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Elections 2020

2020 Nominating Committee

  • Jacky Austermann, Columbia University
  • Brad Aagaard, USGS
  • Frederik Simons, Princeton University

2020 Slate of Candidates

Executive Committee

Rank choice voting: 1 seat.

Mark Behn, Boston College [link]
My research focuses on active tectonic and magmatic processes in marine and terrestrial environments. My research group develops geodynamic models to relate laboratory-based rheologic and petrologic models to the large-scale behavior of the Earth. We apply these models to a range of problems, including faulting, surface processes, and melting and melt migration in the Earth’s mantle, as well as to societally-relevant issues, such as the dynamic response of ice sheets to climate change, global geochemical cycling, and hazards associated with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I have been involved with CIG as a member of both the Magma Dynamics working group and now the Long-term Tectonics working group. In addition, I serve as the co-chair of the Geodynamics Focus Research Group for the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System and also as a member of the steering committee for the Modeling Collaboratory for Subduction. I am interested in how a CIG-IV will interface with the ever evolving constellation of NSF-sponsored computational centers, including CSDMS and SZ4D, as well as other efforts in cyberinfrastructure. I support a vision in which CIG-IV continues to support open source code development and promote quantitative training for students and early career scientists.

Alice Gabriel, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich [link
My research combines multi-physics numerical modeling, high-performance computing (HPC), theoretical analysis and innovative observational techniques in order to understand earthquakes across scales: from earthquake-tsunami interaction and micro-fracture activation in geo-reservoirs. I believe that profound insight into these processes comes from pursuing a “physics based” approach. However, reality is complex - thus, incorporating the observed natural complexity invariably involves the use of numerical methods, highly efficient simulation software and/or supercomputing infrastructure. I am co-leading the development of innovative, open-source computational methods for seismological applications and beyond (e.g., SeisSol and ExaHyPE and received the PRACE Ada Lovelace Award in HPC and the SSA Charles F. Richter Early Career Award this year. I have been engaged in the leadership of several large-scale European infrastructure consortia, such as the ChEESE Center of Excellence (www.cheese.coe) targeting the preparation of community flagship codes for the upcoming Exascale supercomputing era. As a member of CIG’s Executive Committee I aim to promote diversity and inclusiveness, sustainable open source and community software, as well as interdisciplinary, joint pathways for geosciences and scientific computing.

Eric Hetland, University of Michigan [link]
CIG serves a unique role in facilitating the use of computation in a broad range of Earth science research. I have been involved in the CIG since its inception, as a participant in the CIG sponsored Short-Term Crustal Deformation Modelling workshops, as a member of the planning committee for those workshops since 2014, and as a user of the CIG supported modeling packages PyLith and RELAX. My research focuses on interseismic strain accumulation on active faults and geodetic methods. I have worked on all phases of interseismic deformation including interseismic strain-accumulation, transient postseismic deformation, and coseismic deformation, of both continental faults and subduction megathrusts. If elected to the Executive Committee, I will not only represent the viewpoint from the short-term crustal dynamics committee, but ensure that CIG continues to support the entire computational geophysics community. Software curation and development are core missions of CIG. A crucial role of CIG is training scientists at all career levels in the use of robust computational tools that will advance their science. Training graduate students in computational tools is most important, as they will be the ones to lead geophysics progress in the future, particularly graduate students from a diverse range of universities and from research groups that do not traditionally have a strong computational component. If elected, I would be honored to serve on the Executive Committee of CIG.

Michael Thorne, University of Utah [link
During the next year CIG will be going through a critical phase in its evolution. I am excited to have been nominated to serve on the Executive Committee even though I have had no involvement with CIG in the past. During my career I have been involved in both the numerical side of computation, having been involved in the development of seismic wave propagation software, and in the end user side in performing seismic waveform modeling in order to understand real data. This experience puts me in a unique position to understand the unique position and needs of both developer and end user. Both viewpoints are critical for the continued success of the CIG program. Even though I have not in the past been a part of CIG, I have been aware of the CIG mission and purpose since its founding when I was a graduate student. I have always been a huge fan of the CIG mission and goals and would work diligently to help further its continued success, bringing an outside viewpoint to the program. 

2020 Science Steering Committee

Group 1. Vote for 1 of the 2 candidates

Sylvain Barbot, University of Southern California [link
Understanding the mechanics of Earth’s deformation requires connecting short-term and long-term tectonic processes. CIG has supported tremendous progress in computational mechanics over the years. As an expert in earthquake and lithosphere mechanics, I would like to help strengthen the connections between seismic cycle and long-term deformation modeling and promote the development of a computational infrastructure that helps solving key science problems. CIG can contribute in many ways to help the community and make individual efforts become more than the sum of the parts, by promoting the exchange of data and models among scientists. I hope to serve in the science steering committee to help through this process.

Elizabeth Hearn, Consulting Geophysicist [link

I am a research geophysicist investigating how fault systems work throughout the seismic cycle, how they evolve over geologic time, and the hazards they pose. I often rely on finite-element models for quantitative hypothesis and consistency testing (in the past, developing and using old-school Fortran codes, and now using the CIG code PyLith). As a longtime member of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) Planning Committee, I have co-lead the effort to assemble vetted community models of the southern California lithosphere, which provide temperature, rheology, and other quantities we need to faithfully represent the dynamics of lithosphere deformation. I have also participated in, or co-lead, several SCEC-CIG crustal deformation modeling workshops.

