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WIFIRE Lab Team

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İlkay Altıntaş, Ph.D.

Founding Director

Dr. İlkay Altıntaş is the Chief Data Science Officer and the Founding Director of the Workflows for Data Science (WorDS) Center of Excellence and WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. She has worked on different aspects of scientific workflows as a principal investigator and in other leadership roles across a wide range of cross-disciplinary projects. She is a co-initiator of and an active contributor to the open-source Kepler Scientific Workflow System.

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Jessica Block

Assoc. Director, Operational Programs

Jessica Block is the Associate Director for Operational Programs of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. Her work aims to mitigate disasters using emerging technologies including satellites, sensor networks, machine learning tools, and virtual reality. She has spent her career addressing fire, water, and geologic risks in the American West and Southeastern Australia. In 2019, she was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board.

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Daniel Crawl, Ph.D.

Assoc. Director, Products

Dr. Daniel Crawl is the Associate Director for Products of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. He is one of the lead developers of the Kepler Scientific Workflow System and has advanced experience in working with applications of workflows in bioinformatics, geoinformatics, oceanography, and computational physics. He is the lead architect for the overall integration of many modules in Kepler including distributed data parallel (DDP) execution patterns.

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Raymond de Callafon, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Raymond de Callafon is a professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), UCSD. He served as co-PI on the initial NSF-funded WIFIRE effort, which ran from 2013 to 2018. He currently serves as the Data Conditioning Lead for the AI Innovations sub-group of the WIFIRE BurnPro3D team. His teaching and research cover many aspects of signal processing, estimation, experiment-based modeling, and adaptive control. 

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Charles Erwin

Research Project Manager

Charles Erwin is a research project manager and digital media designer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. He works closely with Drs. İlkay Altıntaş, Larry Smarr and Thomas DeFanti, and their respective teams on a number of cyberinfrastructure and data visualization projects. Additionally, Erwin develops web-based applications and works with wireless gestural interfaces to reimagine human interactions with big datasets.

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Melissa Floca

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Melissa Floca is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Cyberinfrastructure and Convergence Research and Education (CICORE) Division at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD where she works to build partnerships for technological solutions to complex societal challenges. She also serves as the Senior Advisor for Cross-Border Initiatives at the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, where she launched the Border Fellows Program.

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John Graham

Affiliated Researcher

John Graham is a senior development engineer at UCSD’s Calit2/Qualcomm Institute and the lead engineer for the Pacific Research Platform cyberinfrastructure. He is also a charter member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, and previously collaborated with other members on the Open GeoData Pipeline for disaster response-related satellite data and aerial photography coming from the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Dawn Hutchinson

Operational Response Team Lead

Dawn Hutchinson is the Operational Response Team Lead of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD, where she also serves as a lead modeler on the Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS) team. Additionally, she is a GIS lead on a Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) and a certified GIS Professional (GISP). Hutchinson has been working on wildfire incidents for over a decade, and her work aims to improve intelligence to emergency responders.

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Jenny Lee

UI/UX Designer

Jenny Lee is a user interface and user experience developer with the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. She works on the user research, product design, and front-end development across multiple fire and landslide management and mitigation products, including BurnPro3D and Firemap. Jenny has a computational research background in bioinformatics and has experience leading the interface design and iOS development for early stage startups.

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Benjamin Libraty

FIRIS Fusion Center Modeler

Benjamin Libraty is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCSD, studying environmental systems. He is a research assistant to the WIFIRE Lab, serving as a modeler for the FIRIS Fusion Center and focusing on the development and implementation of the FIRIS Program. Libraty joined the WIFIRE team after finishing a season as a firefighter with the US Forest Service. He hopes to combine his knowledge of technology and firefighting to pursue a career in emergency management.

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Rodman Linn, Ph.D.

Assoc. Director, Fire Science

Dr. Rodman Linn is the Associate Director for Fire Science of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD, and a senior scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab. For over two decades, he has served as principal investigator for a process-based coupled fire/atmosphere model, FIRETEC. He leads LANL efforts to use next-generation process-based wildfire models for the study of fundamental wildfire behavior and the evaluation of prescribed fire tactics.

