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Five UT Centers at SC19 Conference

Five computational science research centers from the University of Tennessee—the Bredesen Center, the Global Computing Laboratory, the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, the Innovative Computing Laboratory, and Chattanooga’s SimCenter—will represent the University at this year’s International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC19) on November 17–22 in Denver, Colorado.

In modern science, computational modeling and simulation using high-performance computing (HPC) represents a new branch of scientific methodology, known broadly as “computational science,” that now sits alongside traditional theory and experiment. Computational science is accelerating things like drug development and energy research and enabling scientists to tackle problems that were simply intractable without HPC.

For its part, the University of Tennessee has a decades-long history in HPC and computational science and in supporting computational science research centers throughout its campuses. In addition, the University’s own Prof. Michela Taufer is serving as Conference Chair for SC19, which will bring together over 10,000 scientists, engineers, and industry leaders to share new insights and ideas and nurture essential collaborations in the field.

Bredesen Center

The Bredesen Center offers one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary PhD programs in Data Science and Engineering (DSE) by bringing together students and researchers from the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Bredesen Center distinguishes itself from traditional PhD programs by allowing students to create customized PhD experiences working on interdisciplinary projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy as well as other government agencies. DSE students have access to world-class computing expertise and resources at the university and at ORNL—including ORNL’s Summit supercomputer. A large array of other ORNL facilities generate unique scientific data sets and enable cutting-edge research in computational and data sciences. DSE focus areas include life and health sciences, materials science, advanced manufacturing, national security, transportation, urban systems, and environmental sciences. The Bredesen Center also offers an interdisciplinary doctorate in Energy Science and Engineering.

Global Computing Laboratory

The Global Computing Laboratory, part of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and headed by Prof. Michela Taufer (also SC19 Conference Chair), focuses on various aspects of HPC and its use in application science. The lab is engaged in the design and testing of efficient computational algorithms and adaptive scheduling policies for scientific computing on GPUs, cloud computing, and volunteer computing. Interdisciplinary research with scientists and engineers in fields such as chemistry and chemical engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, seismology, and mathematics is at the core of the lab’s activities and philosophy.

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, headed by Prof. Anthony Mezzacappa, is a joint venture between the University of Tennessee and ORNL. Founded in 1991, JICS’s mission is to advance scientific discovery and to educate the next generation of researchers in the application of computational modeling and simulation. JICS brings to bear the vast resources available to it through its academic, industrial, and research partnerships on some of the most challenging scientific and engineering problems—those in computational mathematics, chemistry, fluid dynamics, materials science, physics, and beyond.

Innovative Computing Laboratory

The Innovative Computing Laboratory, founded by Prof. Jack Dongarra in 1989, is a large computer science research and development group situated in the heart of the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus. The lab’s mission is to ensure that the University of Tennessee is a world leader in advanced high-performance and scientific computing through research, education, and collaboration. Specializing in numerical linear algebra, distributed computing, and performance analysis and benchmarking, the lab employs over fifty researchers, students, and staff, and has earned many accolades, including four R&D 100 awards.


The SimCenter, headed by Prof. Tony Skjellum, is a research incubator at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for interdisciplinary work with a foundation in HPC, modeling and simulation, data analytics, and machine learning. The SimCenter helps faculty and students at all levels advance their research and learning in a variety of fields including biology, computer science, mathematics, energy, the environment, smart cities, aerospace, and advanced materials. SimCenter is also UTC’s core facility for advanced computing and network infrastructure and offers HPC and Virtual Private Cloud Resources for faculty and outside collaborators undertaking computing and big data problems across a spectrum of disciplines. One of the center’s goals is to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in computational sciences and engineering by providing meeting space, making connections among faculty, and offering proposal development and other research support.