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TACC Ramping Up Staff to Deploy Ranger, Increase Support for TeraGrid Resources

Published on December 11, 2007 by Faith Singer-Villalobos

The "Ranger" supercomputer, funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Cyberinfrastructure as the first of the new Track2 HPC acquisitions, is scheduled to be in full production at the Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC) in January 2008.

Ranger will provide unprecedented computational capabilities—504 teraflops peak performance, 125 terabytes memory and 1.7 petabytes disk—to the national open science research community. This system represents a unique opportunity to explore the challenges of petascale science from science and technology perspectives.

"Ranger will enable computational science research that has been heretofore impossible, and it will provide opportunities in computer science and technology research that are groundbreaking, from parallel algorithms to fault tolerance, from scalable visualization to next-generation programming languages," Juan Sanchez, vice president for research at The University of Texas at Austin, said. "TACC possesses the comprehensive expertise for research and development leadership in the areas needed to usher in the era of petascale science."

In preparation for Ranger, and in response to recent award wins from High Performance Computing for Science and Engineering Research and Education (HPCOPS) and Software Development for Cyberinfrastructure (SDCI), TACC has hired several new staff members in key positions across the center. These positions will increase support for TACC's TeraGrid resources.

"TACC has grown into one of the leading supercomputing centers in the world because we've hired talented staff who are committed to working as a team to build something special," TACC Director Jay Boisseau said. "We're extremely excited to add so many new people who share our vision, while bringing unique perspectives and experiences in supercomputing from other institutions to TACC."

New Strategic Programs Director and Other Positions

G.M. "Zak" Kozak has been appointed to the new position of strategic programs director, responsible for identifying, developing and managing strategic programs that fulfill TACC's mission. Kozak brings 33 years of leadership experience to his new role, including 25 years in the U.S. Army, more than 20 years in information technology, and 11 years in higher education.

As the strategic programs director, Kozak will help determine how TACC can apply its technologies and expertise to have a greater impact in strategic areas such as homeland security, emergency situation response, defense, and the space program. He will also continue in his role as the Department of Defense (DoD) User Productivity Enhancement and Technology Transfer project manager with the objective of enabling the user community to use DoD high-performance computing resources to their fullest capacity and to extend the range of applicability to DoD technical problems through training, support for software development, and technology transfer.

Other new staff members include:

  • Lars Koesterke, a researcher in the High Performance Computing group, provides leadership and technical expertise to TACC's high-performance computing research, development and support activities in the areas of performance engineering and operations. Koesterke most recently worked for the McDonald Observatory at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining TACC, Koesterke worked for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • Byoung-Do Kim, a researcher in the High Performance Computing group, provides leadership and technical expertise to TACC's high-performance computing research, development and support activities in the area of high-performance computing applications. Kim joins TACC from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
  • Paul Navratil, a visualization scientist in the Data and Information Analysis group, performs research, development and support activities involving advanced scientific visualization techniques and the evaluation of new architectures, systems and software tools to determine future research and development activities and technologies to enhance TACC user capabilities. Prior to TACC, Navratil worked at Intel Corporation and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • Steve Mock, a portal and gateway software developer in the Distributed and Grid Computing group, designs, develops, deploys and supports portals and gateways that enable researchers to use distributed advanced computing resources. His projects include the TACC User Portal, the TeraGrid User Portal, and the EnVision portal. He will begin work on life science portals in early 2008. Mock joins TACC from the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
  • Aaron Dubrow, a science and technology writer in the External Relations group, is responsible for reporting on the research and development projects undertaken by TACC. Dubrow has experience writing and developing print, video and multimedia content for scientific organizations and publications. Prior to joining TACC, he worked on projects for the Weather Channel, Dell Inc. and Apex Learning.
  • Katie Cohen, a member of TACC's Center Operations and Administration group, is responsible for a variety of projects, including accounting transactions, reporting and financial projections. Cohen joins TACC from the Texas Tech University High Performance Computing Center.


Faith Singer-Villalobos

Communications Manager | 512-232-5771

Aaron Dubrow

Science And Technology Writer

Jorge Salazar

Technical Writer/Editor | 512-475-9411