NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Jeff Broughton Brings 30 Years of HPC Experience to NERSC as New Head of Systems Department

July 31, 2009

Jeffrey M. Broughton, who has 30 years of HPC and management experience, has accepted the position of Systems Department Head at the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Broughton, who most recently served as senior director of engineering at QLogic Corp., joins NERSC on Monday, August 3.

“I'm very pleased to announce that Jeff Broughton has accepted the position of Systems Department Head at NERSC,” said Kathy Yelick, NERSC Director. “This is a key position for us, and Jeff will be responsible for management of the computing, storage, networking and security groups. His high-performance computing experience spans architectures, operating systems, compilers, interconnects, chips, and board layouts. He understands how the HPC components fit together and interact.”

NERSC provides supercomputing resources to 3,000 researchers at national laboratories and universities across the country. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC is the leading computing center for scientists supported by the DOE Office of Science, one of the nation's largest funders of basic science research. NERSC's current flagship supercomputer is a 40,000-processor Cray XT4 with a theoretical peak performance of more than 350 teraflops.

“I've had a career-long interest in HPC, from my days at Livermore to Amdahl, Sun, PathScale and QLogic, so when I heard about this opportunity, I thought that NERSC would be a great match for my skills and interests,” Broughton said. “High end computing is something that gets your juices flowing—you're working with people dealing with some of the most complex and important problems of our time and using supercomputers to try to find the answers.”

Broughton's career includes nine years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served as both a project leader and a group leader in computing. He also spent ten years at Amdahl Corporation, where he worked in both computer architecture development and marketing. During a two-year stint at Sun Microsystems, he was awarded five system architecture patents and played a key role in developing a massively parallel system architecture for Sun.

Broughton was recruited by the startup firm PathScale Inc. in 2001 and helped build an organization of 50 employees to develop cluster computer systems. In 2005, he won the HPCWire "Most Significant New HPC Software Product for 2005" for delivering a commercially viable compiler based on open source technology. In 2006 PathScale was acquired by QLogic, and Broughton continued to lead the hardware and software organization for InfiniBand-related products.

Broughton said that his experience working for different vendors to develop both hardware and software has given him insight into what vendors can do and he is looking to develop closer partnerships with key vendors. This is especially important as both HPC vendors and architectures consolidate, leaving centers such as NERSC with a narrower set of options.

“It's becoming more important to work with vendors to develop novel and interesting approaches, and I think that the national laboratories can take a lead role in this area,” Broughton said.

Outside of work, Broughton's interests include activities on land, water and in the air: he enjoys bicycling, tennis, sailing and flying kites.

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.