Careers

Fellowship Experiences

Grey Ballard

Grey Ballard

2014 Truman Fellow

Grey graduated from Wake Forest University (WFU) with a B.S. in mathematics and computer science and an M.A. in mathematics. He also earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. As an undergraduate, Grey received the John Y. Phillips Prize in Mathematics, an annual honor given to WFU’s outstanding graduating senior in mathematics. Grey is the lead author of six journal articles, including “Minimizing communication in linear algebra,” which received the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Activity Group on Linear Algebra Prize. This prize is awarded triennially to the best linear algebra paper published in English in a peer-reviewed journal.

Grey is interested in improving fundamental computations so that they return accurate solutions more quickly, allowing scientists to work more interactively with data, solve larger problems, and improve simulation quality. Under the mentorship of Sandian Tammy Kolda, Grey is using computer-aided search to discover new and dramatically faster algorithms for matrix multiplication, one of the most fundamental computations. If successful, Grey’s improved algorithm will speed the solution of many large numerical problems of interest to Sandia and the larger world of computational simulation. Grey is also continuing his work on communication-avoiding linear algebra methods. He is analyzing the likelihood of current algorithms scaling to future exascale computers and is contributing communication-avoiding algorithms to the Trilinos library.

“Sandia provides an exciting environment for early career researchers: mentorship and collaborative opportunities with leading experts across many fields, as well as a culture of applying advances in computational research to enable bigger and better science. In addition, Truman Fellows have latitude to attack fundamental research challenges as principal investigators. This freedom is allowing me to pursue high-risk problems, as well as garner experience that will be invaluable in my scientific career. With Sandia's resources, the Truman Fellowship is an amazing opportunity to spark one’s postgraduate research endeavors.”

John Gamble

John Gamble

2014 Truman Fellow

After being chosen as one of two commencement speakers for his undergraduate class at the College of Wooster, John followed his double major in physics and mathematics with a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an undergraduate, John conducted research in liquid crystal physics, density functional theory, quantum simulation, and quantum decoherence theory. He furthered his quantum computing explorations as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, delving into multiparticle quantum random walks and the computational modeling of solid-state quantum devices. John has coauthored 18 publications and preprints on topics ranging from quantum random walks to experimental demonstrations of semiconductor quantum devices.

At Sandia, John’s goal is to increase the robustness of quantum information processing technology, facilitating the implementation of idealized schemes as real devices. Under the mentorship of Sandian Rick Muller, John is researching the physics of disordered semiconductor quantum systems in an effort to enable the design of disorder-resilient devices. To probe the impact of disorder on quantum devices, John is developing and applying numerical simulations that capture disorder’s essential physics while efficiently collecting high-quality statistics. In addition, John is developing new characterization and operation protocols for realistic quantum devices.

“The Truman Fellowship has exceeded my expectations, giving me an opportunity to integrate with an exceptional team of researchers dedicated to Sandia’s mission, as well as perform my own self-directed research. Serving as the principal investigator on my own research project is invigorating. The Truman Fellowship gives me the freedom and flexibility to see my scientific vision through, while expanding my higher-level project management skills, which are crucial to becoming a successful scientist. This freedom, taken together with generous supplemental research funding and access to Sandia’s impressive shared resources, truly makes the Truman Fellowship an ideal position for starting scientists or engineers looking to grow their careers.”