Gregory Peterson Named Project Director at the National Institute for Computational Sciences



The National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), home to the Kraken supercomputer, has named Dr. Gregory Peterson as its new project director.

Peterson will continue his role as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK), a role he has held since 2000 when he joined the University from the Air Force Research Laboratory.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and bachelor’s, master’s, and a doctorate in electrical engineering, all from Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests include emerging computing architectures, parallel processing, computational science, and performance evaluation.

“Computational science is transforming the way we do scientific and engineering inquiry,” said Peterson. “It could touch just about any area of research at UTK and offers tremendous opportunities for nearly every segment of the university.”

Peterson has plenty of experience in scientific computing. He is currently involved with both the Application Acceleration Center of Excellence (AACE) and the Symposium on Application Accelerators for High-Performance Computing (SAAHPC).

AACE was established by the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS), a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UTK, in 2011. Its twofold mission is to optimize applications for current and future accelerator-based computer systems and to develop expertise in the expression and exploitation of fine-grain and medium-grain parallelism crucial for exascale computing.

The SAAHPC is a conference related to accelerators and their role in computational science. Peterson served as the general chair for two years and was the program co-chair in 2012.

“I applaud the appointment of Professor Greg Peterson as the NICS director,” said Dr. Lee Riedinger, interim vice chancellor for research and director of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education at UTK. “Greg has been on the faculty of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department since 2000 and has distinguished himself in teaching, research, and leadership. Furthermore, Greg leads a large research group at UTK and has demonstrated his ability to lead an even larger effort of such great importance to our university, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the many Kraken users across the country.”

NICS’ chief computational asset is Kraken, a Cray XT5 funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the University of Tennessee. Kraken is capable of more than a petaflop of peak performance and supports scientific projects across the U.S. as diverse as astrophysics, biology, climate change, materials research, and humanities, to name a few.

Kraken is one of the integrated digital resources of the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), successor to NSF’s TeraGrid project.

For more information on AACE, visit:

For more information on SSAHPC, visit: