Assistant computational mathematician Brown wins SIAM Junior Scientist Award

January 29, 2014

Jed Brown, an assistant computational mathematician in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, has been named recipient of the 2014 SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing (SIAG/SC) Junior Scientist Prize.

Established in 2009, the prize is awarded biannually to an outstanding junior researcher in the field of algorithms research and development for parallel scientific and engineering computing, for distinguished contributions to the field in the three calendar years prior to the year of the award.

Brown’ s research at Argonne has focused on the development of robust, multiphysics algorithms and high-performance parallel software. He is a key developer of the Portable Extensible Toolkit for Scientific computing (PETSc) and was formerly the primary author of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model.

“Not only does Jed have a broad practical working knowledge of numerical analysis but he also has an extremely strong instinct in all aspects of numerical analysis—from algorithms to software design and understanding,” said Barry Smith, senior computational mathematician at Argonne and chief designer of PETSc. “Jed’s development of a powerful new interface has made PETSc a world-class scalable time integration library; and he designed a new approach that makes it possible to use certain linear solvers at larger scale than ever before.” 

Brown received his doctor of science degree from ETH, Zurich, in 2011. He was a postdoctoral appointee at Argonne from 2011 to 2012 and was named an Argonne Scholar in 2012. The following year, he was promoted to assistant computational mathematician. He is coauthor of more than a dozen publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and he has given numerous tutorials, including most recently a five-day tutorial at a summer school in the Czech Republic.

"Argonne has provided an incredibly dynamic environment for research, development, and collaboration with world-class colleagues,” said Brown. “Even as a postdoc, I was granted a great deal of freedom to set my own research priorities to maximize both short- and long-term utility for the applications that depend on our computational methods and software. Constant re-evaluation and discussion with domain scientists and developers from diverse backgrounds have proven essential in discovering, exploiting, and packaging recurring mathematical and computational structure to rapidly impact applications."

One of Brown’s recent collaborations involved the study of the hydrostatic equations for ice sheet flow.  Jed and his colleagues applied a new multigrid solver that overcomes the high cost of traditional algebraic methods and scales well on leadership-class machines such as the IBM Blue Gene/P. Brown has also been addressing the challenges posed by multiphysics solvers, which are important in parallel applications such as subsurface reactive flow and power networks.

As part of the SIAG/SC Junior Scientist award, Brown will give a plenary talk at the biannual SIAM Conference in Parallel Processing and Scientific Computing, to be held in Portland, Oregon, February 18-21, 2014.