Pekka's career story

I’m Pekka Manninen and I work as a Program Director at CSC. I have written doctoral thesis in theoretical physics, but I soon realized that I’m more interested in supercomputers, which I was using for conducting my research and for developing software. When a suitable vacancy for a specialist in high-performance computing opened at CSC, the move from being a supercomputer user to the other side of the table was quite easy to make. However, I decided to stay as a docent at the University of Helsinki.

During my career at CSC I have had the opportunity to work in many different roles. As a Training Manager I got the chance to develop and promote the PRACE Training Center network, which exists today in ten European countries. During its operations PRACE has exposed thousands of graduate students and researchers into the fascinating world of supercomputer programming.

I am motivated and driven by the ability to make my contribution to Finnish science and knowhow every day.

My next career move took place when I was nominated to lead the Science Support group. I was slightly outside of my comfort zone at first as, despite my advanced age, my experience as a supervisor had occurred more than 10 years earlier. However, we got to know each other very well, and the couple of years that I spent with these leading experts turned out to be a very interesting and rewarding time for me.

The next chapter in my career was called EuroHPC. If I slightly exaggerate, it was an assignment to seek 120 million euros from somewhere and to apply for a pan-European supercomputer to be based in the Kajaani Data Center in just four months. In our benefit, we had a topnotch team of dedicated people and a bit of luck. Just a few months later, we found ourselves in procuring the system in question, called LUMI, and were preparing the datacenter for it.  For now I’m responsible for matters related to the LUMI supercomputer. It will be one of the world's fastest and most advanced high-performance computers, so heading this program will certainly be a high point in the career of a supercomputer nerd like myself.

At CSC I am motivated and driven by my ability to contribute to Finnish science and knowhow every day. I’m able to follow scientific activities from a great vantage point and consider how I could promote and catalyze what is being accomplished. I also find it very interesting to be able to follow the development of technologies linked with supercomputing from a very close range, and even influence the directions in which they are being developed.

I like the working community and the prevailing sense of getting things done, as well as the profound expertise and knowledge that can be found in both the hallways and coffee rooms. I also enjoy the informal side of CSC, with its Christmas parties, spring seminars, and hobby clubs. I coach the CSC combat sports club and have had the pleasure to familiarize dozens of my colleagues with the secrets of kickboxing.

For me CSC combines best sides of academia and business: a stable job with good benefits and an innovative and intellectual atmosphere. In fact, more than 12 years have passed from the first time I put CSC id card around my neck. There has not been a single day since that I would have regretted going to work.

Pekka Manninen

  • Program Director
  • PhD, theoretical physics, Docent at the University of Helsinki
  • has worked in different positions at CSC since 2007

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