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Jeff Broughton Brings 30 Years of HPC Experience to NERSC as New Head of Systems Department

July 31, 2009

Jeffrey M. Broughton

Jeffrey M. Broughton

Jeffrey M. Broughton, who has 30 years of HPC and management experience, has accepted the position of Systems Department Head at the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Broughton, who most recently served as senior director of engineering at QLogic Corp., joins NERSC on Monday, August 3.

“I'm very pleased to announce that Jeff Broughton has accepted the position of Systems Department Head at NERSC,” said Kathy Yelick, NERSC Director. “This is a key position for us, and Jeff will be responsible for management of the computing, storage, networking and security groups. His high-performance computing experience spans architectures, operating systems, compilers, interconnects, chips, and board layouts. He understands how the HPC components fit together and interact.”

NERSC provides supercomputing resources to 3,000 researchers at national laboratories and universities across the country. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC is the leading computing center for scientists supported by the DOE Office of Science, one of the nation's largest funders of basic science research. NERSC's current flagship supercomputer is a 40,000-processor Cray XT4 with a theoretical peak performance of more than 350 teraflops.

“I've had a career-long interest in HPC, from my days at Livermore to Amdahl, Sun, PathScale and QLogic, so when I heard about this opportunity, I thought that NERSC would be a great match for my skills and interests,” Broughton said. “High end computing is something that gets your juices flowing—you're working with people dealing with some of the most complex and important problems of our time and using supercomputers to try to find the answers.”

Broughton's career includes nine years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served as both a project leader and a group leader in computing. He also spent ten years at Amdahl Corporation, where he worked in both computer architecture development and marketing. During a two-year stint at Sun Microsystems, he was awarded five system architecture patents and played a key role in developing a massively parallel system architecture for Sun.

Broughton was recruited by the startup firm PathScale Inc. in 2001 and helped build an organization of 50 employees to develop cluster computer systems. In 2005, he won the HPCWire "Most Significant New HPC Software Product for 2005" for delivering a commercially viable compiler based on open source technology. In 2006 PathScale was acquired by QLogic, and Broughton continued to lead the hardware and software organization for InfiniBand-related products.

Broughton said that his experience working for different vendors to develop both hardware and software has given him insight into what vendors can do and he is looking to develop closer partnerships with key vendors. This is especially important as both HPC vendors and architectures consolidate, leaving centers such as NERSC with a narrower set of options.

“It's becoming more important to work with vendors to develop novel and interesting approaches, and I think that the national laboratories can take a lead role in this area,” Broughton said.

Outside of work, Broughton's interests include activities on land, water and in the air: he enjoys bicycling, tennis, sailing and flying kites.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 6,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation. NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.