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Artificial intelligence, supercomputers at Oak Ridge lab is focus

Artificial intelligence and supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be the topic of a lecture to be presented to Friends of ORNL at noon Tuesday at the University of Tennessee Resource Center, 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The speaker will be Gina Tourassi, director of the National Center for Computational Sciences and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at ORNL.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems, enabling them to find patterns and trends in large amounts of data. Familiar AI digital assistants that process natural human language and recognize speech are Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa. Their distinct voices answer your spoken questions by doing web searches, and they carry out other commands.

According to a video on the ORNL website, lab researchers are finding ways to use AI to improve health care (including cancer diagnosis and therapy), manufacturing using 3D printing and electric grid security through analysis of large sets of data on supercomputers.

Tourassi will talk specifically on “Extreme Scale Data Analytics and AI at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.”

At the in-person “hybrid” meeting hosted by Friends of ORNL, attendees may bring their own food to eat. To view the virtual noon lecture, click on the talk title on the homepage of the website and then click on the Zoom link near the top of the page describing the lecture.

Tourassi gave this summary of her talk:

“Large-scale high-performance computing environments present several opportunities but also challenges for performing data analytics and AI at scale. The diverse group of applications and AI models have widely varying scales, hardware preferences and software requirements.

“I will introduce data-driven scientific and technical innovations at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. I will also outline some of the challenges we see in operating complex scientific workflows to enable scientific discovery across domains.”

Tourassi joined ORNL in 2011 after two decades in academia. Her scientific work lies at the intersection of high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and biomedicine. She holds a B.S. degree in physics and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Duke University. Additional information on her work is available at

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