Chemist-Turned-Tech-Whiz Mark Day Retires From NERSC

June 23, 2022 – When Mark Day got here to the Nationwide Vitality Analysis Scientific Computing Heart (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) 5 years in the past, “I discovered my tribe,” he stated. This month the self-proclaimed “recovering scientist” retires from a 30-plus yr profession with the College of California (UC) system, together with his years at NERSC.

Mark Day, pictured in Porto, Portugal, is wanting ahead to touring extra in his retirement. Credit score: Mark Day.

Day’s UC profession started in 1982 as a Ph.D. pupil in pharmaceutical chemistry. As a part of his analysis, Day utilized nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for fixing peptide constructions. This led to subsequent work within the Division of Radiology at UC San Francisco (UCSF) the place he utilized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in novel methods, coaxing knowledge from digital pictures created for scientific use. “I cherished science, however actually turned enamored with computing,” Day stated. “Plus, I used to be simply actually good at constructing the instruments for doing the pc evaluation, so I shifted into that work.”

Over his years at UCSF, Day moved into administration, a job wherein he “discovered little pleasure.” So, when he took a place within the Infrastructure Providers Group (ISG) at NERSC, he felt he’d come house. “There are literally quite a lot of us recovering scientists at NERSC,” Day stated. “I assume that it is type of the identical attraction for us all: We nonetheless like being concerned in science and the problem of serving to others do their work utilizing computing instruments accessible to us.”

It is also been necessary for Day to be concerned in a mission-driven group like NERSC: “Even when I wasn’t straight the one saving lives at UCSF, I knew I used to be a part of a company that did,” Day stated. “It is the identical factor at NERSC: Though I am not advancing scientific data straight, I am a part of a company that is serving to that to occur, and that has at all times been necessary to me.”

Mark Day and his spouse Amy biking in Alentejo Area of Portugal. Credit score: Mark Day.

Throughout his tenure at NERSC, Day is proud to have been a part of the group that applied Spin, a “container” system that lets scientists simply rise up and share technological instruments, corresponding to web sites, databases, and knowledge evaluation instruments. “I feel NERSC is type of well-known for eradicating friction from science, and Spin is a good instance of that.”

He additionally cited the not too long ago rolled out Federated Identification undertaking, which permits scientists to entry NERSC programs and sources by means of their house establishments’ logins. “I at all times felt like we’re a part of a reasonably sturdy group at NERSC, so all of the issues I would wish to cite are actually group accomplishments,” he stated.

“We’re extraordinarily lucky to work with colleagues of Mark’s caliber,” stated ISG Group Lead Cory Snavely who employed Day in 2017. “He is not solely an excellent technologist, however he is additionally articulate, beneficiant, and has a improbable humorousness. Mark performed a pivotal function in the entire group’s tasks, and particularly with our Federated Identification initiative, however he additionally made the work pleasurable, ”Snavely stated.

Day stated he’ll miss the individuals he works with and the mental challenges of supporting science. “Whether or not determining how one can apply a brand new expertise or attending a seminar to be taught a number of the science behind detecting darkish matter, I used to be always challenged at NERSC. I feel that is going to be exhausting to duplicate in retirement. “

Nonetheless, he’s wanting ahead to “doing all these belongings you suppose you’ll do however by no means appear to have time for,” together with touring together with his spouse Amy, biking, backpacking, and finishing some long-neglected family tasks.

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab

The Nationwide Vitality Analysis Scientific Computing Heart (NERSC) is a US Division of Vitality Workplace of Science Consumer Facility that serves as the first high-performance computing middle for scientific analysis sponsored by the Workplace of Science. Situated at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory, the NERSC Heart serves greater than 7,000 scientists at nationwide laboratories and universities researching a variety of issues in combustion, local weather modeling, fusion vitality, supplies science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and different disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE nationwide laboratory situated in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific analysis and is managed by the College of California for the US Division of Vitality. Study extra about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.


Supply: Margie Wylie, NERSC

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