Researcher will lead scientific discovery efforts at center

Jack Wells - Director of Science

The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) has announced that Jack Wells will take over as the organization’s new Director of Science effective July 1, 2011. In his new position, Wells will be responsible for an OLCF scientific strategy that ensures cost-effective, state-of-the-art computing to facilitate the scientific missions of the Department of Energy. Wells actually began his career at the OLCF in 1997 as a Wigner postdoctoral fellow. He worked in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate as group leader of both the Computational Materials Sciences group in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division and the Nanomaterials Theory Institute in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. Wells also served for two years as Director of Institutional Planning within the Laboratory Director’s Office, where his responsibilities included the development of a strategic plan for ORNL, oversight of discretionary research and development investments, and management of ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy) programs at ORNL. During an off-site assignment from 2006 to 2008, Wells served as a legislative staffer in the Washington, D.C., office of Senator Lamar Alexander.

“We are delighted that Jack is returning to the OLCF after several assignments,” said OLCF Project Director Buddy Bland. “His experiences in computational science, laboratory management, and national science policy will be invaluable in working with our users and sponsors.” Wells’s new role will build on an established relationship with the OLCF. As the principal investigator for an INCITE (Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment) project investigating lithium/air batteries, Wells has used OLCF leadership computing systems to tackle complex energy storage issues. Wells will assume his responsibilities from Bronson Messer, who has served as the OLCF acting director of science since Doug Kothe left to direct the new Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors. Messer’s leadership over the past year was essential to the successful planning and review exercises for ORNL’s next-generation Leadership Computing Facility. Messer will work closely with Wells to ensure a seamless transition during this exciting new chapter in high-performance computing at ORNL.