Dongarra is a leader in research on implementing linear algebra algorithms for high performance computing architecture that has defined the mathematical software field. Many supercomputer vendors have adopted these software packages as the basis of their own numerical libraries. The software involves the use of memory hierarchies, performance tuning parameters, and other techniques to achieve performance and portability.
He has also been a major force in developing standards for mathematical software that are widely accepted in computer and computational science for evaluating the performance of supercomputers. They include LINPACK and LAPACK, software packages used since the 1970s for solving systems of linear equations. In 1993, he formed the Top500 table which used his LINPACK benchmark to show the 500 most powerful commercially available computer systems. These benchmarks enable users to exploit their existing computer hardware to solve much larger problems at lower additional cost.
The Kennedy Award cited Dongarra for "influential contributions to mathematical software, performance measurement, and parallel programming, and significant leadership and service within the HPC community."
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