Karthik Duraisamy, associate professor of Aerospace Engineering, and an associate director of the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering, has been named director of the joint Ph.D. in Scientific Computing program effective on January 1, 2022. Professor Duraisamy’s research involves the development of theory and algorithms for computational modeling of complex physical systems. He was the principal investigador of ConFlux, an NSF Major Research Instrumentation project that led to the development of a first of its kind computing instrument specifically designed to enable High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters to communicate seamlessly and at interactive speeds with data-intensive operations. Currently he directs the Air Force Center of Excellence on Rocket Combustion modeling. He is invested in educating future researchers with a strong computational background capable of using the power of computing for problem solving. He worked with the group that launched the course Methods and Practice in Scientific Computing, and developed and teaches a course on data-driven analysis and modeling of complex systems. These two courses give students a solid foundation, enabling them to use HPC in their research.
Professor Duraisamy replaces Ken Powell, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Aerospace Engineering, who stepped down from the role after 18 years of service. As a young assistant professor, Professor Powell was an instrumental member of the original team that conceived and launched the program back in 1989. The field of computational fluid dynamics, where his research interests lie, has always included an active community of HPC users and developers, thus he was always actively involved in the program through research, teaching and student advising. In 2004 he succeeded Professor William Martin as director of the program. During his time as director, he met and advised every single one of the over 350 students that enrolled in the program. Through this time he became an expert on scientific computing courses across the university, and witnessed first hand the explosion in computational and data science usage, reflected in the research scope of the students enrolling in the program.
Professor Duraisamy has big shoes to fill, but he is being assisted by the MICDE Management and Education Committee. The program’s mission, to train U-M students in scientific computing and to support the growing computational and data science community at the University of Michigan, will itself continue to expand.