James McClure, computational scientist with Advanced Research Computing at Virginia Tech, has been selected as one of six XSEDE Campus Champions for 2013-14. 

XSEDE is the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment; a program funded by the National Science Foundation to facilitate national-scale supercomputing.

As a campus champion, McClure will serve as a local source of knowledge about high-performance computing and other digital services, opportunities, and resources, empowering campus researchers to advance scientific discovery.

McClure has extensive experience in heterogeneous parallel programming, which creates the ability to break complex computations apart so that they can be executed on different portions of a computing cluster, thereby maximizing the speed of computations. He is particularly interested in developing approaches that utilize Intel’s Xeon Phi architecture to accelerate large-scale simulations.

McClure will apply this knowledge to accelerate a macromolecular modeling software package called Rosetta, which is used to predict protein structures. Researchers use Rosetta to better understand treatments for infectious diseases, cancers, and autoimmune disorders; as well as in the development of vaccines, and other specialized proteins such as binders and enzymes. 

McClure will work with principal investigator Jeffrey Gray (Johns Hopkins University) and Frank Willmore, a research associate at the University of Texas-Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center, on a project that will optimize Rosetta on the Texas center’s Stampede, currently ranked the world’s sixth fastest supercomputer.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2012, McClure received his bachelor's degree and docotoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Virginia Tech Advanced Research Computing and XSEDE share a commitment to promoting high-impact computational research that extends the reach of computation into new areas. While XSEDE operates at the national scale, the Virginia Tech group is dedicated to facilitating interdisciplinary computational research within the university. Through Advanced Research Computing, members of the Virginia Tech community can access a wealth of high-end research computing hardware, including the Intel Xeon Phi-equipped supercomputer BlueRidge and the GPU-accelerated supercomputer HokieSpeed. Additional information is available on the Advanced Research Computing website

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Susan Brooker-Gross, director of policy and communications, Information Technology.

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