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Welcome LAA Members & New Retirees

June 8 Talk

Life after Langley

Supercomputing Research

Dr. Olaf O. Storaasli


Olaf will describe Life After Langley, his 2nd career at Oak Ridge National Lab*. While his NASA research, the main course, focused on aerospace innovation, his DOE research, the dessert, widened it to Future Technology, Supercomputing & Energy. After traveling & consulting in the US & overseas, Olaf considers Langley & ORNL the most challenging, rewarding and best places to work in the world!

Olaf will compare NASA & DOE: research life, colleagues, management, computer expertise, motivation & rewards, security, funding, age, salary, location & local community of hi-tech innovators, a catalyst & motivator for all.  He’ll share how ORNL recruited him from a great NASA career just as he & Bob Hodson won a $25M NASA Reconfigurable Space Computeproject for Langley. 

With theory and experiment, supercomputers are our 3rd leg of scientific discovery. Experiments are costly and slow, so now discoveries often rely on supercomputers, with accelerators performing > 90% of computations. Olaf will describe analyses on past, present, and future NASA and ORNL supercomputers and project future science and engineering discoveries possible on future ExaFLOP supercomputers, such as ORNL’s Frontier.

Our Speaker

 Besides major contributions to NASTRAN, Viking Lander analysis+GCMS box redesign, team lead of NASA’s 1st parallel computer built entirely “inhouse” at Langley, the Finite Element Machine, reducing Shuttle redesign from hours to secondsOlaf’s a supercomputer pioneer and author of novel algorithms, including GPS, which won NASA’s Software of the Year Award. His work on current & future supercomputing systems harnesses accelerators (i.e. FPGAs) to enable scientific discovery & fast solution of large matrix systems. Olaf earned his Engineering Ph.D. from NCSU and held postdoc Fellowships at NTNU (Norway) & Edinburgh University.

*Olaf’s uncle (MIT EE) designed+built Calutrons with Ernest Lawrence to enrich U at Y-12 for Little Boy, to end WW2, avoid invading Japan and bring Peace.


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