Careers: Interviews
A Chat with Jack Dongarra: ACM A.M. Turing Awardee (Nobel of Computer Science) in 2022 -- about Pioneering and continuing Global Contributions Resulting in World-Changing Computations. Dongarra's Algorithms and Software Fueling the Growth of High-Performance Computing and significantly impacting in dozens of areas of Computational Science from Weather forecasting, Aerospace engineering, Novel new energy paradigms, Drug discovery, AI, Large Scale Simulations, Exascale computing, new Computing Architectures, Hybrid Quantum Computing...endless

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Jack Dongarra.

Jack DongarraJack Dongarra received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Chicago State University in 1972 and a Master of Science in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of New Mexico in 1980. He worked at the Argonne National Laboratory until 1989, becoming a senior scientist. He now holds an appointment as University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Tennessee and holds the title of Distinguished Research Staff in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); Turing Fellow at Manchester University; an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department at Rice University. He is the director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at the University of Tennessee.

He specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, the use of advanced-computer architectures, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. His research includes the development, testing and documentation of high quality mathematical software. He has contributed to the design and implementation of the following open source software packages and systems: EISPACK, LINPACK, the BLAS, LAPACK, ScaLAPACK, Netlib, PVM, MPI, NetSolve, Top500, ATLAS, and PAPI. He has published over 400 articles, papers, reports and technical memoranda and he is coauthor of several books. He was awarded the IEEE Sid Fernbach Award in 2004 for his contributions in the application of high performance computers using innovative approaches; in 2008 he was the recipient of the first IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing; in 2010 he was the first recipient of the SIAM Special Interest Group on Supercomputing's award for Career Achievement; in 2011 he was the recipient of the IEEE Charles Babbage Award; in 2013 he was the recipient of the ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award for his leadership in designing and promoting standards for mathematical software used to solve numerical problems common to high performance computing, in 2019 he was awarded the SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering, in 2020 he received the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award for leadership in the area of high-performance mathematical software, and in 2022 he received the ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering contributions to numerical algorithms and software that have driven decades of extraordinary progress in computing performance and applications. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and SIAM and a Foreign Fellow of the British Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Impact on computer science and engineering

  1. Academic impacts
    Dr. Jack Dongarra's major contributions (in numerical libraries, HPC utility libraries, software standards, HPC performance benchmarking criteria) and his research (in computer science, applied mathematics, and computational science for multidisciplinary research) significantly impact all the scientific and engineering fields which are related to computations. His impacts to science and engineering are at a world level.

  2. Community establishments
    Dongarra has been instrumental in creating a tangible community of researchers focused on the highest research and technical ideals. His research efforts have become community efforts and have involved the best and the brightest in the numerical community. They have been open efforts with the software freely available to the community. Dongarra has not only built the topmost quality software but has been a major force in creating and tirelessly contributing to a worldwide technical community. Dongarra has tirelessly been promoting high-performance computing in the last 30 years. He has contributed countless invited talks to the most prestigious forums, ranging from highly-specialized technical workshops to larger multi-disciplinary international conferences.

    The International Exascale Software Project (IESP) was formed in early 2009 by Jack Dongarra and Pete Beckman from Argonne National Lab amid the growing realization that the ultrahigh resolution and data intensive methods, to which research plans in many fields are now being keyed, would inevitably require the wholesale replacement of the current HPC software. Several important studies at that time made it clear that the properties of the radical new designs of future extreme-scale platforms —massive concurrency, processor heterogeneity, constrained power budgets, and complex memory architectures— would demand equally radical innovations at all layers of the HPC software stack. The resulting roadmap describes the work required by the community to prepare for the challenges of exascale computing.

    Impact through education
    During the 32 years that Jack Dongarra has been at the University of Tennessee he has mentored a large group of students and postdocs. Over 200 students and postdocs have passed though Dongarra's research group the Innovative Computing Laboratory. He has graduated 32 PhD students,


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