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Jarrod McClean, 2015 Alvarez Fellow

August 1, 2015


Jarrod McClean, 2015 Alvarez Fellow

As the 2015 Luis Alvarez Fellow in Computing Science, Jarrod McClean will be working on how to utilize future computing technologies fundamentally different than those today for understanding chemistry and materials, with particular emphasis in Quantum Computing for Quantum Chemistry. His work includes the design and analysis of new algorithms, as well as close collaboration with groups that are developing new quantum hardware. He is also interested in Bayesian methods for understanding how we better unify computation and experiments.

McClean’s interest in quantum chemistry sparked as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. “My work in Professor William Lester’s Group was driven by the tantalizing dream of computational chemistry—namely that all chemical and physical properties of a material could be determined from first principals with enough computational power,” he says. “This sparked both my interest in developing new methods to understand the basic properties of materials and an interest in high performance computing.

After graduating from UC Berkeley, McClean was selected as a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow (CSGF) and went on to pursue a PhD in Chemical Physics at Harvard University where he worked on the interplay between quantum computing and quantum chemistry. 

“The CSGF program gave me both the flexibility to work on topics like quantum computing as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with people at the DOE national labs,” says McClean. “The interface of quantum chemistry and quantum computing is a great place to work with a lot of potential for fruitful cross-pollination.

Born in Texas and raised in Arizona, McClean says that he started becoming very interested in computers around age nine. He liked to play computer games and wanted to understand how they worked. He also wanted to make something like the virtual worlds that he found in computer games. “I still fondly remember my first QBASIC programs moving circles around the screen as a sort of cheap pong facsimile,” he says.

In his spare time, McClean enjoys distance running and judo.

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.