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Elsa Gonsiorowski Helps Users and Applications Perform Their Best

Supercomputing architectures depend on fast, reliable communication between systems and data. Livermore Computing (LC) maintains and improves performance with both homegrown and third-party I/O (input/output) applications. “If applications don’t read and write files in an efficient manner,” system software developer Elsa Gonsiorowski warns, “entire systems can crash.”

Managing the Laboratory’s high performance computing (HPC) ecosystem requires frequent checkpointing and benchmarking. Gonsiorowski uses proxy applications and libraries (e.g., SCR) to monitor restart operations, failure recovery, load balancing, and shared resources. Gonsiorowski enjoys being part of a team that enables leading-edge HPC research. “My main motivation is to help the science get done,” she says. “I do that by advocating best practices for performing I/O.”

While studying computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York), Gonsiorowski became interested in HPC. Her Ph.D. dissertation was on discrete-event simulations in parallel systems, which, being based events rather than time, differ from Livermore’s continuous simulation paradigm. When she came to the Laboratory for an interview as a postdoctoral researcher, she learned about an open staff research position in LC. Since part of her thesis involved creating a checkpointing library for a simulation engine, the opportunity to work with I/O applications was too tempting to pass up. “I realized I could interact with those in my field—HPC—while discovering the field of I/O,” she says.

Gonsiorowski joined the Laboratory in the fall of 2016 and immediately appreciated the advantages of Livermore’s world-class computing facility and supportive environment for postdocs. “It’s the perfect blend of academia and industry. You can balance cutting-edge research and production-level software with real users,” she says. “The atmosphere is fantastic.”

Performance goals also play a part in Gonsiorowski’s life outside the Laboratory. Formerly a member of a nationally competitive high school rowing crew, she now channels her athletic passion into CrossFit. “The best part about CrossFit is that it’s worldwide,” says Gonsiorowski. She has visited gyms in London, Vienna, Toronto, Seattle, and more.