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Charles Edward Catlett

Senior Computer Scientist

Charlie Catlett is a Senior Computer Scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation.


Charlie is the founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), a joint Argonne-UChicago research center that brings scientists, artists, architects, technologists, and policy makers together to use computation, data analytics, and embedded system to understand the dynamics, design, and resilient operation of cities. He is also a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Before joining Argonne in 2000, Charlie served as Chief Technology Officer of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Beginning at NCSA’s founding in 1985, he participated in the development of NSFNET, one of several early national networks that evolved into what we now experience as the Internet. During the exponential growth of the web following the release of NCSA’s Mosaic web browser, his team developed and supported NCSA’s scalable web server infrastructure.

From 1999 to 2004 Charlie directed the design and deployment of I-WIRE, a dedicated fiber optic network funded by the State of Illinois, which connects research institutions in the Chicago area and downstate Illinois to support high-performance computing and networking research and education. In 1999, Catlett co-founded the Global Grid Forum, (subsequently Open Grid Forum), serving as its founding chair from October 1999 through September 2004.

From 2004 through 2007, he was director of the TeraGrid Initiative, a national-scale facility supported by the National Science Foundation and from 2007-2011, Catlett served as Argonne’s Chief Information Officer.

Catlett has been involved in Grid (distributed) computing since the early 1990s, when he co-authored (with Larry Smarr) the 1992 seminal paper Metacomputing” in the Communications of the ACM, which outlined many of the concepts that underpin grid” and cloud” computing.

Government Technology magazine named Charlie one of 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016. In 2014 Crain’s Chicago Business recognized him as one of Chicago’s Tech 50” technology leaders.

Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.