Logo: University of Southern California

Simulation Specialist Named American Physical Society Fellow

"Professor Nakano is a true interdisciplinary scholar ... who has made profound contributions in connecting computing with the natural sciences"

January 07, 2010 —

Aiichiro Nakano, who uses supercomputers to create striking visual models vividly showing the interactions of millions of individual atoms, is a new Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Nakano is a Professor of Computer Science, Physics & Astronomy, and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science who was a co-founder of the Collaboratory for Advanced Computing and Simulations (CACS) with Priya Vashishta and Rajiv Kalia, who came to USC together in 2002 to create the center.

His home page at the CACS cites recent achievements in large-scale visualizations, including:

  1. unprecedented scales of quantum-mechanically accurate and well validated, chemically reactive molecular-dynamics (MD) simulations--1.59 billion-atom reactive force-field MD and 17.7 million-atom (1.56 trillion grid points) quantum-mechanical (QM) MD in the framework of density functional theory on adaptive multigrids--in addition to 201 billion-atom space-time multiresolution MD, with parallel efficiency over 0.99 on 196,608 BlueGene/L processors;
  2. an automated execution of hierarchical QM/MD simulation on a Grid of 6 supercomputer centers, in which the number of processors changed dynamically on demand and resources were allocated and migrated dynamically in response to unexpected faults; and
  3. real-time visualization of a billion-atom chemical bond network, with an embedded graph-based topological analysis.

His Fellowship citation from the APS cites his "development and implementation of scalable parallel and distributed algorithms for large-scale atomistic simulations to predict, visualize, and analyze reaction processes for novel nano-mechano-chemical phenomena encompassing diverse spatiotemporal scales."

Atoms in action: CACS visualization
"Professor Nakano is a true interdisciplinary scholar," said CS chair Shanghua Teng. "He has been doing cutting edge research in computational science, visualization, and high performance scientific simulation.  His selection of the Fellow of the American Physical Society is a thoroughly justified recognition of his profound contribution in connecting computing with natural sciences."

The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the Society membership is recognized by their peers for election to the status of Fellow in the American Physical Society.

Nakano will be honored at the APS award ceremony in Portland, Oregon March 10. Founded in 1899, the APS published Physical Review and other prestigious journals. According to its mission statement, it strives to "be the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity."