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April 2014 - New Employee Profiles

April 1, 2014

Jonathan Rood, NERSC Advanced Technologies Group

Jonathan Rood

As the new computer science postdoctoral fellow in NERSC’s Advanced Technologies Group, Jonathan Rood will be researching sequence alignment algorithms used in bioinformatics in an attempt to increase their performance using many-core computer architectures.  

Before coming to NERSC, Rood was an associate research mathematician at Tech-X Corporation where he worked to increase the performance of NASA software using GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). The software is being used to analyze data from an instrument on the SAGE III mission, which provides accurate, long-term measurements of ozone, aerosols, water vapors and other key parameters of Earth’s atmosphere. These observations are crucial for understanding how natural processes and human activates influence Earth’s climate.

“I became interested in computers like many others, during high school. I began writing programs on my calculator that would solve my physics problems for me. My interest in high performance computing came from a parallel programming class I had in college where I wrote a program that utilized multiple computers to sort numbers,” says Rood. “Parallel programming felt very complicated at the time (and much more so now), but it was very satisfying to see the lights on the network hub the machines were connected to do a little dance in the way that I expected them to communicate with each other at each step of the sort.”

Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Rood received a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science Dakota State University in 2001 and a Masters Degree in Computer Science at University of South Dakota in 2006. While pursuing his Masters, Rood spent five months as an aide in Argonne National Laboratory’s Math and Computer Science Division where he began an effort to increase the performance of a program that simulated ancient Mesopotamian society.

He then went to South Dakota State University to pursue a doctorate in computational science. For his PhD work, Rood employed a computational fluid dynamics model to simulate acoustic waves of thunder on an adaptive mesh. In his spare time, Rood likes to ride his motorcycle, go skateboarding, cycling and explore the Bay Area landscape. He also enjoys photography and stand-up comedy.

Cristina Poindexter, CRD Advanced Computing for Sciences

Cristina Poindexter

As an Ameriflux Carbon Flux Data Processing Postdoctoral Fellow in Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Computing for Sciences Department, Cristina Poindexter will help identify and apply error correction techniques for the AmeriFlux Network—a network of scientists and towers in the western hemisphere that measure ecosystem carbon dioxide, water, and energy fluxes. She will also analyze cross-site comparability and generate new data products for the network.

Before joining Berkeley Lab staff, Poindexter worked with carbon dioxide and methane flux data from a restored wetland in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while pursuing her doctorate in environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. For several years before graduate school, Poindexter worked as a water resources engineer and helped manage data from a network of stream flow measurement sites. 

“During my dissertation work in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, I gained experience analyzing carbon flux data on its own and in concert with other environmental and meteorological data.  I also came to appreciate the many advantages of the eddy covariance technique for flux measurement,” says Poindexter.

“While my background is in environmental engineering, I have always enjoyed programming, taking courses in high school and college.  I look forward to learning more from my colleagues here,“ she adds.

A native of Northern California, Poindexter has spent much of her life in the Bay Area—she attended Stanford University for her undergraduate education, then completed her doctorate at UC Berkeley and is now working at Berkeley Lab. In her spare time, she likes to play soccer, and hike in Point Reyes and on Mount Tamalpais.

Kristofer Bouchard, CRD Visualization Group

Kristopher Bouchard

As a new computational science postdoctoral fellow in the Computational Research Division’s (CRD) Visualization Group, Kristofer Bouchard will: Develop and utilize statistical learning algorithms on large scale neuroscience data; Contribute to the development and utilization of advanced data models and formats for large scale neuroscience data; Help develop next-generation neural recording systems; And use the neural recording system to collect in vivo brain data from rodents.

Before coming to Berkeley Lab, Bouchard was a post-doctoral fellow in a neurosurgery lab at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he collected and analyzed multi-channel array data directly from the cortical surface of humans and rats. 

“I have been interested in mathematics since high-school, attending the Marine School of Science and Mathematics, and got interested in computation per se in college,” says Bouchard, who has a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Cognitive Science from Brandeis University and a PhD in Neuroscience from UCSF).

Originally from a small town in Northern Maine (near the Canadian border), Bouchard has lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and says he enjoys the region’s balance of urban and rural.

In his free time, Bouchard enjoys spending time with his wife, and looks forward to spending time with his to-be-born son.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery, and researchers increasingly rely on advances in computer science, mathematics, computational science, data science, and large-scale computing and networking to increase our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and our universe. Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area researches, develops, and deploys new foundations, tools, and technologies to meet these needs and to advance research across a broad range of scientific disciplines.

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.