PSC Mourns the Untimely Loss of Former PSC Scientist


Phil Andrews

PITTSBURGH, February 28, 2011 — The PSC staff joins the computational science community nationally in mourning the untimely loss of our friend and colleague Phil Andrews. Among the first scientists hired at PSC from its inception in 1986, Andrews played an important role at PSC for more than 10 years, serving as coordinator of scientific visualization for several years and then as manager of data-intensive computing. From PSC he went on to hold various leadership positions at San Diego Supercomputer Center [see] before becoming, in 2007, founding director of the National Institute for Computational Sciences at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. [See]

Early on at PSC, Andrews made a major contribution to the ability of PSC and other computational sites to produce movie-like animations from the data generated by computational simulations. His versatile graphics program, GPLOT, could take computer graphics files from many applications and translate them into a format that could be used by various operating systems, including VMS, UNIX and UNICOS. At one point, in the early 1990s, more than 20 other sites used GPLOT for this purpose.

While at PSC, Andrews took an interest in the presentation of textual material online, becoming fluent with SGML, a precursor to HTML that later became the underlying technology for World Wide Web as it was developed at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). Well before JAVA caught on widely, Andrews saw its potential and did a presentation to PSC staff showing off a page he developed with this now popular software. “He predicted JAVA would change the web,” says J. Ray Scott, PSC director of systems and operation. “About six months later it started to emerge.”