Beckman named director of Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility

By Eleanor TaylorNovember 18, 2008

ARGONNE, Ill. — Peter Beckman has been named director of the Leadership Computing Facility at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. The Leadership Computing Facility operates the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), which is home to one of the world's fastest computers for open science, the Blue Gene/P, and is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) effort to provide leadership-class computing resources to the scientific community.

“Pete plays a strategic role by leading the ALCF and making the wealth of Argonne's resources in computation and computer science available to researchers addressing a wide array of scientific challenges from understanding Parkinson's disease, to modeling nuclear reactors or predicting climate change,” said Rick Stevens, Argonne's associate laboratory director for computing, environment, and life sciences.

Beckman also leads Argonne's exascale computing strategic initiative and has previously served as the ALCF's chief architect and project director. He has worked in systems software for parallel computing, operating systems and Grid computing for 20 years.

After receiving a Ph.D. degree in computer science from Indiana University in 1993, he helped create the Extreme Computing Laboratory at Indiana University. In 1997, Beckman joined the Advanced Computing Laboratory (ACL) at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he founded the ACL's Linux cluster team and organized the Extreme Linux series of workshops and activities that helped catalyze the high-performance Linux computing cluster community.

Beckman has also worked in industry, founding a research laboratory in 2000 in Santa Fe sponsored by Turbolinux Inc., which developed the world's first dynamic provisioning system for large clusters and data centers. The following year, he became vice president of Turbolinux's worldwide engineering efforts, managing development offices in the US, Japan, China, Korea and Slovenia.

Beckman joined Argonne in 2002. As Director of Engineering for the TeraGrid, he designed and deployed the world's most advanced Grid system for linking production HPC computing for the National Science Foundation. After the TeraGrid became fully operational, he started research teams focusing on petascale high-performance operating systems, fault tolerance, system software and the SPRUCE urgent computing framework, which supports running critical high-performance applications at many of the nation's supercomputer centers.

“I am honored to be named director and to have the opportunity to work with a global community dedicated to solving the world's most challenging and important computational science problems,” said Beckman. “The ALCF will enable engineering and scientific breakthroughs that will change our world while paving the way toward exascale computing by providing magnitude that was never possible before.”

The ALCF was established in 2006. Its mission is to provide the computational science community with a leading computing capability dedicated to breakthrough science and engineering. The ALCF provides resources that make computationally intensive projects of the largest scale possible. ALCF staff members operate this facility for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and provide in-depth expertise and assistance in using ALCF systems and optimizing user applications.

DOE selects major ALCF projects through the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The INCITE program seeks computationally intensive research projects of large scale that can make high-impact scientific advances through the use of a large allocation of computer time, resources, and data storage.