Thom H. Dunning Jr.
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Thom H. Dunning Jr. today was named director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, pending approval of the university's board of trustees.
Dunning officially will assume his new position shortly after Jan. 1, 2005. He also has been recommended for an endowed position as Distinguished Chair for Research Excellence in Chemistry and as professor in the department of chemistry.
"I am looking forward to being part of the NCSA legacy of innovation and achievement," Dunning said. "As a scientist, my goal is to add to the sum of human knowledge, and the past decade's extraordinary advances in computing technology mean that NCSA is positioned to make key contributions to our knowledge base."
Dunning was the director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences in Oak Ridge, Tenn.; a distinguished professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; and a distinguished scientist in computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
"As an accomplished, respected discipline scientist, Thom Dunning has developed research and leadership skills that are well-suited to achieving NCSA's mission of enabling scientific discovery," said Charles Zukoski, vice chancellor for research at Illinois. "Thom is a great addition to the university's research leadership."
Before working in Tennessee, Dunning was responsible for supercomputing and networking for the University of North Carolina System and was a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Before working in North Carolina, Dunning was assistant director for scientific simulation in the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy, on leave from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In that position, he was instrumental in creating DOE's new scientific computing program, Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing (SciDAC).
SciDAC was the federal government's first comprehensive program aimed at developing the software infrastructure needed for scientific computing.
Dunning is the former leader of the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Group at Argonne National Laboratory and was associate director for theory, modeling, and simulation in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as well as EMSL director. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1965 from the University of Missouri-Rolla and his doctorate in chemical physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1970.
Dunning has written nearly 150 scientific publications on topics ranging from advanced computational techniques for molecular calculations to computational studies of the spectroscopy of high-power lasers and the chemical reactions involved in combustion. He was the scientific leader of DOE's first "Grand Challenge" in computational chemistry.
"NCSA has spent nearly 20 years enabling advances in science and engineering through high-performance computing and advanced cyberinfrastructure," said Peter Freeman, the head of the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. "With Thom Dunning at the helm, the center is in the most capable hands. Thom has the vision and stamina to build on NCSA's outstanding reputation and take it to new heights."
Dunning said he intends to lead a new effort to integrate the processing power of high-end computers; the codes used to model physical, chemical, and biological systems; and visualization, data analysis, and other services into comprehensive, innovative systems for discovery.
"To achieve this goal, we will work closely with scientists and engineers, for only by working together can we make the dramatic improvements in high-end computing and cyberinfrastructure needed to solve our nation's most challenging problems," Dunning said.
NCSA is a high-performance computing center that develops and deploys
cutting-edge computing, networking and information technologies for the nation's scientists and engineers. It is funded by the NSF with additional support from the state of Illinois, the university, private-sector partners and other federal agencies. More information is available at http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/.