I am eager to be part of the CIG Science Steering Committee, supporting the development and testing of codes and other resources for deformation modelers. As someone who came into computational geophysics from a more geology-focused background, I understand the challenges faced by scientists beginning to use the CIG codes, and I see my role as bridging the gap between these users and CIG’s experienced developers. I also want to emphasize my strong commitment to building the CIG community, as well as attracting (and keeping) members from underrepresented groups.

Group 2. Vote for 1 of the 2 candidates.

Nicole Gasparini, Tulane [link
My research explores how the surface of the earth evolves over different spatial and temporal scales. I am a co-developer of CHILD and Landlab, two widely used numerical tools for modeling surface processes and landscape evolution. My team and I use field observation, remote sensing data, and numerical landscape simulation, along with data collected by collaborators and government agencies, to explore questions that intersect geomorphology, tectonics, and hydrology. I am an associate professor at Tulane University.

I have been active with CSDMS (community surface dynamics modeling system) since shortly after its creation in 2007. I am committed to developing open source software that is widely accessible to the broader earth science community beyond those who identify as modelers or coders. As part of these efforts, I develop Jupyter notebook teaching labs that can be used to illustrate concepts in surface process, hydrology, and tectonic geomorphology. I am currently the co-chair of the Terrestrial Working Group in CSDMS and helped to coordinate the 2018 NSF/CIG/CSDMS Coupling Tectonic and Surface Processes Workshop. I am a member of the advisory committees for HydroShare and OpenTopography, the advisor for the Tulane GeoLatinas Local Team, and actively involved with the international GeoLatinas organization.

John Naliboff, New Mexico Tech [link]
I investigate a wide range of tectonic processes through computational geodynamics, with a strong focus on developing new numerical methods for simulating non-linear rheological deformation and multi-physics systems. I have used a large number of codes (ConMan, GALE, Abaqus I2ELVIS), but over the past five years have focused on developing and using the CIG mantle convection and lithospheric dynamics code ASPECT. Over this time, my participation with the ASPECT and broader CIG community occurred through a position as CIG staff scientist, member of the long-term tectonics (LTT) working group, ASPECT developer, and co-organizer of multiple tutorials, hackathons, and community meetings. If elected to the SSC, I work to promote and build on multiple current CIG initiatives that have received positive feedback from the community. These initiatives include (1) development of geophysics-based educational curriculum and a pilot REU program, (2) new collaborative community benchmarks for plasticity and two-phase flow, (3) long-term engagement with the geologic and experimental communities towards constraining models of lithospheric rheology, and (4) development of a new python-based data analysis and visualization package suitable for a wide range of geodynamic applications. Broadly stated, if elected I would work on the SSC to further initiatives in key areas of tectonics code development, data analysis toolkits, outreach and diversity, and multi-disciplinary collaboration within the lithospheric dynamics community.

Group 3. Rank choice voting: 1 seat.

Min Chen, Michigan State [link]
I would like to stand for the Science Steering Committee elections of CIG. Thank you for your nomination! I am a female computational seismologist who is a life-juggler. I hold a position at Michigan State University as an Assistant Professor. I cook, do laundry, and raise two kids just like any other working mom. I dance tango with my husband, and play soccer with my friends and students amongst many other hobbies that I try my best to make the time for. I am also an Asian female who has lived in the US for about nineteen years. It took me seven years of PhD and two postdocs to reach where I am right now, with the help from the people who care about me and provided the essential and precious opportunities and resources despite all the challenges I face. I do have great ideas and vision that I wish to share with you that will transform our field of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. I am interested in building an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary framework to gain deep insight, make new discoveries, and find creative solutions to the most challenging energy, resource, environmental, and medical problems, from the complex big data, facilitated by the advanced computational modeling and data science methods, accelerated by GPUs and other advanced hardware. I see the opportunity to redefine the social norm in our scientific field, attract and nurture the talents, provide them the adequate resources, and create a diverse, equitable, inclusive and justified platform at CIG to make cutting edge discovery happen. I believe that we are the limit of what we can do. I believe that it is time to think outside the box to find creative solutions to the most challenging scientific problems, with all the ideas heard, recognized, and acted upon, no matter how small the voice is that carries the greatest idea.

Lorenco Colli, University of Houston [link
My research focuses on the surface expression of deep mantle structure and processes. I have worked with and helped develop software for forward and inverse modeling of mantle convection, the geoid, mantle mineralogy, wave propagation and seismic tomography. I would be very honored to be a member of CIG’s Science Steering Committee. If elected, I will promote the link between modeling efforts and observational constraints across the varied branches of solid-Earth sciences and beyond. I will also foster CIG’s commitment to open and accessible software, which provides a foundational cornerstone to open and accessible scientific research.

David Ham, Imperial College London [link
As a computational mathematician and simulation software creator, I work on the technology that underpins simulation especially in the geosciences. The project that I lead, Firedrake, provides the PDE-solving engine for ice, ocean, atmosphere and, most recently, geodynamics applications. This gives me a particular interest, and possibly expertise, in the creation of scientific simulation software of exactly the type that CIG supports. I am also the chief-executive editor for the EGU journal Geoscientific Model development. GMD exists to advance geoscientific model creation as a science and to provide a forum for the publication of model developments. In that role I have led editorial policy developments to underpin increased transparency and reproducibility in publications based on simulation software.

Over the last term on the SSC, I believe that I have been able to contribute both a core scientific software development perspective, and also to the question of what best practice simulation software development looks like. As someone not directly connected to any of the CIG-supported code bases, I also feel I provide an external view on the project. As we move into the renewal phase and have to convince NSF and its reviewers that another phase of CIG would be a good use of resources, I hope that this external view will be helpful.