MolSSI Software Fellow: Dr. Giuseppe Barbalinardo

Giuseppe Barbalinardo, PhD, one of our 2019-2020 Fellows, earned his PhD in computational chemistry at UC Davis under the direction of Prof. Davide Donadio. He is currently working as a Senior Data Scientist at Tonal, a tech company in San Francisco. Under MolSSI support, Giuseppe worked with MolSSI Software Scientist Dr. Doaa Altarway on the development of an open source framework to model heat transport at the nanoscale.

How did you first become interested in molecular science?

I first became interested in molecular science back when I was in high school. I was in a computer science vocational institute, and I had a great math professor who introduced me to physics and science. Since then, I have never stopped being interested in atoms and molecules. I read the biographies of great masters like Feynman and Landau. I was always fascinated by their ways of understanding how this world works at a microscopic level and how important the details of this beautiful place where we live are. I decided to learn theoretical physics to build a solid background and focus on statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics during my M.Sc dissertation. During my career, I was lucky to be mentored by great minds like my former doctorate advisor Dr. Davide Donadio. He taught me how mathematical modeling, computer science and machine learning can efficiently play together in describing and understanding complex, difficult concepts like heat (which I found to be very important for our time).

How are you benefitting from being a MolSSI Software Fellow?

While mentorship was an essential part of the MolSSI experience, the Software Fellowship program is much more than that. I had the opportunity to travel and participate in workshops to perfect my scientific skills and meet a network of like-minded peers who work on fantastic software projects. In recent years, the MolSSI research scientists and the other Software Fellows have worked on several impressive scientific software projects. Having the possibility to exchange thoughts with such a diverse group of experts was really important during my career development.

Describe your engagement with your MolSSI Software Scientist mentor.

My MolSSi mentor, Dr. Doaa Altarawy, helped me during my Ph.D. by providing all the technical support I needed. I was the lead developer of kALDo, an open-source project that describes heat transport. Dr. Altarawy helped the project development with regular code reviews and through brainstorming and discussion on the best technologies to scale and implement a powerful GPU-driven code. I also received support in bringing the code to production. Building docs and implementing continuous deployment and integration strategies is not always an easy task. At MolSSI, I found all the resources and professional help I was looking for.

What are your long-term career plans?

I want to learn and discover more about scientific modeling and apply my knowledge to different fields of technology and science. I believe it’s essential to diversify your toolkit and apply your skills anywhere where they can advance technological progress.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people would not know about?

Not everyone knows that when I was younger, I used to be a professional breakdancer! Unfortunately, I stopped because of an injury, but I still carry those times and happy memories in my heart.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am very proud of my ability to speak two languages: math and coding. I spent my whole life learning and perfecting them. I see formulas and algorithms as a language that tells a story, as a tool to navigate more efficiently and solve real-world problems.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?

I like to produce music; I love the hidden symmetries of trap and house beats. I also like to grow vegetables in my yard, and my favorites are zucchini flowers.

What’s a goal you have for yourself that you’d like to accomplish in the next year or two?

I have spent my last few years perfecting my knowledge of heat and how to describe it with formulas and code. More recently, I’ve taken up another challenge: applying physics, chemistry, computer science, and artificial intelligence, working across these specialties to improve health and the physical body. In January 2021, I became a Senior Data Scientist at a tech company in San Francisco called Tonal.

Use these links if you’d like to know more about Dr. Giuseppe Barbalinardo and his current work: