New CCFIT chair is skilled in IT research

Francois Gygi, professor of applied science in the College of Engineering, took over as chair of the Campus Council for Information Technology (CCFIT) in January. Among other things, he's known for innovative uses of advanced information technology.

Gygi's research focuses on creating computer simulations of natural phenomena in physics and chemistry. In 2006, a research team he led received the Gordon Bell prize for simulating the properties of the chemical element molybdenum using a supercomputer; Gygi wrote the code while working at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. His current research includes developing high-performance simulation software for use on the world's fastest supercomputers.

Gygi earned his doctorate in physics in Switzerland in 1988, where he also worked as a researcher for various companies. He joined Lawrence Livermore as a computer scientist in 1998, and came to the Davis campus in 2005. He currently teaches "Applied Science 115: Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers" and (jointly with other faculty in applied science) "Applied Science 229: Computational Molecular Modeling."

With IT's growing importance to campus activities, Gygi said, the council is an increasingly essential forum for discussing and evaluating new technologies.

"I look forward to hearing from all council members' constituencies," he said, "and hope to bring to the debate the viewpoint of a computational scientist."

Pete Siegel, campus chief information officer, said he selected Gygi for the position based on Gygi's reputation "not only as an innovative user of technology, and for his own world-class research, but also as a careful listener who advocated strongly for the needs of his fellow faculty."