April 17, 2017 — DaMiri Young, computer systems manager, was faced with a difficult situation in the spring of 2015 when the University Information Technology's high-performance computing team lost two of its senior staff members to positions outside of UNT within a month of each other. He was left as the only full-time staff member to support UNT's high-performance computer installation that included more than 250 individual servers, two parallel data networks, and more than 1.5 petabytes of computer storage.
Stepping up to the challenge, DaMiri accepted the additional responsibility to keep this strategic research resource available and operating well for more than 60 research groups with more than 600 users who depend upon it for their processes of scientific discovery.
DaMiri's efforts and hard work resulted in being recognized with the Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award at the 2017 Staff Appreciation Awards Ceremony in March.
He was commended for working to maintain UNT's high-performance computing system in support of the university's goal to advance funded research and maintain the highest level of research profile. Under DaMiri's watch, the UIT HPC systems logged more than 27 million computational hours during the 2015-2016 academic year. He has shown a devotion to researchers using HPC systems and has organized his team of three full-time IT managers and two student assistants to provide efficient and responsive support when researchers require help. Under his leadership, the HPC team is well organized to complete the tasks necessary to provide a high-quality computational service.
DaMiri, who is from Amarillo, Texas and holds a bachelor's degree in computer science, also has brought new ideas and initiative to the HPC services. A recent addition is a 3-D printer that provides researchers with a means to visualize structures simulated in computer software. He also has instituted a training program to provide opportunities for student and faculty researchers to make the most efficient use of HPC resources for their area of scientific investigation. Due to the strategic nature of the HPC operation, DaMiri often logs in on weekends to verify that the systems are operating as they should and schedules maintenance of off hours to avoid disruption of researcher activity. Certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, DaMiri holds the software development professional credential, CDSP. With headquarters in New York City, the IEEE, "Eye-triple-E," is the world's largest professional association best known for developing standards for the computer and electronic industry.
His expertise in large-scale cluster computing systems has proven invaluable in moving the HPC installation to the next level of technology. He has taken on a management role and embraces the challenge of coordinating a team and providing encouragement and support to his staff. Within a year, DaMiri went from being a team of one to a coordinator for a team that includes two full-time staff and three student assistants and made a significant contribution to the support of computational research at UNT.
While DaMiri shows continual interest in improving his skills as a manager of people and technology, he also takes time out for his two daughters. Together, they like to play Xbox, swim at the Pohl Recreation Center, sit in a hammock in remote locations far away from civilization and technology, and eat delicious food, he said. DaMiri, who is well over six feet tall, also spends time with Kate, his girlfriend, also known as #10 on the Dallas Derby Devils, which makes her about nine feet tall, if you have ever seen the team in action. The Dallas Derby Devils is an all-female, amateur, flat-track roller derby league in Dallas. Kate is on the Battalion of Doom travel team and the Slaughterers home team. If you have never been to see a roller derby event, treat yourself to an exhilarating display of fast-paced athleticism and ferocity.
DaMiri's favorite quote is from Bruce Lee "Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend," and he recommends a book from 2007 that seems fitting for this political year. Long dismissed as a relic of a bygone era, coal is back -- with a vengeance, so DaMiri recommends reading "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" by Jeff Goodell.