SaM Seminar Series: Phillip R. Westmoreland

Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Caroline State University;  Executive Director, North Caroline State University Institute for Computational Science and Engineering


Cyber-Enabling of Engineering and Science

Friday, February 12, 2:30 – 3:30pm
1175 Benedum


ABSTRACT: Computation has become deeply embedded in engineering and science, and computer modeling has become a partner with experiment and theory.  In my morning seminar, I described how the empirical process of turning woody biomass into liquid fuels is beginning to yield to chemical understanding through choosing the right combination of experiments and computation.  Other examples abound in materials, energy, climate, medicine, and economics.

Exploiting these approaches and expanding them to other tasks can benefit from the oncoming multicore revolution in computers. At the same time, the general challenge of writing sophisticated hyperparallel code emphasizes the need to integrate computer science with application science and engineering.  This challenge is recognized and being attacked internationally.  However, the US cannot depend exclusively on Renaissance-type individual computer+disciplinary scientists or engineers.  Rather, we must educate individuals and develop suitable team skills for joint development of application codes and algorithms, including ways to quantify uncertainty.

BIOGRAPHY: Phil Westmoreland is a professor at North Carolina State University in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and is Executive Director of the NCSU Institute for Computational Science and Engineering.  His research focuses on reaction kinetics and engineering, obtained from molecular-beam mass-spectrometry experiments, computational chemistry, and reactive-flow modeling.  The main technology driver is clean energy from fossil and biofuels, but he has also been involved with developing fire-safe polymers, hypergolic rocket fuels, and plasma processing of microelectronics. 

His degrees are in chemical engineering from N.C. State (BS73), LSU (MS74), and MIT (PhD86). From 1986 until 2009, Phil was on the faculty of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and in 2006-2009, he served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation.  He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; serves on the Boards of Directors of AIChE, the Combustion Institute, and the Council for Chemical Research; is past president of the educational nonprofit CACHE Corporation; and was the founding chair of AIChE’s Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum.  His teaching, research, and service have been recognized in recent years by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s David Shirley Award, AIChE’s Gary Leach Award and George Lappin Award, ASEE’s Corcoran Award, NSF Director’s Award for Collaborative Integration, and the UMass College of Engineering’s Outstanding Senior Faculty Award.