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Gabrielle D. Allen

Associate Director of NCSA
Professor of Astronomy

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Gabrielle Allen is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of IllinoisUrbana-Champaign and the Associate Director for Computational Research andEducation Programs at the National Center for SupercomputingApplications. 

Gabrielle obtained a PhD in computational astrophysics from Cardiff University in 1993, following an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Nottingham University and a Masters of Advanced Study in Mathematics from Cambridge University. Gabrielle has been a research scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (AEI) in Potsdam Germany, where she researched and developed techniques for high performance and grid computing. At the AEI Gabrielle led the Cactus Code Project, and had leadership roles in collaborative European projects GridLab and the EU Astrophysics Network. Gabrielle then moved to Louisiana State University in 2003 as an assistant professor of computer science and physics, and a founding member of the new Center for Computation and Technology where she served as the Assistant Director for Computing Applications. At LSU Gabrielle led the cyberinfrastucture component of the statewide NSF research infrastructure improvement award "CyberTools", and was involved in a number of large, collaborative projects involving computer science, scientific computing and the computational sciences, in diverse fields including petroleum engineering, coastal modeling, computational fluid dynamics, numerical relativity, computational chemistry and computational biology.

Between 2010 and 2012 Gabrielle served as a Program Director in the Office ofCyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington DC.At NSF, Gabrielle developed NSF-wide programs in software and computational anddata-enabled science, and within OCI was responsible for learning and workforcedevelopment activities including CAREER, REU and the CI-TRACS postdoctoralfellowship program.

In 2012, Gabrielle moved to Moscow, Russia to become a professor at a new graduate university - the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) - established by the Russian Federation in partnership with MIT. Here, she worked primarily on establishing the IT and cyberinfrastructure vision for Skoltech as the interim Chief Information Officer. In 2014 Gabrielle moved to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 


  • Numerical relativity
  • Scientific software
  • Scientific and high performance computing
  • Distributed and grid computing


  • Ph.D (1993), Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University
  • MAst (1989), Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University
  • BSc (1988), Mathematics, Nottingham University

Distinctions / Awards

  • Top 20 papers at IEEE HPDC conference (1992-2012): "The Cactus Code: A Problem Solving Environment For The Grid"
  • LSU Rainmaker 2009
  • Second IEEE International Scalable Computing Challenge (SCALE 2009), Shanghai May 2009
  • HPC Challenge Awards (Supercomputing 2002, November 2002), Most Geographically Distributed Application and Most Heterogeneous Set of Platforms
  • High-performance Bandwidth Challenge (Supercomputing 2002, November 2002), Highest Performing Application: Wide Area Distributed Simulations Using Cactus, Globus and Visapult
  • Gordon Bell Prize for Supercomputing (Special Category, Supercomputing 2001, November 2001)


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