The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego has appointed Rick Wagner as its chief technology officer. Wagner brings a wealth of experience in high-performance computing (HPC) systems and a “science first” perspective to his new role.
Wagner previously worked at SDSC between 2010 and 2016, starting as an HPC Systems Engineer and then progressing to become the HPC Systems Manager. After his tenure at SDSC, he joined the University of Chicago as part of the Globus management team, where he oversaw the Professional Services group. In this position, he worked closely with the research community to design and implement large-scale data initiatives.
In 2020, Wagner returned to UC San Diego, where he served as the Principal Systems Integration Engineer in the Research IT Services group. In this capacity, he assisted campus researchers and faculty in adopting new technologies and services. His academic background includes a Ph.D. in physics from UC San Diego, which allows him to offer a unique and balanced perspective when combining technology with scientific research.
During his previous tenure at SDSC’s Data-Enabled Scientific Computing (DESC) Division, Wagner led numerous innovative projects in the field of cyberinfrastructure. One of his most significant achievements was overseeing the acquisition and deployment of Comet, the National Science Foundation’s first HPC system supporting virtualization. This endeavor was valued at $12 million and involved the co-design, deployment, and management of over 13 petabytes of Lustre storage. Wagner also managed other NSF clusters, including Gordon and Trestles, as well as the ShaRCS Thresher cluster and Triton Shared Computing Cluster (TSCC).
Beyond larger-scale projects, Wagner’s contributions extended to the creation of a Raspberry Pi Linux cluster called Meteor. This cluster aimed to teach parallel computing to students through visualization and gaming. Additionally, he played a role in aiding the Open Science Grid in processing LHC data and assessing digital curation for astrophysics data publication.
As the new CTO of SDSC, Wagner will be an integral part of the center’s leadership team. He will help shape SDSC’s high-performance computing and data technology vision, driving technology innovation to address various research challenges. SDSC Director Frank Würthwein emphasized Wagner’s qualifications and experiences, highlighting his ability to bridge the gap between scientific research, advanced technology, and the private sector.
In his new role, Wagner will contribute to SDSC’s commitment to staying at the forefront of cutting-edge research computing. With his expertise and passion for both science and technology, Wagner brings a unique perspective to SDSC’s leadership team, furthering the center’s mission to advance research through advanced computing and data systems.