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TACC Promotes Longtime Visualization Expert to Director

Published on April 5, 2018 by Faith Singer-Villalobos

The image shows the path of water through the karst limestone structure of a ground sample taken from south Florida. The rendering is streamed from Stampede to Stallion. Data courtesy of Michael Sukop, Sadé Garcia, Florida International University and Kevin Cunningham, United States Geological Survey. Visualization: Carson Brownlee, Aaron Knoll and Paul Navrátil, TACC.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin today announced that Paul Navrátil has been promoted to the position of Director of Visualization.

This role includes managing the Scalable Visualization Technologies (SVT) and Visualization Interfaces and Applications (VIA) groups, where he will direct the overall strategy and management of the visualization area at TACC. Navrátil most recently served as the deputy director of the Visualization group, prior to that serving as the manager of the SVT group for seven years, and has been with TACC for a total of 11 years.

Navrátil leads many grants and contracts as either a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI, including the Intel Visualization Center of Excellence. In this role, Navrátil worked with Intel to develop TACC's strategy for the adoption of software-defined visualization, which enables visualization on any compute resource and eliminates the need for a dedicated visualization subsystem. He has led many of TACC's remote visualization efforts, including management of large-scale visualization resources on TACC's Longhorn, Stampede and Maverick systems.

Paul Navrátil, TACC's Director of Visualization

"I'm excited about working with our outstanding visualization team to develop seamless solutions for the complete analysis life-cycle that enable more effective scientific workflows independent of data size, data velocity and computing platform," Navrátil said.

"Our aim is to make our users more effective in performing their science, whether analyzing the data from a ten thousand-core weather model or a ten thousand time-step molecular simulation, and whether they are using a high-resolution tiled display or a smart phone," he said. "We also will leverage advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to improve analytic capabilities. The future outlook is very exciting."

In his new role, Navrátil will continue to advance in situ visualization techniques, where the analysis runs at the same time as the simulation, for large-scale data to cope with the widening gap between a simulation's ability to generate data compared to its ability to write the data to disk for later analysis.

Navrátil earned his doctorate, master's and bachelor's degrees in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin as well as a bachelor's degree in Plan II Honors from the university. He has authored numerous papers and publications on scientific data visualization, irregular algorithms, and parallel systems. His work has been featured in numerous venues, both nationally and internationally, including the New York Times, Discover, and PBS News Hour.

Kelly Gaither, who previously served as TACC's Director of Visualization for 16 years, now has a joint appointment at the Dell Medical School (DMS) as an associate professor with the DMS Women's Health research team. Gaither will remain as a director and senior research scientist at TACC and split her time between the two appointments.

"The words "Big Data" seem to be used ever more frequently, but the best way for many humans to interpret large amounts of data is to *look* at a visual representation of it," said TACC Executive Director Dan Stanzione. "Fundamentally, that's what visualization is about — trying to take the very large and complicated datasets that come from modern scientific computing, and turn them into something that people can understand and gain new insight from."

"Visualization is a key component of advanced computing, and a critical part of the portfolio of activities at TACC," Stanzione said. "We are amazingly fortunate to have someone of Paul's talents bring his experience to this crucial area of the center, and we are also incredibly grateful to Kelly for so skillfully building this area of TACC over the last 15+ years, and look forward to her contributions from her new role in the Dell Medical School."

TACC provides world-class high performance computing systems and cyberinfrastructure for the U.S. open science community, including deploying and operating since its inception in 2001 more than 15 NSF-funded supercomputers and advanced visualization systems for national programs. TACC's visualization resources blend science, technology and art to bring the complexities of our world to life helping solve large-scale problems.

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Story Highlights

Paul Navrátil has been promoted to the position of Director of Visualization.

Visualization is a key component of advanced computing, and a critical part of the portfolio of activities at TACC.

Navrátil leads many grants and contracts as either a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI, including the Intel Visualization Center of Excellence. He has led many of TACC's remote visualization efforts, including management of large-scale visualization resources on TACC's Longhorn, Stampede and Maverick systems.

Kelly Gaither, who previously served as TACC's Director of Visualization for 16 years, now has a joint appointment at the Dell Medical School as an associate professor. Gaither will remain as a director and senior research scientist at TACC and split her time between the two appointments.


Contact

Faith Singer-Villalobos

Communications Manager
faith@tacc.utexas.edu | 512-232-5771

Aaron Dubrow

Science And Technology Writer
aarondubrow@tacc.utexas.edu

Jorge Salazar

Technical Writer/Editor
jorge@tacc.utexas.edu | 512-475-9411