The National Institute for Computational Sciences

NICS' Troy Baer Receives Adaptie Lifetime Achievement Award

Troy Baer, senior high-performance computing (HPC) system administrator, National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), University of Tennessee, was honored on April 1 with the Adaptive Computing Lifetime Achievement award at the second-annual Adaptie Awards ceremony during the Moabcon 2014 conference in Park City, Utah.

Adaptive Computing, the company that powers many of the world's largest private/hybrid cloud and technical computing environments with its Moab optimization and scheduling software, gives its Adaptie awards to organizations and individuals that continually push the technological envelope using Adaptive Computing's software.

The news release about the award stated, "Baer's contributions in scheduling and resource management using Moab have helped Kraken—NICS' flagship computing resource and the first academic computer to break the petaflop barrier—achieve outstanding 90–95% utilization rates since 2010. Baer's administrative capabilities enable researchers in numerous scientific areas, from climate to materials science to astrophysics, to achieve breakthroughs not yet possible on other resources. In November 2012, Baer helped NICS' Beacon system secure a No. 1 ranking on the Green500 list of energy-efficient supercomputers."

"Troy's contributions to the industry cannot be overstated, and we are thrilled by the opportunity to salute his achievements at Moabcon," said Rob Clyde, CEO at Adaptive Computing.

Baer called the award a "great honor" but added that he had "a lot of trouble taking the credit for NICS' successes in scheduling Kraken, Beacon, and our other systems." Baer said that much of what he and colleagues do with TORQUE and MOAB software is based on techniques that he learned when he was at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, and he credited the bimodal scheduling approach that's been so successful on Kraken as the brainchild of NICS' first director, the late Phil Andrews. "I wish he was still with us to see how successful it's been," he added.

"Also, we wouldn't have been able to do everything we've done without our excellent staff, especially our HPC Operations group headed by Stephen McNally, or without the help we get from Don Maxwell, Matt Ezell, and the rest of the OLCF [Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility] team at Oak Ridge National Lab. I really feel like this is as much their award as it is mine," Baer said.

Also in his acceptance comments Baer paid tribute to two exceptional members of the HPC community who passed away in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Robert Harkness and Ricky Kendall: "[Harkness] was one of our biggest users on Kraken, and his capability jobs were the use case that drove our bimodal scheduling approach. [Kendall] was NICS' first computational science group leader and a big inspiration to a lot of us at NICS and ORNL. They are missed."

Baer also expressed appreciation to Dave Jackson, executive director and founder of Adaptive Computing, "for button-holing me on the SC show floor one day about 14 years ago and convincing me to give his software a shot." Baer concluded his remarks by reiterating his appreciation for all of his colleagues, including those he specifically mentioned, as well as any others he might have forgotten.

The official Second Annual Adaptie Awards announcement can be viewed here.

Article posting date: 2 April 2014

About NICS: The National Institute for Computational Sciences operates the University of Tennessee supercomputing center, funded in part by the National Science Foundation. NICS is a major partner in NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, known as XSEDE.