Katherine Yelick is vice chancellor for research and Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also a senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has been a member of advisory board of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute since 2022.
Yelick’s research is in programming languages, compilers, parallel algorithms and automatic performance tuning. She is well known for her work in partitioned global address space (PGAS) languages and co-invented the Unified Parallel C (UPC) and Titanium languages. She and her students developed program analyses and optimization techniques for these languages, and the Berkeley Lab team built compiler and runtime support that is used by several other research and production projects. She also led the Sparsity project, the first automatically tuned library for sparse matrix kernels, and co-led the development of the Optimized Sparse Kernel Interface (OSKI). Yelick has worked on interdisciplinary teams developing scientific applications ranging from simulations of chemistry, fusion and blood flow in the heart to analysis problems in phylogenetics and genome assembly.
Yelick was director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) from 2008–12 and led the Computing Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab from 2010–19. She earned her Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and has been a professor at UC Berkeley since 1991 with a joint research appointment at Berkeley Lab since 1996.
Yelick is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Association for Arts and Sciences. She is also an ACM Fellow and recipient of the ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award and the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award. She previously served as a member of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) and on the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), the California Council on Science and Technology, and the LLNS/LANS Science and Technology Committee overseeing research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).