Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Dawn Levy (levyd@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


James Hack to direct National Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2008 — James J. Hack, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., has been appointed director of the National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS), a leadership computing facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory , ORNL Associate Laboratory Director for Computing and Computational Sciences Thomas Zacharia has announced.

"We are thrilled that Jim Hack is joining us to lead America's premier open computing facility," said ORNL Director Thom Mason. "Jim is a global leader in climate research and has devoted his career to gaining insight into Earth's atmosphere, where dynamics are complex and a lot is at stake. He is well suited to lead the NCCS in addressing the grand scientific challenges of this century, which include climate but also extend to fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, and even computation itself. This research supports endeavors such as developing renewable energy and gaining a better understanding of our universe."

NCCS supercomputers provided more than one-third of the simulation data jointly contributed by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation to the most recent assessment report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group that shared the 2007 Nobel peace Prize with Al Gore. Hack was one of the principal developers of the model that was run on the NCCS supercomputers.

"Jim brings to the NCCS a depth of experience wresting great science from the world's most powerful machines," Zacharia said. "The goal of supercomputing is deep insight, and with Jim's leadership the nation's top researchers will make the most of petascale computing."

Hack, with Leadership Computing Facility Project Director Arthur "Buddy" Bland, will identify major high performance computing needs from scientific and hardware perspectives and put forth strategies to meet those needs as machines evolve to the petascale and beyond.

Hack also will lead the Climate Change Initiative at ORNL, directing a team of scientists and engineers across the laboratory in advancing the state of the art in Earth system discovery and policy through enhanced scientific understanding, Earth system modeling, and computational and observational programs.

"ORNL is in an incredibly unique position to substantially advance the most challenging of scientific problems and I'm deeply honored to have been selected to play a leadership role in the laboratory's vision," Hack said. "The opportunity to help direct, advance, and articulate the value of nonlinear science is an exciting new step in my professional career. Overall, ORNL enjoys tremendous scientific momentum right now, where I see this as a time for significant scientific discoveries and advancement. I'm looking forward to being able to contribute to such an exceptional program in computational science and the important scientific insights it will reveal."

Hack headed the Climate Modeling Section at NCAR, a center sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and served as deputy director of NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Division. He served as an adjunct professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is the author or co-author of 98 scientific or technical publications.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Dynamics from Colorado State University in 1980, Hack became a research staff member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where he focused on mapping scientific algorithms to high-performance computing architectures. He moved to NCAR in 1984, where he led development of the NCAR global atmospheric model, currently called the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). His primary scientific activities have been in tropical dynamics, parameterization of moist convection, cloud processes and their modulation of radiative transfer, and diagnostic methodologies for evaluating simulation quality. He has worked on all aspects of large-scale global modeling, including development and evaluation of numerical methods, development of analysis frameworks, and implementation of global models on high-performance computer systems. He has won several NCAR incentive awards for his work on and with CAM. In 2001, he received the first Community Climate System Model Distinguished Achievement Award.

Hack participates on numerous committees, including the Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of Energy; the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison Advisory Committee, which he chairs; and the ORNL Computer Science and Mathematics Division Advisory Committee.

He has served on numerous NSF High-Performance Computing Review and Advisory Panels since the mid 1980s, on the U.S. Water Cycle Scientific Steering Group, as a co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR [Climate Variability] Process Studies and Model Improvement Panel, as a member of the U.S. Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Cloud Systems Study (GCSS) Scientific Steering Group and of the Working Group on Numerical Experimentation for the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme and the World Meteorological Organization Commission for Atmospheric Sciences. He has also participated in educational initiatives, including as a founding member of DOE's Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Program, a highly successful program with which he is still involved.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy.

For more information on the National Center for Computational Sciences, visit: http://nccs.gov/.