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

June 23, 2022 – When Mark Day got here to the Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Heart (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) 5 years in the past, “I discovered my tribe,” he mentioned. This month the self-proclaimed “recovering scientist” retires from a 30-plus 12 months profession with the College of California (UC) system, together with his years at NERSC.

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

Day’s UC profession started in 1982 as a Ph.D. scholar 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 information from digital photos created for scientific use. “I cherished science, however actually turned enamored with computing,” Day mentioned. “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 Companies Group (ISG) at NERSC, he felt he’d come house. “There are literally a variety of us recovering scientists at NERSC,” Day mentioned. “I assume that it is sort 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 essential for Day to be concerned in a mission-driven group like NERSC: “Even when I wasn’t immediately the one saving lives at UCSF, I knew I used to be a part of a company that did,” Day mentioned. “It is the identical factor at NERSC: Although I am not advancing scientific data immediately, I am a part of a company that is serving to that to occur, and that has all the time been essential 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 carried out Spin, a “container” system that lets scientists simply get up and share technological instruments, reminiscent of web sites, databases, and information evaluation instruments. “I believe NERSC is sort of well-known for eradicating friction from science, and Spin is a superb instance of that.”

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

“We’re extraordinarily lucky to work with colleagues of Mark’s caliber,” mentioned 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 incredible humorousness. Mark performed a pivotal position in all the group’s initiatives, and particularly with our Federated Identification initiative, however he additionally made the work pleasing, ”Snavely mentioned.

Day mentioned he’ll miss the individuals he works with and the mental challenges of supporting science. “Whether or not determining the best way to apply a brand new know-how or attending a seminar to be taught among the science behind detecting darkish matter, I used to be continuously challenged at NERSC. I believe that is going to be onerous to duplicate in retirement. “

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

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab

The Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Heart (NERSC) is a US Division of Power Workplace of Science Person Facility that serves as the first high-performance computing heart for scientific analysis sponsored by the Workplace of Science. Positioned 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 power, supplies science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and different disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE nationwide laboratory positioned in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific analysis and is managed by the College of California for the US Division of Power. Be taught extra about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.

Supply: Margie Wylie, NERSC

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