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Ghattas Wins Prestigious Super Computing Prize

Omar Ghattas with super computing processors at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.
Omar Ghattas

Jackson School of Geosciences researcher Omar Ghattas and collaborators have won the 2015 Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize, supercomputing’s most prestigious prize, for a paper on high performance modeling of the Earth’s mantle convection.

Ghattas is the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Chair in Computational Geosciences in the Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences, and the director of the Center for Computational Geosciences and Optimization at UT’s Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES).

He conducted the research with collaborators from ICES, New York University, IBM and the California Institute of Technology. The team was awarded the prize for its paper “An Extreme-Scale Implicit Solver for Complex PDEs: Highly Heterogeneous Flow in Earth’s Mantle.” The paper describes high performance computing methods that Ghattas and his team used to create a global model of the Earth’s mantle convection and associated plate tectonics. The resolution of the model is detailed enough to show activity at plate boundaries.

The Gordon Bell Prize recognizes the extraordinary progress made each year in the innovative application of parallel computing to challenges in science, engineering and large-scale data analytics. Financial support of the $10,000 prize is made possible by Gordon Bell, a pioneer in high performance and parallel computing.