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CRD Scientists Bell, Colella Receive Lab Lifetime Achievement Awards

December 3, 2018

Bell Colella

John Bell (left)) and Phil Colella of CRD received the 2018 Berkeley Lab Prize – Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 30. Berkeley Lab photos.

John Bell and Phil Colella of Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Divison (CRD) each received the 2018 Berkeley Lab Prize – Lifetime Achievement Award at a special ceremony on Nov. 30. The Berkeley Lab Prize is presented annually to honor career-spanning exceptional achievements and contributions in the areas of science, operations and/or societal impact.

Bell, an applied mathematician and  chief scientist for the CRD, was honored "for intellectual and strategic leadership in applied mathematics at LBNL, and for design and development of sophisticated numerical strategies to address critical scientific problems in support of DOE’s research missions."

Colella, who is a senior scientist for the Applied Numerical Algorithms Group in CRD and a Professor in Residence in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at UC Berkeley, was recognized "for the design and development of robust and scalable numerical methods for fluid dynamics, high performance computing implementations, and strong cross-disciplinary collaborations with computer science."

"These awards are truly well-deserved recognition for the research innovations and leadership that John and Phil have made over the course of their respective careers," said CRD Director David Brown, who made the presentations at the ceremony. "Not only has their work helped scientists make the most effective use of high performance computing systems for the last 30 years, but they are also both helping the research community prepare for the coming exascale machines."

John Bell
Bell is an applied mathematician and internationally recognized leader in the development and analysis of numerical methods for partial differential equations arising in science and engineering, as well as general topics in scientific computing, computational physics and fluid dynamics. In 2017, he was named to lead the Block-Structured Adaptive Mesh Refinement Co-Design Center, one of five co-design centers which are part of DOE’s Exascale Computing Project.

In 1993, while at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he became the founding director of the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE), which is widely recognized as a leader in the field of adaptive mesh refinement, or algorithms developed to focus the power of a supercomputer on the most interesting parts of a scientific problem, leading to more detailed studies and more efficient use of computing resources. CCSE, which moved to LBNL in 1996, is primarily focused on the development and application of computer simulations for complex fluid flow problems in areas ranging from combustion to climate science to astrophysics.

Bell was elected as a member of the National Academies of Science in 2012 and is the author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers published in journals or by conferences.

In 2005 Bell received the IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award "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.”

After being presented with his plaque, Bell looked up at members of his group in the audience and said, "I'm honored to have a bunch of really wonderful colleagues and this is for all of you, as well."

Phil Colella
The principal focus of Colella’s work is the development of new simulation software tools for multiscale problems in science and engineering. He has developed high-resolution and adaptive numerical algorithms for partial differential equations and numerical simulation capabilities for a variety of applications in science and engineering. He has also participated in the design of high-performance software infrastructure for scientific computing, including software libraries, frameworks, and programming languages.

In 2017, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of DOE, the Office of Science selected the top 40 breakthroughs funded by the office. Among them was the paper "Local Adaptive Mesh Refinement for Shock Hydrodynamics," co-authored by Marsha Berger and Colella, then at LLNL, and published in the Journal of Computational Physics. This seminal paper applied Berger’s thesis of adaptive mesh refinement, or AMR, to specific research problems in physics, such as determining the shape of a shock wave bouncing off a hard surface.

As the founding lead of the Applied Numerical Algorithms Group (ANAG), Colella led the development of Chombo, the overall software framework ANAG uses to develop of numerical methods for scientific and engineering problems.

Colella was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. and is the author or co-author of 92 peer-reviewed papers published in journals and 59 papers published by conferences.

Colella was the 1998 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Fernbach Award “for fundamental contributions in 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 problems.”

After receiving his award, Colella cited his "mentors, peers and students, people who I've taught, become colleagues -- and friends, thank you all."

Shared honors
Bell and Colella were among the first group of SIAM Fellows announced May 1, 2009, by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

In 2003, Bell and Colella were co-recipients of the inaugural SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering, awarded by SIAM and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The prize is awarded in the area of computational science in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development and use of mathematical and computational tools and methods for the solution of science and engineering problems.


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 7,000-plus 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 Department of Energy 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.