Published March 5, 2019
CSEM 2018 Graduate Johann Rudi has won the Oden Institute's 2019 Outstanding Dissertation Award.
Entitled Global Convection in Earth's Mantle: Advanced Numerical Methods and Extreme-Scale Simulations, his dissertation addresses the scientifically important problem of simulating convection in the mantle of the entire Earth. Johann Rudi currently serves as the Wilkinson Fellow in Scientific Computing at Argonne National Laboratory.
The dissertation was recognized for being "well written and describing an impressive and comprehensive body of work."
The Oden Institute's interdisciplinary program requires dissertations involve applicable mathematics, scientific computation and numerical analysis, plus appli- cation of the work to resolve an important scientific or engineering problem.
"We were impressed with the depth of research in all three areas," said Professor Todd Arbogast, head of the selection committee. "In fact, what Johann did is well above and beyond what we expect a standard graduate student to achieve. As his advisor noted, the dissertation is a "tour de force of computational science" and the results are key for understanding a range of fundamental solid earth dynamics problems, from plate tectonics and earthquake generation to mountain building and volcanism."
As evidence of the impact of the dissertation, one journal paper has already been published in perhaps the top journal in scientific computing, and two papers have appeared in the proceedings of the highly prestigious ACM/IEEE SC (i.e., supercomputing) conferences in 2012 and 2015. Three more papers are in various stages of completion.
As a testament to the breadth and depth, Rudi's paper has been recognized by research communities in three separate areas: (1) he was a finalist for the 2015 Melosh Medal, an international competition for best student paper in finite element methods used to approximate the solutions of partial differential equations, (2) he won the Best Student Paper award at the 2016 Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods, used to solve systems of linear and nonlinear equations, and, most importantly, (3) as part of a team, he won of the ACM Gordon Bell Prize in 2015 for high performance computing. This latter award is particularly noteworthy, since it is not restricted to students but is open to researchers internationally.