Supersizing Computing: 70 years of HPC

LLNL Scientist(s)
Jane Herriman
Erin M. McKay
Teacher's School
Tracy High School


Computation, alongside theory and experiment, is one of the pillars of scientific research and discovery, and technological advances over the last 70 years have progressively enabled us to do more with computers than ever before. We have seen some of these advancements in our daily lives — with the adoption and increasing importance of the internet, personal computers, social media, and smart devices — and science has been just as impacted. This talk will focus on the evolution of the world’s fastest and most powerful computers — “supercomputing” machines that fill entire rooms and are used to solve problems in the national interest. This talk will discuss the increasing capabilities of supercomputing, some of the changes that have allowed these machines to become ever faster, and changes that we expect to see in future.



Jane Herriman received a M. S. and Ph. D. in Materials Science from the California Institute of Technology after receiving a B. S. in Chemistry and B. A. in French and Francophone Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. In between, she performed research at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland as a Fulbright scholar. She spent a few years as a student intern in the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate at LLNL before joining the staff at Livermore Computing (LC), the supercomputing center at LLNL. Currently, she is a technical consultant on the LC Hotline and project leader for the LC Visualization team, and assists with various HPC documentation and teaching efforts.


Erin M. McKay received her B. S. in Biology with an emphasis in Plant Biology and her science teaching credential from the University of California, Davis. While attending UC Davis, she interned at AgraQuest. She is a Biology teacher at Tracy High School in Tracy, CA. She began teaching at Tracy High School in 2002. She also is an instructor in the Bioscience Teacher Research Academy and Biotechnology Summer Experience for high school students at LLNL.