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NERSC Results Help University of Florida Student Win Metropolis Award

October 30, 2009


Chao Cao

Chao Cao was awarded the 2009 Metropolis Award for outstanding doctoral thesis work in computational physics earlier this year by the American Physical Society. His award-winning thesis, "First-Principles and Multi-Scale Modeling of Nano-Scale Systems," was honored for creatively using a variety of computational tools to reveal physical mechanisms in complex materials, and for developing a computing architecture that allows massively parallel multi-scale simulation of physical systems.

The thesis used results generated primarily on the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center's (NERSC) Cray XT4 system, Franklin, and the facility's Opteron cluster, Jacquard. The allocation of computer time was awarded to Cao's advisor, Hai-Ping Cheng, a professor of physics at the University of Florida, where Cao was a graduate student until last year. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 2008 and is continuing his work in computational physics in the areas of nano-scale sciences, condensed matter and materials.

Originally from Hongzhou, China, Cao earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Fudan University in Shangahi in 2003. That year he began graduate school at the University of Florida's Department of Physics.

The Nicholas Metropolis Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Work in Computational Physics is awarded annually to recognize doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in computational physics. The honoree receives $1,500 and a certificate, which is presented at an awards ceremony at the Division of Computational Physics annual meeting.

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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 more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, 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.