People

SSE Leadership

Alex's pic

Alessandro (Alex) Orso

Professor, SSE Director, PI

Dr. Orso’s research is in software engineering (SE) with an emphasis on the development of techniques targeted at real-world systems. Orso served on the editorial boards of the major SE journals (TOSEM and TSE) and has been program chair or co-chair for the main SE conferences (ICSE and FSE). He has served on the Advisory Board of Reflective Corp, has been a technical consultant to DARPA, and has received funding for his research from both government agencies, such as DARPA, ONR, and NSF, and industry, such as Facebook, Fujitsu Labs, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Orso is a Distinguished Member of the ACM and an IEEE Fellow.

Jeffrey Young

Senior Research Scientist, SSE Co-director

Dr. Young has been engaged with the scientific software community since 2013 with involvement in Georgia Tech’s Keeneland project, the PIConGPU CAAR effort for Frontier, and Georgia Tech’s HPC student cluster competition team. Young is also the director of Georgia Tech’s novel architecture testbed, the CRNCH Rogues Gallery.

Irfan Essa

Professor, Co-PI, Chair of Advisory Board

Distinguished Professor in the School of Interactive Computing, Senior Associate Dean in the CoC, Inaugural Executive Director of the Center for Machine Learning at GT (ML@GT), Lead of the Google Atlanta Research Office, and expert in Computer Vision, ML, Computer Graphics, Computational Perception, Robotics, Computer Animation, and Social Computing.

Engineering Team

Dave Brownell

Head of Engineering / Professor of the Practice

Dave Brownell serves as the Head of Engineering at the Scientific Software Engineering Center (SSEC) at Georgia Institute of Technology; here he carefully cultivates a collaborative culture while partnering with stakeholders to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. Dave strives to build highly cohesive teams that consistently execute with excellence while helping others do the same.

Over the past 25 years, Dave has worn a number of different hats (software manager, architect,  and engineer) at companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, startups, and as an independent consultant. He has been extremely fortunate to work on incredible technologies including cryogenic computing (used to drive quantum computers), machine learning platforms, manufacturing tools for commercial rockets, and media center tools.

Dave is passionate about software correctness and quality and how tools, processes, and techniques help to make those goals more accessible. He enjoys learning new domains and relishes the opportunity to engage in that process through his role at the SSEC.

When not at work, Dave enjoys the company of his wife and three sons (all teenagers). He also enjoys cheering on his hometown Seattle Seahawks.

Kate Rachwal

Principal Research Software Engineer / Professor of the Practice

Kate brings over 20 years of software engineering experience from both academic research and private industry to her role as Principal Software Engineer at the Scientific Software Engineering Center. She has had the opportunity to solve problems in a wide range of domains using a broad array of technologies and has particularly enjoyed the automation of cloud infrastructure and development workflows, the design and implementation of distributed applications, and leading teams to wrap powerful, complex backend systems in delightful user experiences.

Outside of tech, Kate enjoys gardening, exploring new recipes, and spending time with her family.

Robin Fievet

Senior Research Software Engineer / Senior Research Engineer

Holding dual Master’s degrees in Management of Information Systems, complemented by a specialization in Cybersecurity, Robin brings approximately ten years of experience in software engineering to the table. He has had the privilege of contributing to both Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups. He showed a sustained interest in entrepreneurship and emerging technologies.

Ketan Bhardwaj

Research Software Engineer II / Research Engineer II

Dr. Bhardwaj is a research scientist in School of Computer Science in the areas of computer systems. His work has spanned from distributed-decentralized systems to low-level operating system support, from functional correctness to high-performance and, to systems support for security. He enjoys building practical software systems that address real problems and open-up new opportunities in about new contexts. This is evident in his work in Kernel Research Group at Georgia Tech where he co-led edge computing research efforts. More often than not he finds asking the question “why not” rather than “why”. He is pursuing the same approach in his role at SSE where learning about a new context to deliver tangible outcomes quickly is sort of a pre-requisite. His research has been published at top-tier systems, architecture, and security conferences, some of them are being transferred into products which is supported in part by NSF, CISCO, VMWare, HP, Intel, SRC.

Varun Narayan

Research Software Engineer I

Varun is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Artificial Intelligence. He has gained diverse industry experience, having worked with both large corporations and startups. He has worked with recommender systems at Amazon and collaborated with the AI Speech team at Meta before his time as a Data Scientist at SensifyAware.

Outside of work, Varun loves cricket, football, and basketball and continues to train and compete in various Track and Field events.

Programs & Operations

Nirvana E. Edwards

Program & Operations Manager

With over a decade of dedicated service at Georgia Tech, Nirvana is a seasoned professional in the field of higher education administration. Holding a Masters Degree in Education – Higher Education Administration, she has had the privilege of contributing to the academic success of students and the operational efficiency of the institution. Currently serving as the Program & Operations Manager for the Scientific Software Engineering Center, her prior roles as the Academic Program Coordinator for the School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) and the Event Coordinator for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) have equipped Nirvana with a diverse skill set in program management, academic coordination, and event planning. Nirvana is committed to fostering excellence in education and institutional growth, and she is looking forward to continuing her impact and innovation in the higher education landscape.


SSE Advisory Board

  • Irfan Essa: Distinguished Professor in the School of Interactive Computing, Senior Associate Dean in the CoC, Inaugural Executive Director of the Center for Machine Learning at GT (ML@GT), Lead of the Google Atlanta Research Office, and expert in  Computer Vision, ML, Computer Graphics, Computational Perception, Robotics, Computer Animation, and Social Computing.
  • Spencer Bryngelson: Assistant Professor in the School of Computational Science and Engineering.
  • Rich DeMillo: (Interim) Chair of the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing, and expert in Cybersecurity, CS Education, and SE.
  • Haesun Park: Chair of the School of Computational Science and Engineering, Regents’ Professor, and expert in Data Analytics and Scientific Computing.
  • Vivek Sarkar: Chair of the School of Computer Science, Stephen Fleming Chair for Telecommunications in the CoC, and HPC expert.
  • John Stasko: (Interim) Chair of the School of Interactive Computing, Regents’ Professor, and expert in Data and Software Visualization.