Oak Ridge National Laboratory has hired David Womble, a leader in high-performance computing and former executive at Sandia National Laboratories, to direct its artificial intelligence work.
Womble began as AI Program Director on October 30, a press release said. AI stands for artificial intelligence.
Womble’s responsibilities include guiding ORNL’s AI and machine learning strategy for high-performance computing, ensuring broad scientific impacts to the missions of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and providing long-range program planning and project leadership, the press release said.
“In more than three decades in computing, Womble has won two R&D100 awards and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize, awarded each year ‘to recognize outstanding achievement in high-performance computing,'” the press release said.
Prior to joining ORNL, Womble spent 30 years at Sandia National Laboratories, where he served as a senior manager and program deputy for advanced simulation and computing, or ASC, the press release said. The ASC program is responsible for developing and deploying modeling and simulation capabilities, including hardware and software, in support of Sandia’s nuclear weapons program, the release said.
During his tenure at Sandia, Womble made numerous contributions across the computing spectrum including in high-performance computing, numerical mathematics, linear solvers, scalable algorithms, and I/O (input/output). He established the Computer Science Research Institute and led Sandia’s seismic imaging project in DOE’s Advanced Computational Technologies Initiative.
“Artificial intelligence and machine learning represent the next generation in data analytics and have tremendous potential in science and engineering and commercial applications,” Womble said in the press release. “I am excited to be part of ORNL’s world-class research team and look forward to spearheading the development and application of the laboratory’s new AI capabilities.”
ORNL currently boasts two R&D 100 awards and 10 patents related to its AI research, and the addition of Womble is one of several moves by the laboratory to build on that foundation to help shape the AI state of the art and apply it to problems of national and international importance, the press release said.
The laboratory, which is currently home to Titan, the nation’s most powerful computer for science, will soon launch Summit, which thanks to its combination of IBM POWER9 central processing units (CPUs) and NVIDIA Volta graphics processing units (GPUs) is being billed as the world’s “smartest,” or AI-ready, high-performance computing system. ORNL’s partnership with NVIDIA has also resulted in a series of “deep learning” workshops aimed at assisting the laboratory’s researchers in harnessing the power of deep learning to rapidly accelerate breakthroughs across the scientific spectrum, the press release said. And the laboratory has recently partnered with the University of Tennessee’s Bredesen Center on a joint Data Science and Engineering Ph.D. program aimed at bringing an expanded data expertise to some of DOE’s most pressing problems, the release said.
ORNL is a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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