DOE names Diachin to exascale project

The Department of Energy tapped a supercomputing veteran to help run its nascent Exascale Computing Program.

high performance computing (Gorodenkoff/

Lori Diachin, an experienced leader in exascale computing efforts at several national labs, will become deputy director of the Department of Energy's two-year-old high-performance computing mission.

According to a statement from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Diachin will step into the role on Aug. 7, replacing the now-retired Stephen Lee.

The DOE’s Exascale Computing Project, formed in 2016, has become a focus for Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who has prioritized development of exascale computers and quantum computing capabilities at the department. He has said supercomputing is crucial not only to the U.S. economy, but also to national security. President Donald Trump requested $636 million specifically for exascale computing development in his FY19 budget.

Although Oak Ridge National Lab’s Summit supercomputer recently regained the top slot on the list of the world’s fastest computers, a number of machines from China, Switzerland and Japan are hot on its heels. In April, the DOE issued two requests for proposals for two exascale computers that would be developed by 2023. The systems will be located at LLNL and Oak Ridge.

Before being named to the new position, Diachin served as deputy associate director for science and technology in LLNL's Computation Directorate.

She is a 15-year veteran of national labs’ work with high-performance computing projects, having served in leadership roles at Sandia National Labs and Argonne National Lab, according to LLNL.

She has also directed the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at LLNL, cross-lab projects such as the DOE’s Department of Science’s FASTMath SciDAC Institute and DOE's HPC4Manufacturing and HPC4Materials programs at its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Fossil Energy program offices.