A Career Discussion with Matt Rolchigo



The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has accelerated the delivery of a capable exascale computing ecosystem to provide breakthrough solutions for the nation’s most critical challenges. But the impacts of the project go beyond technology. The ECP has also provided tremendous opportunities for young researchers to develop knowledge and relationships within the high-performance computing (HPC) community by supporting continued individual and collaborative excellence in the field.

Matt Rolchigo is a computational and materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and a researcher on the ECP’s Additive Manufacturing (AM) project. His group’s work has enabled accurate multiscale and multiphysics modeling of AM processes to accelerate AM research and the integration of underutilized materials into next-generation manufacturing techniques.

Rolchigo became interested in HPC during his graduate work at Iowa State University when he interned at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. As a student and then postdoc at LLNL, Rolchigo applied his background in materials science while learning to code on cutting-edge hardware. “I greatly value the expertise I acquired in both of these areas, especially everything I learned about coding from my colleagues at LLNL,” he said. “The ECP has been a fantastic resource for connecting experts across fields like this.”

Rolchigo also credits the ECP with supporting his transition to ORNL by fostering connections with researchers there. Since arriving at ORNL, he has become a resident expert in microstructure modeling code for metal 3D printing, giving him a chance to pass on the knowledge he has gained during his efforts with the ECP.

For early career scientists interested in HPC, Rolchigo emphasizes patience, persistence, and humility. “Don’t be overwhelmed. Pick up information from everyone around you and give yourself space to create your own niche of expertise,” he said. “Don’t feel like you need to come in as an expert.”