Center for Computing Research (CCR)

Center for Computing Research

William Spotz (Bill)

William Spotz (Bill)
Computational Science
Phone: 505/845-0170
Fax: 505/845-7442

Mailing address:
Sandia National Laboratories
P.O. Box 5800, MS 1320
Albuquerque, NM

My research interests have spanned a broad swath of topics within the computational sciences.  These include high-order accuracy numerical approximation methods, global atmosphere and climate modeling, linear and nonlinear solver techniques, multiphysics coupling techniques, graph algorithms, high-performance computing for high-level languages, uncertainty quantification, and performance portability.

I was the Principal Investigator (PI) of a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project entitled A Next Generation Global Atmosphere Model.  Our team's goal was to bring as much of Sandia's advanced computational infrastructure as we could to support the atmosphere component of a global climate model.  One of the advanced features we enabled is uncertainty quantification -- the capability to take uncertainties in the input, propagate them through the physics of the problem, and quantify how they affect the output.  Another advanced feature we enabled was performance portability -- the ability to support the many new advanced computing architectures that have and will come online, using only a single code base.

My current projects include overseeing the implementation of new verification tests for the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), starting with the atmospheric component; implementing advanced nonlinear solvers into a aerodynamics code; and collaborating with UTEP to implement Trilinos solvers into MFiX, a multiphase flow solver.

I was also recently the Sandia co-PI of a High Performance Computing with Python project, sponsored by Enthought, an Austin-based company that was awarded a DOE Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop fundamental numerical software for Python that works on large distributed-memory computers.  My role was to make sure that their software works with PyTrilinos, a Python interface to Trilinos, Sandia's suite of scientific solver libraries.


I received my BS, MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied Computational Fluid Dynamics.  My thesis advisor was Dr. Graham Carey, and my dissertation was High-Order Compact Schemes for Computational Mechanics.

After graduate school, I spent five years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  The first two years were as a fellow in the Advanced Study Program, and the last three were as a project scientist in the Scientific Computing Division.  I worked with Paul Swarztrauber developing fast pseudospectral methods for global atmosphere models.

In 2001, I joined the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in what was then called the Computers, Computation, Informatics and Mathematics Center.  In 2008, I went on assignment to the Department of Energy headquarters in Germantown, Maryland, where I was a program manager in the Office of Science Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.  I returned to Sandia in 2010.



Selected Publications & Presentations

  • Spotz, William, Samuel Scott Collis, "High Order Finite Difference Methods for Forward and Inverse Acoustic Problems," Presentation, International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Kos, Greece, September 2012.
  • Spotz, William F, "PyTrilinos: Recent Advances in the Python Interface to Trilinos," Journal Article, Scientific Programming, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 311–325, Accepted/Published March 2012.
  • Sala, Marzio, William F Spotz, Michael A Heroux, "PyTrilinos: High-Performance Distributed-Memory Solvers for Python," Journal Article, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, Vol. 34, No. 2, Article No. 7, Accepted/Published March 2008.
  • Schmidt, Rodney C., Russell W. Hooper, Alfred A. Lorber, William F. Spotz, "A Multi-Physics Coupling Approach for Integrated Nuclear Reactor Safety Calculations," Conference Paper, American Nuclear Society annual meeting, June 2008.
  • Backus, George A., Mark D. Ivey, William F. Spotz, Timothy G. Trucano, Mark B. E. Boslough, Laura A. McNamara, James H. Strickland, Bernard D. Zak, Martin J. Carr, John D. Siirola, Mark A. Taylor, "National Security and Climate Instability," Brochure, White Paper, December 2007.
  • Boslough, Mark B, William F Spotz, Mark A Taylor, "Climate Vision," Presentation, June 2004.

Awards & Recognition

  • Spotz, William, Peter Bosler, Andrew Bradley, Jeffrey Fike, Andrew Salinger, Thomas Smith, Irina Tezaur, Employee Recognition Award, For implementation of performance portability and concurrent sampling UQ capabilities in a next-generation model for global atmosphere circulation., Sandia National Laboratories, ERA nomination., February 18, 2016.
  • Spotz, William, Other External Recognition, Program Committee, SciPy 2016, Scientific Computing with Python Conference, June 1, 2016 – July 31, 2016.
  • Spotz, William, Award, CCR Precedent Award, Sandia Center for Computing Research, November 1, 2015.
  • Spotz, William, Other External Recognition, Organizing Committee, SciPy 2015, Scientific Computing with Python Conference, June 1, 2015 – July 31, 2015.
  • Spotz, William, Other External Recognition, Organizing Committee, SciPy 2014, Scientific Computing with Python Conference, June 1, 2014 – July 31, 2014.
  • Spotz, William F, Other External Recognition, Program Committee, SciPy 2013: Scientific Computing with Python Conference, June 24, 2013 – June 29, 2013.
  • Spotz, William F, Review Board, Early Career Research Program Review Panel, DOE Office of Science, February 7, 2012.
  • Spotz, William F, Other External Recognition, Organizing Committee, SciDAC 2011 Conference, Organized Applied Mathematics and the New Challenges in the Next Decade Panel sessions, November 10, 2010 – July 14, 2011.
  • Spotz, William F, Review Board, Small Business Innovation Research Review Panel, DOE Office of Science, November 30, 2011.
  • Spotz, William F., Review Board, 2011 SBIR Review Panel, DOE Office of Science, February 8, 2011.
  • Spotz, William F., Advisory Board, Organizing Committee, 2011 SciDAC Conference, Applied mathematics and panel on challenges in the next decade, January 1, 2011 – July 14, 2011.