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Prasanna Balaprakash

Director of AI Programs and Distinguished R&D Staff Scientist
Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Building 5700, Room G215, Mail Stop 6164
P.O. Box 2008, 1 Bethel Valley Road
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
865-576-9087 (Please avoid cold calls/solicitations)
pbalapra (at) ornl (dot) gov

Since March 2023, I am serving as the Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). I direct the ORNL’s Artificial Intelligence Initiative, a multimillion-dollar Laboratory Directed Research and Development portfolio. I set the strategic vision for AI for science portfolio and develop plans and execute them. I seek to deliver foundational, scalable, and applied AI/ML capabilities that support the broad mission of ORNL, providing world-class solutions in areas such as computer and computational science, materials science, manufacturing, energy, and climate science.

The ORNL’s AI initiative focuses on the development of secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI solutions to tackle problems of national importance. The initiative's portfolio comprises more than 10 advanced AI projects and involves over 50 researchers from across the lab. Through the AI Initiative's AI Academy, I engage with more than 100 ORNL AI researchers to promote the adoption of secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI methods. This engagement is facilitated through several workforce development activities for the lab, including the AI Summer Institute, AI Tutorial Series for Science, AI for Science Bootcamps, AI Workshops, AI Expo, and AI Seminar Series.

Appointed by Tennessee State Governor Bill Lee, I also serve as a member of the newly formed Tennessee AI Advisory Council.

My research interests span the areas of AI, machine learning, optimization, and high-performance computing. I serve as AI lead for several DOE-funded projects:

I co-lead the research and development of DeepHyper, a scalable automated machine learning package for trustworthy and energy-efficient AI model development on DOE leadership-class systems.

I am honored to have received U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award, 2018--2023. My primary research sponsor is the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR). I am also grateful for the funding support from Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Biological and Environmental Research (BER), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES), High Energy Physics (HEP), and Nuclear Physics (NP) through SciDAC partnerships, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).


  • 2020--2023: R&D Group Leader and Computer Scientist, MCS & LCF Divisions, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2017--2020: Computer Scientist, MCS & LCF Divisions, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2017--2023: Fellow, Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
  • 2014--2018: Fellow, Computation Institute, University of Chicago
  • 2014--2017: Assistant Computer Scientist, MCS & LCF Divisions, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2012--2015: Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, inSiliTech LLC
  • 2010--2013: Postdoc, MCS Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2009--2010: Chief Technology Officer, Mentis SA, Brussels, Belgium

I received my PhD in 2010 from CoDE-IRIDIA (AI Lab), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, where I was a recipient of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and F.R.S-FNRS Aspirant fellowships from the the European Commission and the Belgian-French Community's National Fund for Scientific Research, respectively.