from August 16, 2002, News-Sentinel
New, bold venture
We welcome new director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences
August 16, 2002
We applaud the employment of North Carolina professor Dr. Thom Dunning as a step in making East Tennessee a research hub.
Dunning has been named director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences. The institute, a joint venture between the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, hasn't even been built yet - a groundbreaking ceremony for the $10 million facility near ORNL's visitors center is set for later this month.
But naming Dunning to the post is part of the process of making this institute a reality. The joint institute was established in 1991 through the UT-ORNL Science Alliance, which is a UT Center of Excellence, and ORNL.
Dunning is a University of North Carolina chemistry professor and director of the university's Research and Education Network. He will move to Knoxville in the fall.
"The next two or three years of my life will be spent establishing this (institute)," Dunning said. "What this is doing is changing the way we do research."
He is touted as a master at using supercomputers to do complex experiments and make complicated calculations. As an example, he cited research that could lead to automobile designs to increase efficiency and lower reliance on petroleum.
"Its impact isn't obvious on the surface," he said of the research he expects to lead in his new position. We see why Dr. Jesse Poore, director of the Science Alliance, says Dunning is "probably the very best person in the country for this job."
He sees the possibilities, and as in any such project, how close we come to realizing the possibilities is the mark of that endeavor's success. To Dunning, we say, "Welcome." We wish him well in this new venture that we hope will reflect nobly on East Tennessee.