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Kai Lin, Ph.D.

Affiliated Researcher

Dr. Kai Lin is a senior research programmer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. His current research interests include databases, data management, cyberinfrastructure, geoinformatics, and software engineering. His current projects include OpenAltimetry, OpenTopography Facility, AWESOME, Cyberinfrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CYCORE), Open Science Chain, and TEAM: Tropical Ecological Assessment and Monitoring Network.

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Mai Nguyen, Ph.D.

Assoc. Director, Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Mai Nguyen is the Associate Director for AI of the WIFIRE Lab and the Lead for Data Analytics at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. Her research centers on applying artificial intelligence, deep/machine learning, and data science techniques to interdisciplinary problems. She has worked in many domains, including satellite image processing, medical image analysis, spacecraft autonomy, and object detection and data analysis for wildfire mitigation.

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Ismael Perez

Staff Researcher

Ismael Perez is a computational and data science research specialist with the Workflows for Data Science (WorDS) Center of Excellence and WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. He is currently developing cyberinfrastructure that links distributed computing with edge computing under the project Sage: A Software Defined Sensor Network. His research interests are edge computing, distributed computing, parallel computing, and composable systems. 

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Rukmini Ravi

Project Coordinator

Rukmini Ravi serves as the project coordinator of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD. She assists in establishing partnerships between the WIFIRE Lab and the greater fire science and AI communities, and in communicating technical data and fire science concepts to multidisciplinary audiences. She is primarily involved with the BurnPro3D project and communication and outreach efforts for Firemap. 

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Rawaf al Rawaf

FIRIS Fusion Center Lead Modeler

Rawaf al Rawaf is a lead wildfire modeler for the FIRIS Fusion Center and a researcher for the WIFIRE Lab, focusing on the analysis and improvement of the Firemap interface as well as other GIS-related research projects. He has a background in architecture, economics, earth science, and urban planning. He seeks to combine the tools and methodologies of science, design, and policy to create resilient solutions to complex social-ecological challenges.

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Daniel Sjoholm

FIRIS Fusion Center Modeler

Daniel Sjoholm is a second-year undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in urban studies and planning and minoring in computational social science. He has been working as a modeler for the FIRIS Fusion Center since August 2022. Sjoholm is particularly interested in researching how climate change increases the risk of wildfire damage to transportation networks. He enjoys studying sustainable transportation and land use.

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Frank Vernon, Ph.D.

Affiliated Researcher

Dr. Frank Vernon is a research geophysicist with the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. He is the Director for the US Array Network Facility, which has deployed over 2200 stations using seismic, acoustic, and atmospheric pressure sensors delivering real-time data to UCSD since 2004. His research interests include real-time environmental sensor networks, which he develops in terrestrial and marine environments. 

WIFIRE Alumni

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Hans-Werner Braun

Co-Principal Investigator

Hans-Werner Braun is a research scientist emeritus at UCSD and an adjunct professor in the College of Sciences at SDSU. His current focus is on the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN). He previously served as the PI of the National Laboratory of Applied Network Research (NLANR), with a focus on network measurement and analysis activities. Prior to this, he served as the Chief Network Architect of the Teledesic Corporation.

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Jurgen Schulze, Ph.D.

Affiliated Researcher

Dr. Jurgen Schulze is a research scientist at UCSD’s Calit2/Qualcomm Institute and a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), UCSD. His research interests include scientific visualization in virtual environments, human-computer interaction, and graphics algorithms on programmable graphics hardware. In scientific visualization, he specializes in real-time rendering of large data sets, and volume rendering and transfer function design.

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Larry Smarr, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Larry Smarr is a distinguished professor emeritus with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), UCSD. He was previously the Founding Director of the Qualcomm Institute (Calit2), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the National Computational Science Alliance. His research interests include bioinformatics, metagenomics, and visualization technologies.