Sid Fernbach Award

IEEE-CS Sidney Fernbach Award

Established in 1992 in memory of high-performance computing pioneer Sidney Fernbach, the Fernbach Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches.

Learn more about Fernbach Award and nominations process

Steven J. Plimpton, Sandia National Laboratories

Winner of the 2017 Award

Steven J. Plimpton is a distinguished member of technical staff in the Center for Computing Research at Sandia National Laboratories. Plimpton was recognized for “high performance simulation frameworks that have advanced research in materials science, chemistry, biology, and other related areas.”

Plimpton’s research has been primarily focused on methods and parallel algorithms for a variety of particle-based HPC applications. Along the way he contributed to a few combinatorial algorithms for problems like contact detection and radiation transport.

He is best known for leading the development of open-source codes used for modeling materials at different scales. These include LAMMPS (classical molecular dynamics), SPPARKS (Monte Carlo modeling of materials processing at the mesoscale), and SPARTA (DSMC modeling of turbulence and flow in low-density gases). The most widely used of these is LAMMPS, which has a world-wide community of 1000s of users and 100s of code contributors.

Plimpton has also worked on MPI-based tools for big data processing on HPC platforms, including MapReduce and stream-processing libraries. A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Plimpton has also been honored with a special session at the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) annual meeting for the development of LAMMPS. Plimpton received his Ph.D. in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1989.

Vipin Kumar, University of Minnesota

Winner of the 2016 Award

Vipin Kumar is a Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota, where he holds the William Norris Endowed Chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Kumar received the B.E. degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (formerly, University of Roorkee), India, in 1977, the M.E. degree in Electronics Engineering from Philips International Institute, Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1979, and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from University of Maryland, College Park, in 1982.

Prof. Kumar is known world-wide for his seminal contributions to parallel and distributed computing and to the emerging field of Big Data. His work on analyzing the scalability of parallel systems using the isoefficiency metric has provided the basis for designing and evaluating large scale parallel computers. Algorithms and software developed by his group for solving large sparse linear systems, graph partitioning, and high performance data mining are critical for diverse scientific, engineering, and biomedical, applications. He has played a pioneering role in bringing Big Data and earth science together to address one of the grand challenges of our times—understanding the impact of human induced changes on the earth system and its environment. Kumar is the Lead PI of a 5-year, $10 Million project, "Understanding Climate Change - A Data Driven Approach", funded by the NSF's Expeditions in Computing program that is aimed at defining the future of computing and information.

Kumar also served as the Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department from 2005 to 2015 and the Director of Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) from 1998 to 2005.

He has authored over 300 research articles, and has coedited or coauthored 10 books including two text books "Introduction to Parallel Computing'' and “Introduction to Data Mining'', that are used world-wide and have been translated into many languages. Kumar's foundational research in data mining and its applications to scientific data was honored by the ACM SIGKDD 2012 Innovation Award, which is the highest award for technical excellence in the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD). Kumar is an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of IEEE, and a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.

Alexander Szalay, Johns Hopkins University

Winner of the 2015 Award

Alexander Szalay, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins University, in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Computer Science, is the 2015 recipients of the IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Fernbach Award. Szalay was recognized for "is outstanding contributions to the development of data-intensive computing systems and on the application of such systems in many scientific areas including astrophysics, turbulence, and genomics.".

Szalay was born and educated in Hungary, and he spent postdoctoral periods at UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago before accepting a faculty position at Johns Hopkins. A cosmologist, he works on the statistical measures of the spatial distribution of galaxies and galaxy formation. He wrote the first papers associating dark matter with relic particles from the Big Bang. Recently he has been working on problems related to large data sets in various areas of physics and astrophysics. He is the architect for the Science Archive of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and was project director of the NSF-funded National Virtual Observatory, building an open system out of the various distributed astronomy collections across the US. Recently he has been focusing on the challenges of building public numerical laboratories from large supercomputer simulations. He has built various data-intensive parallel computers, one of them winning the Storage Challenge at SC-08. His papers cover areas from theoretical cosmology, observational astronomy, spatial statistics, and computer science. Szalay was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a corresponding member in 1990. In 2003 he became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received an Alexander von Humboldt Prize in Physical Sciences in 2004 and the Microsoft Jim Gray Award in 2007. In 2008 he became Doctor Honoris Causa of the Eötvös University. He likes to play with Big Data.

Satoshi Matsuoka, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Winner of the 2014 Award

Dr. Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is the 2014 recipients of the IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Fernbach Award. The researcher was recognized for "his work on software systems for high-performance computing on advanced infrastructural platforms, large-scale supercomputers, and heterogeneous GPU/CPU supercomputers."

Satoshi Matsuoka has been a Full Professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center (GSIC), a Japanese national supercomputing center hosted by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, since 2001. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Tokyo in 1993. He is the leader of the TSUBAME series of supercomputers, including TSUBAME2.0 which was the first supercomputer in Japan to exceed Petaflop performance and became the 4th fastest in the world on the Top500 in Nov. 2010, as well as the recent TSUBAME-KFC becoming #1 in the world for power efficiency for both the Green 500 and Green Graph 500 lists in Nov. 2013. He is also currently leading several major supercomputing research projects, such as the MEXT Green Supercomputing, JSPS Billion-Scale Supercomputer Resilience, as well as the JST-CREST Extreme Big Data. He has written over 500 articles according to Google Scholar, and chaired many ACM/IEEE conferences, including the Technical Paper Chair at SC (Supercomputing) '09, the Community Program Chair at SC'11, and the overall Technical Program Chair at SC'13. He is a fellow of the ACM and European ISC, and has won many awards, including the JSPS Prize from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science in 2006, awarded by his Highness Prince Akishino, the ACM Gordon Bell Prize in 2011, and the Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2012.

