2017 Fernbach Award

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 04 October 2017 – Dr. Steven J. Plimpton, distinguished member of technical staff in the Center for Computing Research at Sandia National Laboratories, has been named recipient of the 2017 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award.

Plimpton was recognized for “high performance simulation frameworks that have advanced research in materials science, chemistry, biology, and other related areas.”

Established in 1992 in memory of high-performance computing pioneer Sidney Fernbach, the Fernbach Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches. The award consists of a certificate and a $2,000 honorarium.  Plimpton will be presented with his award at the SC17 Conference on 14 November in Denver Colorado.
Plimpton’s research has been primarily focused on methods and parallel algorithms for a variety of particle-based HPC applications.  Along the way he contributed to a few combinatorial algorithms for problems like contact detection and radiation transport.

He is best known for leading the development of open-source codes used for modeling materials at different scales.  These include LAMMPS (classical molecular dynamics), SPPARKS (Monte Carlo modeling of materials processing at the mesoscale), and SPARTA (DSMC modeling of turbulence and flow in low-density gases).  The most widely used of these is LAMMPS, which has a world-wide community of 1000s of users and 100s of code contributors.

Plimpton has also worked on MPI-based tools for big data processing on HPC platforms, including MapReduce and stream-processing libraries.

A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Plimpton has also been honored with a special session at the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) annual meeting for the development of LAMMPS.
Plimpton received his Ph.D. in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1989.