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Icons of Progress

Deep Thunder

  • Lloyd Treinish 

    Lloyd Treinish graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics, and a bachelor of science in earth and planetary sciences. He worked for 12 years at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a senior computer scientist, where he led development teams, and designed advanced scientific data and information systems in the earth and space sciences. In 1990, Treinish joined IBM Research to continue his work on visualization and high-performance computing. This eventually led to the initial development of Deep Thunder in the late 1990s. He currently leads the environmental science team at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Lab. He is the pioneer of scientifically based services for environmentally sensitive business operations, including issues related to weather, water, energy, climate and sustainability, which are critical to opportunities for IBM’s vision of a Smarter Planet. He is also IBM’s leading expert in scientific visualization and data models, and in the application of supercomputing technology to weather and environmental forecasting and disaster mitigation. He has been issued four patents and has authored more than 60 technical articles.

  • Zaphiris Christidis 

    Zaphiris Christidis

    Zaphiris Christidis holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Ioannina, Greece. He also has a master’s degree in climatology from the City College of New York, and a doctorate in atmospheric sciences from the University of Michigan. He has spent his entire career at IBM. His initial work was in parallel applications and algorithms on prototype systems. In 1987, he moved to the Computer Sciences Department of the Thomas J. Watson Research Lab at Yorktown. In 1995, Christidis was invited to lead the technical part of a project that was later called Deep Thunder. This was a three-way collaboration between IBM Research, the IBM Federal Government group and the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory, to prototype a weather forecasting solution on a regional scale, to be used for local weather forecasting and event scheduling during a 1996 international sporting event. After a long-term high-performance computing assignment in China from 2002 to 2009, he returned to the US as an IT specialist with the worldwide Deep Computing team.

  • Steven Lebowitz 

    Steven Lebowitz

    Steve Lebowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems management from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and has worked at IBM in a variety of roles for the past 23 years. He has extensive experience in configuring highly available, high-performance RS/6000 SP systems like the one used to create Deep Thunder. During an international sporting event in 1996, Lebowitz worked with Zaphiris Christidis and Lloyd Treinish to manage the operational system and demonstrate the capabilities of the system to clients. He worked on a related event in 2000 as systems architect and webmaster for e-commerce. Today, Lebowitz is a business development manager for the US Federal team specializing in cloud computing.

  • Anthony Praino 

    Anthony Praino is a research engineer and scientist at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center where he is currently the chief engineer and chief meteorologist for Deep Thunder. Praino joined IBM in 1983 and has worked in a variety of research scientist and engineering roles, including as a founding member of the Deep Thunder team as well as the Big Green Innovations team and Smarter Planet Industry Solutions teams. Praino has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, a master’s degree in computer engineering, and a graduate certificate in meteorology from the US Department of Agriculture Graduate School. His focus includes environmental analytics and modeling, numerical weather prediction, systems engineering and instrumentation, and high-performance computing.

  • Deep Thunder team members 

    Hongfei Li has a doctorate degree in statistics from the Ohio State University and does statistical analysis and forecasting for the team. The current team also includes James Cipriani, formerly a meteorologist at the US National Weather Service; Randy Kubich, an engineer and project manager; and John Engel, an application consultant from the IBM Server Group, who operates and maintains the high-performance computing behind the Deep Thunder projects. At the Brazil Research lab, Ulisses Mello and his team are applying Deep Thunder capabilities for direct flood prediction on a project in Rio de Janeiro. The extended Deep Thunder team also includes Haifeng Wang of the analytics group in the China Research Lab, Vaibhav Saxena, a high-performance computing specialist, and Rashmi Mittal, a mathematician and atmospheric scientist from the India Research Lab.