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August 2014 - New Employee Profile

August 1, 2014

Juliane Mueller, 2014 Alvarez Fellow

Juliane Mueller

As the 2014 Luis Alvarez Postdoctoral Fellow, Juliane Mueller joins Berkeley Lab’s Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE) where she will be developing optimization algorithms for computationally expensive black-box problems. These are problems where the objective function evaluation requires time-consuming computer simulations and derivatives are not available.

“This work is important for a wide range of application problems,” says Mueller. “There are environmental applications, such as the cleaning up of contaminated groundwater at minimal cost; alternative energy applications, like generating the maximal amount of energy from hydropower dams or kites; or calibration of climate models, which involves finding better model parameters to make predictions agree better with actual observational data.”

A native of Germany, Mueller’s interest in optimization began while she was an undergraduate at TU Bergakademie Freiberg, or Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. “My minor was industrial engineering and there were some problems where a good knowledge of optimization came in handy,” says Mueller.

In fact, she developed an optimization algorithm to solve the vehicle routing problem for her diploma thesis. This work helps companies identify cost-effective and time-efficient delivery routes for their fleet of vehicles.

“I was very excited about applying my knowledge to a real problem,” says Mueller. “There are so many applications that I got to work on in the past. I believe that at Berkeley Lab I will get the opportunity work on a much larger range of optimization problems because the research areas here are so vast.”

After Germany, Mueller began her graduate studies at Tampere University of Technology in Finland, and then moved to Ithaca, NY to complete her PhD at Cornell University in applied mathematics. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors. Her hobbies include bouldering and rock climbing, cycling, running, and she hopes to pick up surfing.

Abdelrahman Elbashandy, CRD’s ACS Department

Abdelrahman Elbashandy

This month, Abdelrahman Elbashandy joins the Advanced Computing for Sciences Department in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division (CRD) as a Computer Systems Engineer.

Before coming to Berkeley Lab, Elbashandy was a software engineer at Valeo’s Egypt branch. Valeo is a multinational company that provides software services for the automotive industry. Elbashandy worked extensively on programming hardware and developing algorithms to handle vehicular vision systems.

“To be honest, I wasn’t very interested in computing before college but my ‘geeky friends’ helped me get there,” says Elbashandy. “I saw their passion and how interested they were in computing and technology. They showed me how awesome computer science could be. Now, I’m hooked and have become one of these ‘geeks’.”

Originally from Alexandria, Egypt, Elbashandy earned his Bachelors of Science in Computer and Communication Engineering from Alexandria University’s Faculty of Engineering. In his spare time, he likes to run, play soccer and basketball.

Scott French, NERSC HPC Users Group 

Scott French

As the newest HPC Consultant in NERSC’s User Services Group, Scott French will assist users with code debugging or performance optimization, provide training in new technologies, and troubleshoot user-environmental issues, among other things. He will also participate in NERSC’s Application Readiness Program, which helps users prepare their codes for the upcoming Cori system. The center’s next flagship system will be a major architectural shift for users, built on next-generation Intel® Many Integrated Core (MIC) Architecture.

Though he may be new to NERSC’s User Group, French is no stranger to the facility. “As a seismologist focused on large-scale imaging of the Earth’s interior, much of my time was spent developing and deploying HPC applications to support this effort. In this context, I became a NERSC user near the end of 2009, soon after starting my PhD at UC Berkeley,” says French.

Through a CITRIS sponsored Designated Emphasis in Computational Science and Engineering Program at UC Berkeley, French completed computational science coursework as part of his PhD and the computational aspects of his research were featured prominently in his dissertation. The latter gave rise to collaborations with Berkeley Lab computational researchers—in particular Kathy Yelick and Yili Zheng through the UPC++ project.

A native of the Northeast (New Jersey, Connecticut, and college in Rhode Island), French graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Geophysics from Brown University in 2007 and a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science from UC Berkeley in 2014. In the two years between 2007 and starting at Berkeley in 2009, he was a research analyst at Brown University. In his spare time, French enjoys being outdoors, cooking, and working on all manner of projects that involve a soldering iron. Many of these endeavors are enjoyed with his girlfriend Natalia, who is a PhD candidate in neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery. 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.