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Olaf Schenk


Olaf Schenk is a professor at the Institute of Computing at the Faculty of Informatics at Universita della Svizzera italiana (USI), Switzerland. He is also an adjunct member of the Computer Systems Institute at USI. He graduated in Applied Mathematics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. He earned his PhD in 2001 from the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering of ETH Zurich and a venia legendi from the Department of Mathematics and  Computer Science from the University of Basel in 2009.  He conducts research in applied algorithms, computing, and software tools for high-performance scientific computing. Olaf Schenk is an elected Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is an associate editor of ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, an editorial board member of the SIAM Journal for Scientific Computing (2012-2017), and served e.g. on the project leadership team of the Swiss Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing PASC (2012-2016). He has been elected as the Program Director for the SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing, as Vice Chair for the SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing, and as the Chair for the SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing. He regularly chairs international computer science conferences (e.g. ACM PASC, SIAM PP, IEEE CSE) or serves on various program committees of international computer science conferences. For example, he participated in over 60 technical program committees, including top-level computer science conferences such as the ACM/IEEE Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, the IEEE International Parallel Distributed Processing Symposium, and the IEEE International Conference on High Performance Computing. He served as an associate advisor at the Swiss National Center of Supercomputing (CSCS) from 2012 to 2023, and as an external lecturer at the Department of Mathematics at ETH Zurich from 2020 to 2023. 

He is a co-winner of the SIAM Supercomputing Prize 2023, for the most outstanding paper in the field of parallel scientific and engineering computing published within the four calendar years preceding the award year. Previous awards include e.g. an IBM faculty award and two leadership computing awards from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the private sector, he holds the role of Founder & Director at Panua Technologies Sagl, a company based in Lugano that creates customized high-end software solutions for large-scale prediction, simulation, optimization, and graph analytics.

Citations: (>7000 as of 2024).


My research interests are centered around the topic of multicore and manycore algorithms for computational science simulations on emerging high-performance computing (HPC) architectures. To this end, the research connects several relevant subfields of computer science with the needs of computational science and HPC. Typically, I drive research towards extreme-scale simulations in computational algorithms, application software, programming, and software tools. I am currently involved in several HPC and computational science research and simulation projects that develop methods and applications targeted at the next generation of petaflop/exaflop architectures.

Competence areas