Joel Welling earned a Ph.D. in computational gravitational physics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983. Following a stay at the Max Plank Institute for Astrophysics he joined the PSC at its inception in 1985. Over the years he has led or been deeply involved in many projects in many fields, including visualization, telescope astronomy, deep learning and general machine learning, simulations related to public health, and most recently the PSC's component of the HuBMAP project. Welling spent 10 years in a joint research position with the CMU Department of Statistics developing algorithms and software for functional brain imaging.
Welling has been the primary author or core author of many software packages, including DrawCGM, DrawP3D, VFleet, and StarSplatter (visualization), FIASCO/FIAT (functional brain imaging), HERMES (event-based simulation of vaccine transport), and RHEA (parallel agent-based simulation of disease transmission). He led the implementation of the workflow infrastructure which processes data submitted to the HuBMAP HIVE. He has contributed to several other packages including VisIt and the analysis software for the Pan-STARRS telescope. Welling has taught courses in computer graphics and computational physics for the CMU Computer Science and Physics departments respectively.