Walter M. Polansky

Acting Director of the Computational Science Research & Partnerships Division
Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research
Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy


Advancing Science through High Performance Computing - Challenges and Opportunities

Harnessing the potential of high-performance computing has never been easy. For credible, predictive modeling and simulation of scientific and engineered systems of interest to the Department of Energy’s mission, it can be daunting and well beyond the capability of an individual researcher. In 2001, the DOE's Office of Science initiated the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program to break-through this bottleneck. Under SciDAC, teams of mathematicians, computer scientists, scientific software developers and computational scientists were formed to advance understanding in a range of scientific endeavors, materials, chemistry, high-energy physics, nuclear physics, climate and fusion through modeling and simulation. The program has been so successful, that it was renewed and expanded in 2006. Lessons learned from SciDAC and possible future opportunities for deploying the SciDAC-model will be discussed.


Dr. Polansky is the Acting Director of the Computational Science Research & Partnerships Division of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research. The Division supports world-class research in applied mathematics, computational science, high performance computer science and advanced networks and in applying the potential of petascale computing to advanced scientific applications. The requested budget for the Division for FY2009 is $142,000,000. In addition, Walt has been tasked by the Department of Energy's Under Secretary for Science to develop a strategy for a cyber security research and development program for the DOE, an action from the DOE Cyber Security Summit of 2007.

In 2006, Dr. Polansky lead a team of program managers that recompeted the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program, resulted in a portfolio of research partnerships with an annual budget of nearly $67,000,000 . The goal of SciDAC is to fully realize the potential of petascale computing for advancing scientific discovery.

Dr. Polansky also served as the Acting Senior Information Management Executive for the Office of Science, and was responsible for reporting information technology, in accordance with OMB Circular A-11, the Clinger-Cohen Act and the Federal Information Security Management Act. The Office of Science information technology portfolio is comprised of over 275 investments, ranging in complexity from desktop systems through high-performance computing architectures, with a portfolio value of $335,000,000.


Ph.D., Physics, University of Cincinnati, 1975.
M.S., Physics, University of Cincinnati, 1972.
B.S., Physics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1970.

updated: 2008-10-13