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

June 23, 2022 – When Mark Day got here to the Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Middle (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 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 buildings. 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 photographs created for scientific use. “I cherished science, however actually grew to become 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 during which 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 plenty of us recovering scientists at NERSC,” Day stated. “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 used to be indirectly the one saving lives at UCSF, I knew I used to be a part of a corporation that did,” Day stated. “It is the identical factor at NERSC: Though I am not advancing scientific information straight, I am a part of a corporation 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 workforce that carried out Spin, a “container” system that lets scientists simply rise up and share technological instruments, equivalent to web sites, databases, and knowledge evaluation instruments. “I believe NERSC is sort 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 Id challenge, which permits scientists to entry NERSC methods and sources by their house establishments’ logins. “I all the time felt like we’re a part of a reasonably sturdy workforce at NERSC, so all of the issues I would wish to cite are actually workforce 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 isn’t solely a superb technologist, however he is additionally articulate, beneficiant, and has a incredible humorousness. Mark performed a pivotal function in the entire group’s tasks, and particularly with our Federated Id initiative, however he additionally made the work pleasant, ”Snavely stated.

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

Nonetheless, he’s trying 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 Power Analysis Scientific Computing Middle (NERSC) is a US Division of Power Workplace of Science Consumer Facility that serves as the first high-performance computing middle for scientific analysis sponsored by the Workplace of Science. Positioned at Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory, the NERSC Middle 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 positioned in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific analysis and is managed by the College of California for the US Division of Power. Study extra about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.

Supply: Margie Wylie, NERSC

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