PSC Staff Profile - Nathan T.B. Stone, Ph.D. (with PSC since 1998)
"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." -- Charles Dickens
Nathan Stone, Senior Research Analyst with our Advanced Systems Group, took some time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us about his time at PSC. Since 1998, this Long Island transplant continues to be PSC’s “Mr. Versatility”.
PSC: Long Island is a long drive from Pittsburgh... what brought you to the PSC?
Nathan: I was working in the STAR experimental physics group at Brookhaven National Lab. While I loved the lab and the work, I was much less satisfied with Long Island, and my wife and I had talked several times about moving somewhere better for our family.
One fine summer day our research group hosted a large "collaboration meeting" for all scientists working with STAR, which Mike Levine and Sergiu Sanielevici attended. PSC was providing compute cycles for our event simulations at that time. As a local resident I "played tour guide" and was leading their group through the accelerator and around our experimental apparatus. When they told me where they worked I asked if they might have any job openings. They were very affirming and invited me to come to PGH to interview. Within 6 months I was here. Before that meeting I had never even thought about supercomputers. Since that meeting, I have rarely stopped. :-)
PSC: So you’ve been here thirteen years, any thoughts on how PSC has impacted HPC?
Nathan: More than just the hardware and resources, PSC has brought a relentless can-do spirit to HPC. Ralph (Roskies) brings an astonishing acumen to the business of science. And Michael (Levine) brings his insatiable appetite for a detailed understanding of the inner workings of hardware and software alike to bear upon all of our designs and acquisitions. Their passion is infectious and their courage undaunted. With our world renowned assembly of user services consultants and support we show day after day that it really is possible for motivated scientists to make productive use of such vast computational resources whatever their domain of expertise. In the past 25 years, PSC has shown that science is more than institutional size or funding. It is a drive--a thirst. It is what makes supercomputing so super! And emphasizing science is what has consistently distinguished PSC among its peers.
PSC: What is your most compelling memory over the years?
Nathan: The day I came to interview for a job at PSC I can't guess who made more of an impression: me upon PSC, or Michael upon me. Before I left for my hotel Michael offered that if I were going to come to Pittsburgh I would need to do some house-hunting. As a non-native to PGH, it would probably help if I knew some of the neighborhoods first. So he promptly offered to drive me around the city showing me the various places I might like. I don't even remember if I got dinner that night.
What I do remember is the next 4+ hours driving around Da Burgh with Michael learning where I could live, and where many other interesting places were... from the top of Mt. Washington to the bottom of Duck Hollow. What a host! If there is ever a question to answer, he'll be there.
PSC: Glad Michael didn’t run out of gas.