region.

Kahaner has been examining information-rich technologies in Asia for many years. He formerly served as associate director of the U.S. Office of Naval Research Asia (ONR) before spending more than two decades at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards. One of his goals is the development of a technology-based information service that focuses on Asian activities but will be of strategic and business value to Westerners and Asians alike.

William T.C. Kramer
General manager
National Energy Research Scientific Computing

William T.C. Kramer

Why he's worth watching: Because he's chair of SC '05, that's why. But it only begins there. He secured Sir Bill (Gates, that is) as the event's keynoter. A visionary among SC leaders with a calm but rock-solid demeanor, Bill is building a legacy for this great event. While keeping the reins tight on the budget, he has watched exhibit space sell out. We can't wait for November.

Kramer's "real" job is being responsible for NERSC's computational facilities and support. Before coming to Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he was with the NASA Ames Research Center, where he was chief of Advanced Air Transportation Technologies and was responsible for creating and implementing an R&D program for designing revolutionary new air traffic management systems. From 1988 to 1994, he was branch chief of NASA Computational Services, responsible for all aspects of operations and customer service for NASA's principal supercomputer center.

Cherri M. Pancake
Professor, computer science and associate director for research
Oregon State University

Cherri M. Pancake

Why she's worth watching: Because she's so electric as the voice of the common folk. She's also driven as a persuasive influence on the leaders of the HPC community, especially in her efforts around usability engineering. Please emerge from the shadows, Cherri, the HPC community sure could use more of your exuberant energy.

Most of Pancake's research focuses on usability engineering, studying how software can be engineered to be more usable, especially for practicing scientists and engineers. Recently, she has focused on problems particular to scientists and engineers when they need to find and access large databases across the Internet. Her Pancake Research Group pioneered the use of multi-level web-to-database interfaces to customize access to meet the needs of such diverse groups as middle-school children and professional scientists. Of late she has been active in data discovery, as it applies to our natural environment, bioinformatics and earthquake engineering.

Steven L. Scott
CTO
Cray Inc.

Steven L. Scott

Why he's worth watching: Because Cray is HPC's 900-pound gorilla. All CTOs are smart, that's a given, but what makes Steve so intriguing is he's no one-trick pony. He's been chief architect for several successful products, most notably the T3E system and the X1, Cray's "comeback" product. And through Cray's ups and downs, he has remained a sweetheart of a guy who listens as well as he thinks and executes.

Scott was chief architect on Cray's X1 scalable vector supercomputer, which has helped make possible advancements in weather and climate prediction, aerospace engineering, automotive design as well as a variety of government and academic research applications. He joined Cray -- then Cray Research -- in 1992. He architected the groundbreaking Cray T3E, the world's best-selling massively parallel processing system and the first supercomputer to sustain one teraflop in a real-world application. The holder of 14 U.S. patents, Scott currently is designing the integrated infrastructure that will drive Cray's next-generation supercomputer.

Andy Shearer
Director
Centre for Supercomputing in Ireland, National University of Ireland Galway

Andy Shearer

Why he's worth watching: Ireland recently started its supercomputing efforts with an award for a national facility, and Andy is heading it. We also like him because his head is in the sky (he's a serious astronomer) yet his feet are firmly on the ground.

His research interests are astrophysics (optical pulsars, observations, data analysis and modeling), medical imaging (enhancement of X-Rays), imaging (the development of parallel image deconvolution systems) as well as Grid and Meta computing.

Rick Stevens
Director, high-performance computing and communications program
Argonne National Laboratory

Rick Stevens

Why he's worth watching: While seasoned HPCites need no explanation as to why Stevens is so influential, for newbies, his appeal is of "E.F. Hutton" proportions -- everybody listens. Besides "ponytailed," to describe him in one word, we'd say "powerbroker."

Stevens holds no less than four titles at ANL. Aside from his work in HPC, he's also director of the mathematics and computer science division, head of the computing and communications future laboratory and acting associate laboratory director for physical, biological and computing sciences. He started the futures lab in 1994 as a research group to investigate problems in large-scale scientific visualization and advanced collaboration environments. He's also served as a professor in the computer science department at the University of Chicago since 1999.

David Turek
VP, deep computing
IBM

David Turek

Why he's worth watching: Because he's the man at IBM who is responsible for delivering the products and services to meet the needs of high-performance computing. In addition, Dave doesn't take his high-profile task lightly; he knows Big Blue plays an absolutely critical role in creating leadership for HPC worldwide.

Now in his fourth decade at IBM, he is responsible for what the company calls its "Deep Computing" business; in other words, the wares and services that meet the diverse demands of high performance computing customers. Most recently, Turek was responsible for IBM's Linux Cluster business and launched the company's efforts around supercomputing on demand as well as high performance Grid computing.

Srinidhi Varadarajan
Professor
Virginia Tech

Srinidhi Varadarajan

Why he's worth watching: Because his name created such buzz, coming up most often when industry insiders were asked who to include on this year's People to Watch list. While his System X marks the spot, the real diamond is his Deja Vu fault-tolerant software.

Architect of System X, the third fastest supercomputer of 2004, located at the Terascale Computing Facility at Virginia Tech. Consisting of 1,100 Mac G5s, it was built for only $5.2 million yet offered a sustained performance of 10.28 Teraflops.

Fred Weber
Corporate VP & CTO
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Fred Weber

Why he's worth watching: His cunning 32-bit/64-bit bit strategy has accelerated AMD's position in high-end computing. We also admire his stance as a "David" relentlessly fighting the good fight in the ongoing battle vs. the Goliath named Intel.

In the mid-1990s, Weber envisioned bringing the power of 64-bit x86-based computing to everyone. This led to the 2003 launch of AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 processors, which offer an admirable mix of investment protection and exceptional performance through simultaneous 32-bit/64-bit operation. In 2003, he delivered his vision for "x86 Everywhere," revealing the undeniable benefits of migrating from low-power x86-based microprocessors to a host of new products, including PDAs, mobile phones, TVs, set-top boxes and storage peripherals.

Deborah L. Wince-Smith
President
Council on Competitiveness

Deborah L. Wince-Smith

Why she's worth watching: At a time when more and more jobs are going offshore, Wince-Smith is leading the CoC's mission of helping the U.S. stay ahead of our global competition.

Wince-Smith, who has headed the CoC since December 2001, is an internationally recognized expert on science and technology policy, innovation strategy, technology commercialization and global competition. She serves as corporate chair and director of several high technology companies as well as on boards, committees, and policy councils of numerous national nonprofit organizations, including the University of Chicago Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, the Council of the Woodrow Wilson Center as well as the University of California Review Committees for Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.