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James (Jim) Ang, PhD

Chief Scientist, Computing

James (Jim) Ang, PhD

Chief Scientist, Computing


A home computer's quad-core processor might let you read the news while you pay your bills, but it can't handle the complexity of breakthrough science. Now that processors that serve the needs of big science are becoming available, high-performance computing veteran Jim Ang is working on how to build and arrange processors, memory, and data storage — a.k.a. architecture — within supercomputers to create fast yet nimble computers that can handle complex computing.

"One of the things we'd like to do is define the future roadmap for how computing performance needs to evolve in a way that is useful for the next decade or more," said Ang. "The path that I would like to chart for improving performance is by making architectural designs that are better for workloads we find in scientific computing."

Ang also leads multi-institutional hardware-software co-design efforts, where the problem to be solved guides the development of the architecture; hardware and software of new machines, such as modeling and simulating the power grid or Earth's atmospheric, land, and ocean systems. He combines physical science and data science to develop ways to handle heterogeneous workloads — research applications working together in one program but that could be written with several different programming languages (think iOS and Microsoft Windows working together harmoniously to play one game). The research will combine, for example, applications called graph analytics with scientific simulation and machine learning.

"Those are three different models of computing that traditionally have not been tackled with the same hardware design," said Ang.

Ang has been involved in guiding the direction of high-performance computing for much of his 30-year career. He was the opening keynote speaker for the Multicore World 2019 conference and is the president and founding member of the Association for High Speed Computing. The National Nuclear Security Administration presented him with the Defense Program Award of Excellence in 2011.

More Information

PNNL Staff Biography

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Ang Joins PNNL as Chief Scientist for Computing, HPCWire, April 12, 2018