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  • Organization
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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  • Biography

    Thom Dunning is the director for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He also holds an endowed position as Distinguished Chair for Research Excellence in Chemistry and professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


    Dunning comes to NCSA from Tennessee, where he was the director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences in Oak Ridge, a distinguished professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a distinguished scientist in computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Before that, Dunning was responsible for supercomputing and networking for the University of North Carolina System and was a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


    Before going to North Carolina, Dunning was assistant director for scientific simulation in the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, on leave from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In that position, he was instrumental in creating DOE’s new scientific computing program, Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC). SciDAC is the federal government’s first comprehensive program aimed at developing the software infrastructure needed for scientific computing.


    Dunning is the former leader of the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Group at Argonne National Laboratory and was associate director for theory, modeling, and simulation in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as well as EMSL director.


    Dunning has authored nearly 150 scientific publications on topics ranging from advanced techniques for molecular calculations to computational studies of the spectroscopy of high power lasers and the chemical reactions involved in combustion. Five of his papers are “Citation Classics” with over 1,000 citations each (one has over 5,000 citations, another over 4,000). He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as a member of the American Chemical Society.


    In 1997, Dunning received DOE’s E. O. Lawrence Award for “seminal contributions to the development and application of theoretical and computational chemistry” and in 2001 he was presented with DOE’s Distinguished Associate Award for his research, management, and leadership in the chemical, molecular, and computational sciences.


    He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1965 from the University of Missouri-Rolla and his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1970.


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