Zacharia named to lead ORNL

Tom Zacharia, the computing visionary whose work has led to such globally recognized scientific research systems as Jaguar and Titan, will be the next director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

UT-Battelle announced the move Thursday morning.

Zacharia will start July 1, replacing 10-year director Thom Mason, who is taking a post with UT-Battelle in Columbus, Ohio.

Zacharia's appointment was not unexpected. He's been a candidate for the job before, including when Mason was promoted. He was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment.

The lab's deputy director of science and technology, Zacharia's ties to ORNL date to 1987, when he arrived as a post-doctoral researcher.

He's risen steadily through the ranks, serving as director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division and then associate laboratory director for ORNL's Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate.

Related: Mason to leave ORNL

In 2009, he was named deputy for science and technology.

Zacharia made a name for himself leading the lab's efforts to build a supercomputing system for scientific research. Sporting bold names like Jaguar and Titan, the lab's ultra-fast computer systems have been among the most capable in the world.

The UT-Battelle Board of Governors held a search for Mason's replacement.

Joe DiPietro, president of the UT system and board chair, praised Zacharia's qualifications and view of the lab's future in a statement released Thursday.

"Thomas has a compelling vision for the future of ORNL that is directly aligned with the U.S. Department of Energy’s strategic priorities,” DiPietro said. “He has led many of the innovative research and development initiatives that ORNL has successfully pursued over the past decade."

Among the goals Zacharia said he'd strive for if chosen, according to UT-Battelle: Make ORNL the premier research institution in the world and pursue institutional excellence that advances American leadership in neutron science, computing, materials, and nuclear science and engineering.

Mason's departure was announced in February.

UT-Battelle is a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute that runs the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy.

About 4,700 staff members work at ORNL, one of the nation's premier research labs.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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