Dr. John Pellegrino is the director of the Computational and Information Sciences Directorate and chief information officer for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
He is responsible for basic and applied research and its transition in the areas of network and information sciences, cyber defense, high-performance computing and battlefield environments. His duties include research program development and coordination, technology transition and support to current forces, as well as responsibility for laboratory network operations. He has technical oversight of the state-of-the art-high performance computing assets, computational capabilities, and wide area networking methodologies for the laboratory, Department of the Army, and DOD; as well as oversight of the DOD Major Shared Resource Center at ARL and the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center.Pellegrino earned a bachelor of arts in physics from Gordon College in 1976, a master of science in physics from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980 and completed his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981.
He has authored and co-authored more than two dozen technical papers and reports, and is co-editor of the book “Accousto-Optic Signal Processing.”
Army Technology Magazine recently interviewed Dr. Pellegrino.
Question: What is your vision for the future of computing?
Pellegrino: We’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible with computing.
We see the future of computing continuing down two paths. One, to be the big iron computing, or the massive computing architectures and machines. It is massively parallel and incorporates new kinds of algorithms. It’s enabling us to do things like design new munitions and design new materials from scratch.
We’re just beginning to see how to do modeling of materials so we can have control over every stage of the development and therefore come up with totally new classes of ultra-lightweight and ultra-strong materials for armor or new kinds of electronics for example.
As we march forward, we’re going to be tackling big problems in networks. What is a composite network? How does the Internet work? How are we going to be able to protect it, and extract information from it? That’s one whole train of research in computing and application of computing that will be going on.
We have only a vague idea at this time how to protect that information. Cyber-defense is a big issue. The communications, even protecting parts of the communication, how information is connected, how to keep communications robust even in the face of heavy adversarial action … it’s a big deal.
On the other side, it’s the embedded computing that will be in just about everything. We see these things going in a trajectory to be more and more powerful, but to be more embedded and integral with things.
One of the futures of computing that many of us see is that extremely interesting space of the intersection with the human and the computer. The human originality, creativity, the spark, will benefit from the augmentation of more mundane things to really enable that creativity and foster and let it grow without having to worry about the ordinary porting around stuff.