Robert D. Mawhinney is a Professor of Physics at Columbia University and the Dean of Natural Sciences. He received his B.S. in Physics from the University of South Florida in 1980 and his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 1987. His research is in theoretical particle physics, with a particular focus on the behavior of quarks, which bind together to form protons, neutrons and a host of other "hadrons", and the theory which describes their interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).
QCD is a highly non-linear theory, giving a first principles description of the strong interactions between quarks and many of the predictions of this theory can only be made through large scale numerical simulations on the fastest supercomputers available at any time. QCD is also an ideal numerical problem, with only a handful of input parameters and a very large number of output predictions, which are vital to interpreting and assimilating the results of many particle physics experiments.
To satisfy the large computational demands of QCD, Dr. Mawhinney and his colleagues at Columbia and other institutions designed and built a number of massively parallel computers for their QCD simulations. Through numerical work on these supercomputers, Dr. Mawhinney has studied the changes in QCD at high temperatures, precision properties of QCD hadrons and the fundamental predictions of the asymmetry between the matter and anti-matter content of the universe.