Dr. Thomas Zacharia

Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Zacharia, who became Laboratory Director on July 1, 2017, is responsible for a diverse portfolio of science and energy research and development spanning fundamental research in physics, biology, and chemistry through clean energy; energy generation, distribution, and end use; and national security programs. Operating responsibilities include a nuclear reactor, a high-power proton accelerator, classified activities, and a complex array of research facilities and construction projects. He is responsible for an annual budget exceeding $1.4 billion.

Dr. Zacharia first joined ORNL in 1987 as a postdoctoral researcher. Soon after accepting a staff position with the Laboratory’s Metals and Ceramics Division in 1989, he established the Materials Modeling and Simulation Group and served as group leader until he was named director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division in 1998. He served as Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for High Performance Computing from 2000 to 2001 and was named Associate Laboratory Director for the newly formed Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate in 2001.  He led the creation of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the realization of DOE’s goal of fielding the world’s most powerful supercomputing system.  Dr. Zacharia also oversaw the establishment of the National Institute for Computational Sciences, a partnership of ORNL and the University of Tennessee that successfully delivered a petascale supercomputer for the National Science Foundation in 2008 and continues to provide researchers with leadership-class high-performance computing resources, facilities, and support. Prior to becoming Lab Director, he served as the Deputy for Science and Technology, overseeing all the Laboratory’s R&D programs.

Thomas holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India, an M.S. in materials science from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in engineering science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.  He holds two U.S. patents and is author or co-author of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes, including superplastic forming, casting and solidification, and the stamping process.  He was named a Fellow of the American Welding Society in 2005, elected a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics in 2014, and named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015.

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