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Kathy Yelick to Step Down as ALD for Computing Sciences

Will return to UC Berkeley campus and remain as strategic advisor to Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell

April 17, 2019


Kathy Yelick will step down from current her role as Associate Lab Director for Computing Sciences at the end of 2019.

After nearly 10 years on the job, Kathy Yelick will step down as Associate Lab Director (ALD) for Computing Sciences effective Dec. 31, 2019. Yelick, who has had a joint appointment at UC Berkeley since she joined the lab in 1996, will return to campus in January 2020.

Before being named ALD in September 2010, Yelick served as leader of the Future Technologies Group from 2005 until October 2007, when she was named NERSC Division Director. She first came to Berkeley in 1991 as an Assistant Professor on campus. She is currently a full Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Yelick will remain at the Laboratory to serve as a strategic advisor to Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell on lab-wide initiatives. Yelick will also focus on her research projects, including the ExaBiome Project under the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP). In fact, since it was launched as an ECP seed project in 2016, ExaBiome has scaled up to a full ECP project over the past year, with an ambitious goal of transforming the analysis of genomic data—especially microbial data—using high performance data analytics.

Under her tenure as ALD, Yelick has shepherded a number of changes in the organization. The most apparent is Shyh Wang Hall, which opened in November 2015 and is now home to much of the Computing Sciences Area organization. The building houses state-of-the-art facilities for both NERSC and ESnet. It brings together staff from ESnet, NERSC, and the Computational Research Division, along with the Area staff who support the operational activities of the Area.

She has also overseen the emergence of Berkeley Quantum, the lab’s cross-disciplinary leadership in quantum information sciences, an effort that grew out of the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. Similarly, the Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA) is a successful program funded by the Offices of Advanced Scientific Computing Research and Basic Energy Sciences that began as three linked LDRD projects. More recently, the Machine Learning for Science initiative has helped to energize researchers across the Lab in developing new methods and applications of learning methods applied to important science problems.

"Kathy has played a central role in leading the transformation that computing has had across scientific inquiry, not only at our Lab but across the country," said Mike Witherell, Director of Berkeley Lab, “We look forward to working with her on our Lab-wide strategic initiatives and on executing the new Strategic Plan.” 

At the national level, Yelick worked with senior managers across the Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration national labs to launch DOE’s Exascale Computing Initiative, the largest DOE project of its kind. ECP has been an important driver in developing exascale-capable hardware technology as well as the critical applications and advanced software needed to make effective use of the systems.

“All of these accomplishments and advancements are due to the hard work, expertise, and commitment of our staff across the organization,” Yelick said. “I would especially like to thank my leadership team, Jonathan Carter, David Brown, Sudip Dosanjh, Inder Monga, and Helen Cademartori, who have taken the lead on many of the Area activities and have been invaluable partners.” 

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.

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.