## Ed Seidel wins Fernbach prize for Cactus and Black Hole Work

**November 2006:**

Ed Seidel won the 2006 Sidney Fernbach Award for his work with Cactus and Black Holes. He received one of the highest honors in computational science at the annual Supercomputing Conference in Tampa, Fla. on Nov. 15. Seidel gave a keynote address on his research at the conference. He was honored for his work to develop collaborative, high-performance computing approaches to solve complex problems in physics, such as Einstein’s equations of general relativity, specifically for colliding black holes, which was the subject of his speech. | Ed talking about Cactus (-a movie of 194 MB!) |

In his speech, Seidel discussed how developing the software needed to solve these problems has advanced breakthroughs in grid computing and high-performance computing for other academic disciplines with similar complex challenges, such as fluid dynamics and coastal sciences.

Using the high-performance software that Seidel and the CCT researchers developed to model black hole collisions will enable researchers to make predictions on what gravitational waves would look like, and the supercomputing technology at CCT allows teams of researchers from different fields to work together at mapping the collisions.

Offering scientists a model for understanding what gravitational waves from black hole collisions look like will ultimately lead to breakthroughs in physics and astronomy, Seidel said.

Among the past recipients are John B. Bell (2005), Jack J. Dongarra
(2003), Michael L. Norman (1999) and Phillip Collela (1998). *(Source
CCT Weekly)*

See SC06 flyer for Sidney Fernbach Award.

*There are only a handful of awards in the computational sciences that
mark career achievements. Edward Seidel, director of LSU’s Center for
Computation and Technology, or CCT, has just received one of the most
prestigious honors, the Sidney Fernbach Award.*

Given by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, computer society, this international award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches. It was established in 1992 in memory of Sidney Fernbach, one of the pioneers in the development and application of high-performance computers for the solution of large computational problems.

The Fernbach Prize is one of the most coveted in the field of computer science. The IEEE computer society recognized Seidel for outstanding contributions to the development of software for high-performance computing and grid computing to enable the collaborative numerical investigation of complex problems in physics, particularly focusing on modeling black hole collisions.

Seidel’s successful work in numerical relativity, the mathematical investigation of relativity through the solution of Einstein’s equations, has been aided by technologies and methods developed by Seidel and his teams of researchers throughout the past several years.

For example, he realized early on that instead of using a specific algorithm to solve a particular form of the Einstein equations, he could develop a general approach to solving a broad set of partial differential equations with a wide variety of algorithms. However, to accomplish this, he needed a more multi-faceted tool. This led to the development of the Cactus ToolKit, a comprehensive, modular tool for high performance computing. Cactus is now used in many scientific applications that have complex problems to solve. Similarly, Seidel found that his research would be greatly enhanced by using multiple supercomputing resources to solve very complex, computationally intense problems. He and his research team pursued solving these equations using supercomputers in different locations simultaneously, which led to breakthroughs in the field of grid computing.

Seidel’s career is marked by a history of risk-taking experimentation that has paid huge dividends in scientific discovery. His scientific legacy combines an extraordinary grasp of very complex concepts, with a keen eye for the uses of technology and the ability to inspire diverse groups of researchers, scientists and students to lend the full range of their expertise to solving complex problems in novel and groundbreaking ways. It is this level of leadership that makes his work one of the best examples of the success of LSU’s Flagship Agenda.