Trained as a physicist, Jim Phillips has always gravitated towards the computational side of the field. During undergraduate summer internships he learned to program supercomputers and wrote software to visualize global earthquake and tomography data. In 1994, Phillips joined the TCB group as a graduate student, attracted by the opportunity to apply physical theory and high-performance computing to the problems of biology. Supported by Hertz and DOE fellowships, Phillips joined the NAMD team and learned the physical theory, numerical methods, parallel programming techniques, and biological applications of molecular dynamics simulation. The group's many experimental collaborations provided a stream of increasingly large simulations that drove the development of NAMD into a flexible, production-quality code. This work earned Phillips not only a Ph.D., but also a 2002 Gordon Bell Award for the parallel scalability of NAMD. Phillips remains with the group as a Senior Research Programmer, guiding NAMD development for the next generation of supercomputers, including the National Science Foundation's petascale machine to be installed at the University of Illinois.
Jim Phillips


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