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LBNL’s Kathy Yelick Named to National Academy of Engineering

February 9, 2017

Contact: Jon Bashor, 510-486-5849


Kathy Yelick is a 2017 inductee to the Natoinal Academy of Engineerig.

Katherine Yelick, the Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, has been named to the 2017 class of members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Yelick was recognized “for software innovation and leadership in high-performance computing.” Her work has improved the programmability of high performance computing through innovations to parallel languages and runtime systems. Her contributions to language design and compiler research were key to the success partitioned global address space (PGAS) for expressing applications with irregular communication patterns on parallel machines.

She also developed new automatic performance tuning techniques for sparse matrices that maximize performance across a wide variety of computer architectures, and algorithms that minimize expensive data movement. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams developing scientific applications and currently leads an exascale computing project in genome analysis for microbiomes.

The 2017 NAE class includes 84 new members and 22 foreign members. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,281 and the number of foreign members to 249. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/ implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Yelick joined UC Berkeley in 1991 and has been a faculty scientist the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Laboratory since 1996. As the Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences, she oversees computing research and facility directions for the lab, including both the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), where she served as director for five years. She is a member of the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and previously served on the California Council on Science and Technology. Her leadership at the national level has significantly influenced international scientific research on behalf of the US Department of Energy.  

With her election, Yelick joins Computing Sciences colleagues James Sethian, leader of the Mathematics Group, and her husband and long-time collaborator, James Demmel, who has a joint appointment in the lab’s Computational Research Division and UC Berkeley.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation.

The NAE is part of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The NAE operates under the same congressional act of incorporation that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

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.