Deputy Director for Science and Technology, Oak Ridge National Lab
As Deputy Director for Science and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Thomas Zacharia oversees one of the nation’s largest research and development (R&D) programs, with an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion and a portfolio that spans physical sciences, energy and engineering sciences, computing and computational sciences, neutron sciences, and global security for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other sponsors.
Thomas was originally named to the post of Deputy Laboratory Director in 2009. In September 2012, he accepted a position as the Executive Vice President of Research and Development for the Qatar Foundation, where he advanced and promoted the organization’s research initiatives in energy and environment, information and computing technology, life sciences and biomedical research, and social sciences. As executive vice president of the Qatar Foundation, he has been responsible for developing and implementing a strategy to invest in science and technology initiatives designed to contribute to Qatar’s economic prosperity, public health, environmental quality, and national security. Under his leadership, Qatar initiated construction of 2 million square feet of scientific infrastructure to support the Qatar National Research Strategy and made significant progress in recruiting world-class expertise, with more than 500 scientists joining the effort. Thomas also drew on his experience at ORNL as chairman of the Qatar Science and Technology Park, building partnerships with industry to create an international hub for applied research, innovation, and entrepreneurship that now hosts more than 40 multinational companies. He returned to ORNL in April 2015.
Thomas first joined ORNL in 1987 as a postdoctoral researcher. Soon after accepting a staff position with the Laboratory’s Metals and Ceramics Division in 1989, he established the Materials Modeling and Simulation Group and served as group leader until he was named director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division in 1998. He served as Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for High Performance Computing from 2000 to 2001 and was named Associate Laboratory Director for the newly formed Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate in 2001. He led the creation of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the realization of DOE’s goal of fielding the world’s most powerful supercomputing system. Thomas also oversaw the establishment of the National Institute for Computational Sciences, a partnership of ORNL and the University of Tennessee that successfully delivered a petascale supercomputer for the National Science Foundation in 2008 and continues to provide researchers with leadership-class high-performance computing resources, facilities, and support.
Thomas holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India, an M.S. in materials science from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in engineering science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. He holds two U.S. patents and is author or co-author of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes, including superplastic forming, casting and solidification, and the stamping process. He was named a Fellow of the American Welding Society in 2005 and elected a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Aeronautics in 2014.