"We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.


SDSC Personnel

Ilkay Altintas, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Ilkay Altintas is the Director for the Workflows for Data Science (WorDS) Center of Excellence at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. Since joining SDSC in 2001, she has worked on different aspects of scientific workflows as a principal investigator and in other leadership roles across a wide range of cross-disciplinary NSF, NIH, DOE and Moore Foundation projects. She is a co-initiator of and an active contributor to the open-source Kepler Scientific Workflow System, and the co-author of publications related to eScience at the intersection of scientific workflows, provenance, distributed computing, bioinformatics, observatory systems, conceptual data querying, and software modeling. Ilkay received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Daniel Crawl, Ph.D., Associate Director

Dr. Daniel Crawl is the WorDS Associate Director at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. He is the lead architect for the overall integration of distributed data parallel (DDP) execution patterns and the Kepler Scientific Workflow System. He conducts research and development of execution patterns, bioActors, and distributed directors. Daniel received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado.

Shweta Purawat, New User Applications Specialist

Shweta Purawat is New-User Applications Specialist for the WorDS Center of Excellence at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. She develops compute and data intensive workflows and actors for distributed platforms that involve cloud and grid environments. She is excited about Cloud Computing, Data Science Workflows, Scientific Workflow design, Large Scale Data Intensive Computing, and Predictive Analytics. Her interest lies in designing core technology tools and applications, that act as catalyst for innovation. She holds M. Tech degree from IIT Bombay, India. Prior to joining SDSC, Shweta was a Design Engineer at Intel Corporation.

Mai Nguyen, Ph.D., Senior Data Scientist

Dr. Mai Nguyen is a data scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD.  She has industry experience in data mining, business intelligence, data warehousing, and application design and development.  She has worked in several application areas, including spacecraft autonomy, target recognition, remote sensing, information retrieval, and predictive analytics.  Her research interests are in the application of data mining techniques to interdisciplinary problems.  Her work at SDSC also includes developing workflows for data mining projects.  Mai has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science, with emphasis on artificial intelligence, from UCSD.

Alok Singh, Computational Data Science Research Specialist

Alok graduated from the Department of Computer Science at UCSD with MS degree. His research interests are Predictive Modeling, Data Management Technologies, Large Scale Data Analytics, and Distributed Data Processing. He has B.Tech and M.Tech degrees from IIT Bombay, India.

Susan Rathbun, Business Development Manager

Susan Rathbun is the WorDS Business Development Manager at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego. Since joining SDSC in 2000, her experience spans the support of senior management, strategic initiatives, large scale and special events, industry relations, business development and communications. In addition to WorDS Susan is the Business Development Manager for SDSC's Industry Partners Program (IPP), SDSC's Predictive Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE) as well as SDSC's External Relations Liaison.


Cindy Wong, Administrative support

Application Advisors

Jessica Block, Advisor for Geospatial Applications

Jessica Block is a Research Analyst with Calit2 at UCSD. She is an interdisciplinary geologist and urban ecologist specializing in the use of sensor networks, remote sensing, and geospatial visualization tools for disaster response, natural resource management, policy decision-making, and sustainability. She is an expert in the management and fusion of datasets from disparate sources, and uses visualization technology as the bridge between university research and the needs of community members. She has a BS in geology from UCLA, and a MS in geology and urban ecology from Arizona State University. Her research in environmental sustainability has covered regions in the American West, Southeast Australia, Peru, and Mexico where growing populations depend on increasingly unstable resources in the face of climate change.

Eric Allen, Ph.D., Advisor for Bioinformatics Applications

Dr. Eric Allen researches the use of environmentally-derived genome sequence information to explore the genetic potential, ecology, and evolution of marine microbial populations. The nature of his work relies equally upon field-based collections, bioinformatics (genome assembly, annotation, and comparative analyses) and the tools of molecular ecology and genetics.

Weizhong Li, Ph.D., Advisor for Metagenomics Applications

Dr. Weizhong Li is an Associate Research Scientist at Center for Research in Biological Systems, UCSD. He has a background in computational biology and bioinformatics. His research focuses on developing computational methods for sequence, genomic, and metagenomic data analysis. Weizhong received a Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry, Nankai University, China.

Rommie Amaro, Ph.D., Advisor for Computational Drug Discovery Applications

Dr. Rommie Amaro is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD, and Director of NBCR. Her research is broadly concerned with the development and application of state-of-the-art computational methods to address outstanding questions in drug discovery and molecular-level biophysics. Her lab focuses mainly on targeting neglected diseases, Chlamydia, influenza, and cancer, and works closely with experimental collaborators to catalyze the discovery of new potential therapeutic agents. The Amaro Lab is also keenly interested in developing new multiscale simulation methods and novel modeling paradigms that scale from the level of atoms to whole cells, and beyond.


Albert Lawrence, Ph.D., Advisor for Image Processing Applications

Dr. Albert Lawrence once had the dream of describing the brain mathematically.  He has persisted in pursuing this vision since obtaining his degree in the esoteric discipline of algebraic topology in 1972.  Some more recent results of this pursuit of mathematical purity via a detour through image processing and 3D reconstruction may be found at his NBCR Wiki page.


Mark H. Ellisman, Ph.D., Advisor for Biomedical Applications

Dr. Mark H. Ellisman is the Director of NCMIR, and since 1996, Dr. Ellisman has served as the founding director of the UCSD Center for Research in Biological Systems (CRBS). Dr. Ellisman’s research promotes the development and application of advanced imaging technologies to obtain new information about cell structure and function, structural correlates of nerve impulse conduction and axonal transport, cellular interactions during nervous system regeneration, cellular mechanisms regulating transient changes in cytoplasmic calcium, and aging in the central nervous system.


Yu "Max" Qian, Ph.D., Advisor for Flow Cytometry Applications

Dr. Yu “Max” Qian is an assistant professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). He specializes in flow cytometry (FCM) informatics. He was the primary algorithm designer and one of the leading developers of the FCM component of ImmPort, the NIAID/DAIT-funded immunology database and analysis portal. As an informatics researcher, he leads and/or co-develops a suite of standards, models, algorithms, and software systems for computational FCM data analysis, including FLOCK, FCSTrans, FuGEFlow, MIFlowCyt, and GenePattern FCM suite. Before joining JCVI in 2013, he was leading the natural language processing project at Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), Parkland Health and Hospital System at Dallas on real-time disease identification for re-admission reduction. At JCVI, one of his ongoing projects is developing advanced analytical cyber-infrastructures to support integrative management of heterogeneous data and parallel running of analytical workflows through active collaborations with Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).


Group Members


  • Ryan Almodovar
  • Ankush Agrawal
  • Sherman Cheung
  • Kristiyan Dzhamalov
  • Eric Fakhourian
  • Sahil Jain
  • David Justo
  • Daniel Lee
  • James Macindoe
  • Tahereh Masoumi
  • Aisa Na'im
  • Elle Nguyen-Khoa
  • Hayden Razzell
  • Matthew Schwegler
  • Saurabh Sharma
  • Hamid Tavakolifard
  • Samson Tse
  • Jiashen Wang
  • Alaen K. Yeung