Page 8 - UD Research Magazine Vol5-No1
P. 8

The McDaniel File (that’s code for ‘computing excellence’)
Sean McDaniel was but a young tyke when his dad introduced him to computers. McDaniel’s fascination with all things code brought him to UD, where he recently received his bachelor of science in computer and information sciences—the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Now, he has his sights set on a doctorate in the field.
This past November, McDaniel achieved a major national honor: he won the best poster award at the prestigious ACM Supercomputing Conference in New Orleans, a gathering
of more than 10,000 computer experts.
Age: I’m 27 years old. After graduating from high school, I decided to take some time before college to decide whatIwantedtodoinlife.
Award-winning research: Last summer,
I interned at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with Dr. Oral and
Dr. Nam, collaborators of
my UD adviser, Dr. Michela Taufer. We analyzed the per- formance of an application in cosmologycalledHACC,cre- ated by Argonne National Lab- oratory. HACC can execute very fast, accurate simulations of galaxies’ mass on supercom- puters, barring the need to extract large amounts of data generated by these simulations. The problem is that scientists need this big data for visualiza- tion and scientific learning. We computer scientists can play a key role in making the process of data extraction efficient. I worked with a simplified ver- sion of the HACC code that specifically targets this prob- lem and helped my advisers to understand whether we can trust this simplified (and easier to use) version of the code.
Reaction to the award: As this was my first competition, I did not expect to win first place. I actu- ally let out an audible “What?” when my name was called.
I was sure some of the other talented students would win.
Why computer science? It’s a long story, but the short version is my father introduced me to com- puterswhenIwasyoung.We would have long conversations over the phone about new hardware and software, and I was always eager to learn more to impress him the next time we had a chance to talk.
I find the sheer ubiquity of computers amazing. The fact that in my pocket I have more computing power than what took the first men to the moon is very cool. New discoveries are happening so fast it’s head spin- ning. I look forward to future breakthroughs in computing research and hopefully being able to contribute, too, one day.
Career goal: To work for a company in the industry, preferably one of the big giants such as Google or Microsoft. However, recently I have been interested in learning more about a career in academia. For now, I have a long time to think it over, as I just started graduate school in computer science here at UD.

   6   7   8   9   10