Christopher R. Johnson, University of Utah

Winner of the 2013 Award

Dr. Christopher R. Johnson, professor at at the University of Utah, is the 2013 recipients of the IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Fernbach Award. The researcher was recognized for "outstanding contributions and pioneering work introducing computing, simulation, and visualization into many areas of biomedicine."

Chris Johnson is the founding director of the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute at the University of Utah where he is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Physics and Bioengineering. His research interests are in the areas of scientific computing and scientific visualization. Dr. Johnson founded the SCI research group in 1992, which has since grown to become the SCI Institute employing over 200 faculty, staff and students. Professor Johnson serves on several international journal editorial boards, as well as on advisory boards to several national research centers. Professor Johnson has received several awards, including the the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow (PFF) award from President Clinton in 1995 and the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology from Governor Michael Leavitt in 1999. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and received the Utah Cyber Pioneer Award. In 2010 Professor Johnson received the Rosenblatt Award from the University of Utah and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. In 2012, Professor Johnson received the IEEE IPDPS Charles Babbage Award.

Klaus Schulten and Laxmikant Kale, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Winners of the 2012 Award

Dr. Klaus Schulten and Dr. Laxmikant “Sanjay” Kale, both professors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, are the 2012 recipients of the IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Fernbach Award. The researchers were recognized for “outstanding contributions to the development of widely-used parallel software for large biomolecular systems simulation.” The Fernbach Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches.

Dr. Schulten’s research requires large-scale computing, and he was the first to demonstrate that parallel computers can be practically employed to solve the classical many-body problem in biomolecular modeling. He is currently working on developing a new computational method to assist biologists in solving the structures of the very large macromolecular complexes forming the machinery of living cells.

Dr. Kale’s parallel computing work focuses on enhancing performance and productivity via adaptive runtime systems, with research on programming abstractions, dynamic load balancing, fault tolerance and power management; resulting in Charm++, a widely-distributed parallel programming system.

Earlier Recipients

2011: Cleve Moler - For fundamental contributions to linear algebra, mathematical software, and enabling tools for computational science.

2010: James W. Demmel - For computational science leadership in creating adaptive, innovative, high performance linear algebra software.

2009: Roberto Car and Michele Parrinello - For leadership in creating the modern theoretical and practical foundations for modeling the chemistry and physics of materials. The software resulting from this work is one of the enabling tools for materials science modeling.

2008: William D. Gropp - For outstanding contributions to the development of domain decomposition algorithms, scalable tools for the parallel numerical solution of PDEs, and the dominant HPC communications interface.

2007: David E. Keyes - For outstanding contributions to the development of scalable numerical algorithms for the solution of nonlinear partial differential equations and exceptional leadership in high-performance computation.

2006: Edward Seidel - For outstanding contributions to the development of software for HPC and Grid computing to enable the collaborative numerical investigation of complex problems in physics; in particular, modeling black hole collisions.

2005: John B. Bell - For outstanding contributions to the development of numerical algorithms, mathematical, and computational tools and on the application of those methods to conduct leading-edge scientific investigations in combustion, fluid dynamics, and condensed matter.

2004: Marsha Berger - For her many contributions, and enormous, influence to computational fluid dynamics including adaptive mesh refinement methods, Cartesian grid methods, and practical mathematical algorithms for solving significantly heretofore intractable problems.

2003: Jack J. Dongarra - For outstanding and sustained contributions to the area of mathematical software, most particularly in the areas of communication and numerical libraries and performance benchmarks for high performance computing.

2002: Robert Harrison - For developing a computational chemistry software package for applications development, by integrating fundamental algorithm research, novel ideas in computer science, and scalability, while delivering unprecedented modeling capabilities for chemistry applications.

2000: Stephen W. Attaway - For pioneering advances in methods for modeling transient dynamics phenomena, enabling simulations of unprecedented scale and fidelity.

1999: Michael L. Norman - For his leading edge research in applying parallel computing to challenge grand problems in astrophysics and cosmology.

1998: Phillip Collela - For fundamental contributions to the development of software methodologies used to solve numerical partial differential equations, and their application to substantially expand our understanding of shock physics and other fluid dynamics problem.

1997: Charbel Farhat - For outstanding contributions to the development of parallel numerical algorithms and parallel software packages that have helped the mechanical engineering world to embrace parallel processing technology.

1996: Gary A. Glatzmaier - For innovative computational numerical methods to perform the first realistic computer simulations of the Earth's geodynamo and its resultant time-dependent magnetic field.

1995: Paul R. Woodward - For your work in developing new algorithmic techniques in fluid dynamics, & your relentless & innovative pursuit of the hardware & software capabilities to carry out & visualize in real time the largest turbulence simulations.

1994: Charles S. Peskin - For innovative application of mathematical modeling methods to important practical research questions in blood flow and the heart that has for more than 15 years pushed forward the leading edge of computational capability and helped to develop supercomputing technology as a valuable tool for improving the quality of human life.

1993: David H. Bailey - For contributions to numerical computational science including innovative algorithms for FFT's, matrix multiply and multiple precision arithmetic on vector computer architecture.