December 4, 2022


Put A Technology

Turing Award Winner On His Pioneering Algorithms


Jack Dongarra’s aspiration position rising up was to educate science at a community higher faculty in Chicago.

“I was very very good in math and science, but I was not a specially good pupil,” Dongarra claims, laughing.

Right after he graduated higher school, there was only just one college he required to attend: Chicago Condition. That’s because, he suggests, it was regarded for “churning out teachers.” Chicago Condition approved his application, and he determined to big in mathematics.

His physics professor recommended that Dongarra utilize for an internship at the Argonne Countrywide Laboratory, in Lemont, Sick., a close by U.S. Office of Power science and engineering research centre. For 16 months he labored with a team of researchers building and establishing EISPACK, a bundle of Fortran routines that compute the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices—calculations prevalent in scientific computing.

Dongarra acknowledges he did not have a qualifications in or understanding of eigenvalues and eigenvectors—or of linear algebra—but he liked what he was accomplishing. The experience at Argonne, he states, was transformative. He experienced located his passion.

“I imagined it was a awesome point to do,” he states, “so I retained pursuing it.”

About Jack Dongarra

Employer: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Title: Professor emeritus, laptop or computer science

Member grade: Everyday living Fellow

Alma mater: Chicago State College

The IEEE Lifestyle Fellow has due to the fact built revolutionary contributions to numerical algorithms and libraries for linear algebra, which authorized application to make very good use of superior-effectiveness components. His open up-supply software program libraries are used in just about every single laptop, from laptops to the world’s speediest supercomputers.

The libraries include simple linear algebra subprograms (BLAS), the linear-algebra package LAPACK, parallel virtual devices (PVMs), instantly tuned linear algebra computer software (ATLAS), and the high-overall performance conjugate gradient (HPCG) benchmark.

For his function, he was honored this 12 months with the 2021 A.M. Turing Award from the Affiliation for Computing Machinery. He acquired US $1 million as element of the award, which is regarded as the Nobel Prize of computing.

“When I feel about former Turing Award recipients, I’m humbled to assume about what I have uncovered from their guides and papers,” Dongarra claims. “Their programming languages, theorems, methods, and specifications have assisted me build my algorithms.

“It’s a incredible honor to be this year’s recipient. The award is a recognition by the laptop-science neighborhood that the contributions we are generating in higher-effectiveness computing are crucial and have an impression in the broader laptop-science community and science in typical.”

Dongarra did not stop up teaching science to large school college students. Rather, he became a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the College of Tennessee in Knoxville, where by he taught for 33 decades. The university a short while ago named him professor emeritus.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Following graduating from Chicago Point out in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in arithmetic, Dongarra went on to pursue a master’s degree in laptop or computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technological innovation, also in Chicago. While there he worked a single day a 7 days for Argonne with the similar workforce of scientists. Following he bought his degree in 1973, the lab hired him complete time as a researcher.

With encouragement from his colleagues to go after a Ph.D., he remaining the lab to review utilized arithmetic at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He honed his know-how of linear algebra there and started operating out algorithms and crafting program.

He returned to Argonne right after obtaining his doctorate in 1980 and labored there as a senior scientist right until 1989, when he got the opportunity to fulfill his desire of educating.

He was offered a joint position instructing computer system science at the College of Tennessee and conducting study at the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory which, like Argonne, is a Office of Vitality facility.

“It was time for me to attempt out some new things,” he says. “I was completely ready to attempt my hand at academia.”

He states Oak Ridge operated in a similar way to Argonne, and the culture there was more or much less the exact.

“The problem,” he claims, “was getting to be a university professor.”

“The Turing Award is a recognition by the computer system science neighborhood that the contributions we are producing in superior-performance computing are essential, and have an effect in the broader computer system science neighborhood and science in normal.”

University lifestyle is extremely distinct from that at a federal government laboratory, he says, but he promptly fell into the rhythm of the educational placing.

While he cherished educating, he says, he also was attracted to the opportunity the college gave its instructors to do the job on engineering they are passionate about.

“You stick to your individual route and study course of study,” he suggests. “I’ve prospered in that surroundings. I interact with good people today, I have the means to journey all over the environment, and I have collaborations likely on with people in a lot of countries.

“Academia offers you this flexibility to do items and not be constrained by a company’s push or its determination. Rather, I get to get the job done on what motivates me. That is why I have stayed in academia for so quite a few several years.”

Man with glasses and checkered shirt sitting in front of a Tektronix computer.
In 1980, Dongarra labored as a senior scientist at Argonne Countrywide Laboratory, in Lemont, Ill.Jack Dongarra

Dongarra established the university’s Innovative Computing Laboratory, whose mission is to offer applications for high-overall performance computing to the scientific neighborhood. He also directs the school’s Middle for Information and facts Technologies Exploration.

He is now a distinguished researcher at Oak Ridge, which he calls “a excellent put, with its condition-of-the-artwork gear and the latest personal computers.”

Software package for Supercomputers

It was operating in resourceful environments that led Dongarra to occur up with what numerous explain as environment-switching computer software libraries, which have contributed to the growth of higher-effectiveness computing in numerous parts such as artificial intelligence, details analytics, genomics, and overall health care.

“The libraries we designed have essential components that are required in lots of regions of science so that customers can draw on these factors to aid them address their computational difficulties,” he claims. “That software is moveable and successful. It has all the attributes that we want in conditions of remaining understandable and providing trustworthy effects.”

He’s currently working on generating a application library for the world’s quickest supercomputer, Frontier, which lately was set up at the Oak Ridge lab. It is the first laptop that can procedure extra than 1 quintillion operations per next.

Laptop-Science Recognition

Dongarra has been an IEEE member for much more than 30 a long time.

“I enjoy interacting with the community,” he states in outlining why he proceeds to belong. “Also I delight in examining IEEE Spectrum and journals that are pertinent to my precise field.”

He has served as an editor for numerous IEEE journals together with Proceedings of the IEEE, IEEE Pc Architecture Letters, and IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Dispersed Systems.

Dongarra states he’s a major promoter of IEEE meetings and workshops, especially the Worldwide Convention for Significant General performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Examination, sponsored by ACM and the IEEE Computer Culture, of which he is a member. He’s been attending the occasion each and every 12 months considering the fact that 1988. He has won many awards at the meeting for his papers.

“That conference is really a homecoming for the significant-general performance computing local community,” he states, “and IEEE performs a major purpose.”

IEEE is very pleased of Dongarra’s contributions to computing and has honored him over the years. In 2008 he acquired the to start with IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing. He also received the 2020 Computer Pioneer Award, the 2013 ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award, the 2011 IEEE Charles Babbage Award and the 2003 Sidney Fernbach Award.

“I’m pretty content and very pleased to be a member of IEEE,” he states. “I think it gives a beneficial support to the local community.”


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