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Computing for Science: Stephen Harrell Is a Liaison to Discovery

stephen harrell

Meet Stephen Harrell, a dedicated professional in the field of high-performance computing (HPC) and scientific software. Harrell is currently an Engineering Scientist at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), where he plays a pivotal role in the HPC Performance and Architectures Group. His primary focus is on developing benchmarking tools and infrastructure for performance analysis.

With a wealth of experience, Harrell’s journey in the realm of computational science and HPC spans over two decades. Prior to joining TACC, he spent more than six years as a Senior Computational Scientist within the Research Computing group at Purdue University. He also boasts a decade of experience in industry Linux system administration.

As a testament to his commitment to the field and dedication to fostering the next generation of computational scientists, Harrell serves as the chair for the ACM SIGHPC Computational and Data Science Fellowship.

Commitment & Dedication

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Harrell has actively participated in the SC Conference for several years, taking on various leadership roles. His extensive involvement in SC demonstrates his dedication to the HPC community and its growth. Notably, he has chaired key committees, including the Best Reproducibility Advancement Award and Tutorials committees. Currently, he is the SC23 Executive Assistant.

In this I AM HPC profile, read more about Harrell’s HPC contributions and how his expertise makes him a valuable asset in the advancement of scientific computing and research.

Stephen Harrell

HPC Engineering Scientist, Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)

Q: What single event most made you realize you wanted a career in HPC/computing?

Harrell: I came from an IT/Systems Administration background in industry. I got hooked when I started an academic job 15 years ago and realized I could make more of an impact in the world supporting science. I have been supporting science and engineering in academia ever since.

Q: What do you consider your biggest contribution to the HPC/computing community?

Harrell: I have contributed in small ways many, many times. I think, in general, my contribution is helping scientists learn about our world. I do some computer science research as well, but there is nothing more satisfying for me than supporting new discoveries about our world, our universe, and us.

Q: What would you like to see change about, within, or among the HPC/computing community?

Harrell: I would like to see the different organizations that push HPC forward start to share their own technology, as well as building on others’ work. There is often a push to do something “new” when a good amount of the ideas [generated] in the project-in-planning are implemented somewhere else. We need to reuse this work and collaborate across programs, institutions, agencies, and countries.

It is often more fun to reinvent the wheel. However, we only need so many kinds of wheels. What actually is needed are carts with wheels that anyone can replace.

Learn more about Harrell’s work and contributions on his ORCiD profile

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