PhD/Physics & Astronomy
Max received his Ph.D. from the Department of Physics and Astronomy in August 2016.
His dissertation research focused on computational fluid dynamics simulations of mergers
and collisions of stars, and was supervised by Professor Michael Zingale. Prior to
that he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
As a Solutions Architect at NVIDIA, Max is tasked with supporting the users of GPU-based
computing systems. The duties range from training new users to port their software
to GPU-based programming approaches, to assisting experienced users to improve their
existing software to obtain better performance on the systems they already use. In
particular, Max will be the primary NVIDIA liaison with the users of the upcoming
Sierra supercomputer to be built at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, an IBM
supercomputer that will employ NVIDIA GPUs to obtain over 100 petaflops of peak computational
Structure of a typical day
A typical day will generally consist of some combination of keeping up with bleeding
edge advances in NVIDIA’s GPU architectures, continued training and practice to retain
expertise in GPU programming techniques such as CUDA and OpenACC, and fielding questions
from users of NVIDIA GPU systems on how to improve the performance of their software.
Max’s supervisor came to the IACS to do a GPU training session, and although Max was
out of town at the time and could not attend, his future supervisor mentioned that
he was hiring, and a faculty member who knew Max (Doug Swesty) and did attend the
session linked them together. Max had actually mainly been doing a job search among
postdoctoral research positions at DOE national laboratories at the time, so to some
extent it was just a right time, right place opportunity.
Max strongly encourages students to look at applications for their research techniques
that transcend the typical boundaries of an academic postdoc. Especially for people
who are competent software developers, there are many opportunities to employ your
skills at government/private research labs and in industry. Along those lines, build
your skills in software development, regardless of your core research focus, because
it will vastly improve your employability and productivity.
Also, be sure you are having fun and enjoying your work, no matter what you do.