Michael E. Papka is a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. He is also the Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences. Since 2010, Dr. Papka has been directing the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, one of two U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Leadership Computing facilities in the country dedicated to open science.
Dr. Papka is a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also a member of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory and the SPEAR Laboratory. Before joining the University of Illinois, he was a Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor at Northern Illinois University. There, he founded the Data, Devices, and Interaction Laboratory (ddiLab), a joint laboratory hosted by the Department of Computer Science and the School of Art and Design.
Dr. Papka has nearly 30 years of scientific and professional experience collaborating with domain scientists, providing innovative technical approaches to investigate data from simulation and experimental sources. His research interests focus on data analysis and visualization in support of high-performance computing and the development and deployment of research infrastructure in support of science. Dr. Papka’s research career has been dedicated to finding ways to make computing more accessible to scientists. From experimenting with display and collaboration technologies as a member of Argonne’s Futures Laboratory to applying computation techniques to gather faster and more detailed insights from data, as well as probing computation systems themselves, his work aims to bring the benefits of computation to scientists in a way that they find valuable.
Dr. Papka has a strong interest in simplifying access to computational resources to create a more robust and interactive user-machine engagement. His work involves collaborations with Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source and extends to efforts such as the NSF-funded Sage project, which supports AI at the Edge.
For over two decades, Dr. Papka has been involved in developing and instructing K-12 coding and computational thinking activities, specifically STEM and STEAM instructional strategies and programs. He played a significant role in establishing Argonne’s summer coding camps for high school students, participated in the annual Hour of Code activities, and founded a local elementary after-school tech club for fourth and fifth graders in 2014. Dr. Papka is also a regular contributor to the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (ATPESC), a program aimed at training the next generation of computational scientists.
Dr. Papka completed his undergraduate studies in physics at NIU and pursued graduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science (MS) at UIC, as well as computer science (MS and Ph.D.) at the University of Chicago, where he currently holds the position of UChicago Consortium for Advanced Science and Engineering (CASE) Senior Scientist at-Large. He is a member of the Computer Science Program Advisory Committee at Loyola University Chicago and the Institute for Applied Computational Science Advisory Board at Harvard University.
Dr. Papka has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, he was a finalist and winner of the ACM Gordon Bell Prize, received multiple Best Paper Awards, and won an R&D100 award for Access Grid 3.0. He has been honored with a Secretary of Energy Honor Award, the 2022 Argonne Board of Governors' Pinnacle of Education Award, and the 2023 Argonne Board of Governor’s Distinguished Performance Award.