Duraisamy to lead Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering

By Eric Shaw Office of the Vice President for Research

Karthik Duraisamy, an aerospace engineer who specializes in the development of theory and algorithms for computational modeling of complex physical systems, will lead the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering as its new director.

His three-year appointment begins Jan. 1.

Karthik Duraisamy

The Office of the Vice President for Research launched MICDE in 2013, and since its inception, the institute has solidified the University of Michigan as a national leader in computational science and research.

As director, Duraisamy will lead efforts to expand the development and innovative use of mathematical algorithms and models on high-performance computers, with the ultimate goal being to support basic and applied research and development across a wide spectrum of disciplines in science and engineering.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead MICDE, especially at a time when many new and exciting ideas are emerging in computational science,” said Duraisamy, professor of aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering.

“I am looking forward to working with the incredible talent we have at U-M to expand the frontiers of computational science, and in more firmly establishing the role of computing in solving the grand challenge problems facing humanity.”

Duraisamy received a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, and he joined U-M in 2013 as an assistant professor of aerospace engineering. That same year, he worked with colleagues from across U-M to help launch MICDE.

Duraisamy has served as associate director of MICDE since 2016, working closely with Krishna Garikipati, who will step down this month after a six-year tenure as institute director. Under Garikipati’s leadership, the depth and breadth of research and teaching in computational science greatly expanded.

Under Garikipati’s directorship, MICDE has enabled the establishment of research centers focused on data-driven computational physics, scientific software and network/storage-enabled computing.

These centers and other impactful work, such as exploring how to control the use of tobacco using computational science, were funded by significant federal and industry grants secured by MICDE. The institute also has catalyzed more than 25 research projects in areas ranging from quantum computing and cancer modeling to galaxy formation and modeling the climate.

Duraisamy will maintain his faculty role in the College of Engineering, and will continue to direct the university’s Ph.D. in scientific computing program, which MICDE has overseen since 2013. During Garikipati’s tenure as institute director, enrollment in its Ph.D. program increased from 20 to 150 students, with students at nine U-M schools and colleges.

An overarching theme in Duraisamy’s research involves the use of computational methods to answer scientific and engineering questions at the desired level of sophistication, with an understanding of the effect of modeling uncertainties on the predicted results.

Duraisamy was the principal investigator of ConFlux, a project that led to the development of a novel computing ecosystem specifically designed to enable high-performance computing clusters to communicate seamlessly, and at interactive speeds, with data-intensive operations. He also directs the Air Force Center of Excellence, a multiuniversity research collaboration that aims to enable efficient prediction of instabilities in liquid-fueled rocket combustion systems.

“The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering has become a model among our peer institutions for its ability to catalyze research and foster collaborations across a wide variety of disciplines,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research.

“The tremendous progress demonstrated by the institute over the past nine years is a direct reflection of its talented faculty and staff, and I am confident that Professor Duraisamy will help lead this team to even greater success moving forward.”