Former ASTRO, Post-Master’s participant supports ORNL supercomputing efforts Meet Arghya “Ronnie” Chatterjee

Arghya “Ronnie” Chatterjee’s introduction to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) came while he was pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Chatterjee discovered that his future mentor at ORNL, Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., was conducting research in high performance computing that aligned perfectly with his own studies at Rice.


 (Submitted by Arghya "Ronnie" Chatterjee)

Eager to get exposure to real-world science applications, Chatterjee applied for a summer internship at ORNL through the Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO) Program. The ASTRO program, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the Department of Energy, assigns graduate students to projects in the basic and applied sciences, energy and environment.

During his ASTRO internship, Chatterjee explored task-based programming models as an on-ramp for exascale applications running on the computing resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF).

Chatterjee continued to conduct research he had begun during his ASTRO internship as a participant in ORNL’s GO! program. After earning his master’s degree at Rice, Chatterjee started a doctoral program in high performance computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

After a year and a half as a GO! participant, Chatterjee joined the Post-Master’s Research Associate Program at ORNL. This ORISE-administered program offers opportunities to recent recipients of master’s degrees to conduct research in areas that support ORNL missions in the basic and applied sciences, energy and environment. 

As a research associate, Chatterjee focused on a condensed matter physics application that predicts behavioral properties of quantum materials, such as superconductivity or magnetism. As part of this project, which was funded by the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) initiative, Chatterjee collaborated closely with domain scientists and application developers at universities, companies and other national laboratories.

Chatterjee’s experience as an intern and research associate paid off. He recently joined ORNL full-time as a research and development staff member (performance engineer) in the Scientific Computing Group of the National Center for Computational Sciences. In this role, Chatterjee supports and optimizes Excascale Computing Project applications, as well as Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) applications for Frontier, OLCF’s first exascale supercomputer, which is scheduled to debut in 2021. Additionally, he supports a SciDAC application and liaises with multiple domain science applications supported through DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

He also mentors a participant in the ASTRO program, the same internship that first brought him to Oak Ridge. For Chatterjee, it has been a pleasure to see his intern progress and develop. “Mentorship has been a great experience for me overall, for sure, and I’m looking forward to all the future collaborations with interns,” he said.

His advice for future interns? Don’t be afraid when taking that “first step” in your career. 

“It can sound daunting and scary to be interning at a DOE facility, but try to use all the resources available at ORNL, always ask questions when in doubt, and remember that you’re not the only one in the room who is struggling.”

To help ease the transition for participants just starting at the Lab, Chatterjee maintains the ORNL Interns Facebook group. This page offers incoming participants a forum to ask questions, connect with their peers and learn about social opportunities. 

The ASTRO and Post-Master’s Research Associate programs are administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.