William D. Gropp

2008 Sidney Fernbach Award Recipient

“For outstanding contributions to the development of domain decomposition algorithms, scalable tools for the parallel numerical solution of PDEs, and the dominant HPC communications interface”


William Gropp
had a major role in the creation of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) standard and is co-author of one of the most influential MPI-implementations to date, MPICH. MPI is the standard interface for interprocessor communication for virtually all large-scale parallel computers today. Gropp also co-authored the books about MPI, Using MPI and Using MPI2. Gropp is also the co-author of Portable Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation (PETSc), one of the leading packages for scientific computing on highly parallel computers. He has developed adaptive mesh refinement and domain decomposition methods with a focus on scalable parallel algorithms; these algorithms and their application to significant scientific problems are discussed in a book he coauthored, entitled “Parallel Multilevel Methods for Elliptic Partial Differential Equations.”

Gropp’s research interests are in parallel computing, software for scientific computing, and numerical methods for partial differential equations. His work investigates methods for combining numerical analysis techniques with parallel processing techniques to form solutions appropriate for execution on modern computing systems. His research also addresses issues such as scalability and hierarchical memory models in parallel computers.

Gropp received his B.S. in mathematics from Case Western Reserve University in 1977, an M.S. in physics from the University of Washington in 1978, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1982. He held the positions of assistant and associate professor in the Computer Science Department of Yale University. In 1990, he joined the numerical analysis group at Argonne, where he was a senior computer scientist from 2000-2007 and associate director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division from 2000-2006. He was also a senior scientist in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, and a senior fellow in the Argonne-University of Chicago Computation Institute from 1999-2007. In 2007, he joined the University of Illinois as the Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professor of Computer Science.