A-Z Index | Phone Book | Careers

Didem Unat, 2012 Alvarez Fellow

May 30, 2012

Didem-Unat.jpg

Didem Unat

As the new 2012 Luis W. Alvarez Fellow, Didem Unat will be designing programming models for future exascale architectures, as part of the Hardware Software Co-design project in Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division. Specifically, Unat will be evaluating the performance of fluid dynamics and combustion kernels on current architectures, and projecting their performance on future systems. She will be targeting data locality issues and providing novel programming concepts for improving performance on exascale systems.  

As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, Unat designed the Mint programming model and implemented an accompanying compiler to facilitate programming on graphics processing units. She notes that the model relieves the programmer of a variety of tedious tasks such as managing threads and data locality. Unat's Ph.D. work was funded by Simula Research Laboratory.

"As an Alvarez Fellow, I intend to continue my research in this area, designing and developing programming models to make the lives of scientists easier," says Unat.

A native of Niksar, Turkey, Unat fell into computer science as an undergraduate at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

"In Turkey, we have to take a nationwide exam to be eligible to go to a university, I ranked second in the exam in Math, which allowed me to go any university and any department in the country. I love Istanbul. So it wasn't so difficult to choose the university, but I didn't have any knowledge in terms of field of studies," says Unat. "By luck, I picked computer science, then a year later I realized that I made the right decision."

But it wasn't until her third year at Bogazici University, while she was studying abroad  and interning at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Illinois, that Unat decided to specialize in supercomputing.

"I had a computer account on the Tungsten machine, which was the third fastest computer in the world at the time (in 2005), and was fascinated by the computational power it had," says Unat. "Until that internship, I typically emulated MPI processes on my single processor machine and sometimes scaled up to four processors at the most. I wasn't planning to get a Ph.D. until I spent the summer at the supercomputing center."

Currently a resident of North Oakland, Unat enjoys biking, hiking and exploring new cultures and cuisines on her spare time. She also recently adopted a new cat named Lemon who is making good use of her collection of conference laser pointers. She is very thankful to her parents and her sister for being supportive and letting her travel halfway across the world to purpose her career.


About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Computing Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing Department of Energy Office of Science research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials, and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world, and our universe.

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’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 energy.gov/science.