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Michael L. Norman Named Interim Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center

World-Renowned Computational Astrophysicist Succeeds Dr. Francine Berman

Published 06/19/2009

Michael L. Norman
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, today announced the appointment of Michael L. Norman to the position of interim director, effective July 1. Norman succeeds Francine Berman, who announced plans in April to join the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as vice president of research, effective August 1.

Norman, a distinguished professor of physics at UC San Diego and a globally recognized astrophysicist, was appointed chief scientific officer of SDSC in June, 2008. A permanent director of the supercomputer center, an organized research unit of UC San Diego, will be named by the university at a later date.

"In his role as Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Norman has provided outstanding technical leadership since 2008 and has assisted SDSC in establishing collaborations across our campus and the UC system," said Arthur B. Ellis, Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego, in a campus-wide communication. "I am confident that SDSC will continue on its positive trajectory, and will be in excellent hands during the search for a permanent director. I am grateful to Dr. Berman for her outstanding leadership and vision. Under her leadership, SDSC has become a more integral part of the UC San Diego campus and a key asset to the UC system."

Under Fran Berman's leadership, SDSC has reinvented itself to become more UC focused and relevant to the needs of its researchers," said Norman. "I plan to continue in this direction and look forward to working with my UC San Diego and UC colleagues to foster new research. The Triton Resource coming on line this summer will be a key element of our engagement plan."

As SDSC's chief scientific officer, Norman worked with Berman to actively foster collaboration across the UC San Diego campus for cyberinfrastructure-oriented research, development and education. SDSC announced last fall plans for the Triton Resource, an integrated, data-intensive compute system primarily designed to support UC San Diego and UC researchers.

Norman, a pioneer in using advanced computational methods to explore the universe and its beginnings, was named a senior fellow of SDSC in 2000. He also directs the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics, a collaboration between UC San Diego and SDSC resulting in the Computational Astrophysics Data Center (CADAC), a free service for the astrophysics community that hosts a public data collection of large astrophysical simulations and provides data-analysis resources to researchers worldwide.

Norman's work has earned him numerous honors, including receiving Germany's prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, and several HPCC Challenge Awards. He also is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in engineering and applied science from UC Davis, and completed his post doctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, in 1984. From 1986 to 2000, Norman held numerous positions at the University of Illinois in Urbana, as an NCSA associate director and senior research scientist under Larry Smarr, currently UC San Diego's director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and as a professor of astronomy. Prior to that, he was a staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1984 to 1986.

About SDSC
As an organized research unit of UC San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center is a leader in creating and providing cyberinfrastructure for data-intensive research, serving both UC San Diego and the broader national research community. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible and integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC is a founding member of the national TeraGrid, the nation's largest open scientific discovery infrastructure. The center recently completed a major expansion, doubling the size of the facility.

Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications
858 534-5111 or

Warren R. Froelich, SDSC Communications
858 822-3622 or

Related Links

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC):
Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics:
National Science Foundation: