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Advanced Comput, Math & Data
Staff Awards & Honors

July 2009

Ian Gorton and Chris Oehmen Win Laboratory Director Science and Engineering Awards

Congratulations to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Dr. Ian Gorton and Dr. Chris Oehmen, both from the FCSD, on winning this year's Laboratory Director's Science and Engineering Awards.  They are among four staff members at PNNL this year to be recognized with these prestigious awards.

Gorton, Associate Division Director in the Computational Sciences & Mathematics Division, received the Laboratory Director's Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement. Gorton is a recognized international leader for solving challenging technical problems using innovative software engineering approaches, particularly in software architectures.  Gorton has a reputation for carrying out leading-edge computer science research and producing innovative software tools that have high impact on real-world computational science applications.

MeDICi (Middleware for Data Intensive Computing) and other tools developed by Gorton and his team form the foundation for building distributed, high-performance, data-intensive computing applications in a range of application areas including bioinformatics, cyber security, and atmospheric sciences. MeDICi is a middleware platform (computer software that connects software components or applications) that makes it easy to integrate separate codes into complex applications that operate as a data analysis pipeline.  The MeDICi framework is the first step in an evolving development project to create an underlying architecture for high-performance analytical applications. Importantly, the MeDICi technology is open source and can be freely downloaded for building complex software applications.  In 2008, MeDICi formed the core of a novel bioinformatics application that was entered in, and won, the Super-Computing 2008 Analytics Challenge.

Gorton's research efforts have led to numerous journal and conference papers. He has authored 2 books, 29 journal papers, 76 peer-reviewed international conference papers, and 15 invited journal/conference papers. He also has edited 4 books. His research has been cited more than a thousand times with an h-index of 18.

Oehmen, a Senior Research Scientist in the Computational Sciences & Mathematics Division, shares the 2009 Ronald L. Brodzinski Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement.  He is recognized for his outstanding contributions to providing unique and highly practical high-performance and data-intensive computing solutions to major complex data analysis challenges in bioinformatics and cyber security applications.

The contributions and impact of Oehmen's early career research in data-intensive analytics applications have already resulted in 17 peer-reviewed publications in the open scientific literature, 3 book chapters, invited oral presentations at scientific conferences, and the release of the ScalaBLAST software.

Oehmen is the originator of ScalaBLAST, a massively parallel implementation of the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) used in biological sequence comparison applications, which outperforms in speed and capacity any other parallel implementation. The scientific impact of ScalaBLAST is evident from the fact that it is now the primary tool used by the Joint Genome Institute. 


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