MolSSI Software Scientist: Dr. Daniel Smith

Although Daniel Smith started his undergraduate degree with the intention to become a medical doctor, his time in the College of Charleston Chemistry Department provided him with experiences that led to a love of combining computer science and chemistry. He graduated in 2010 with his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, taking both paths and melding them together. From there, he was recruited into a Ph.D. program in Computational Chemistry at Auburn University where his open-source pursuits found a home. Once he discovered that he could use his skills to contribute to knowledge that anyone could access, he knew that he had found his niche in the world. 

Since graduating in 2015 with his Ph.D., Smith spent fourteen months as a Research Associate with the Georgia Institute of Technology working on the open-source Psi4 quantum chemistry package, before being invited by the MolSSI to join the team as a Software Scientist. He has spent two and a half years here where his “enthusiasm for open-source science” has found a place to be nurtured and grown. He enjoys the environment that encourages “pooling everyone’s knowledge on a regular and informal basis.” Both on a professional and social level, the MolSSI has given him opportunities for growth and a space to be motivated, challenged, and to explore the intersections of “high-performance computing, relational data problems, software best practices, and the evolving open-source ecosystems.” 

As far as the future of his career and the world of computational molecular science, he feels that CMS is “at a tipping point where he can begin to have a much larger impact on problems that both academia and industry run into every day.” His primary focus at the moment is “to explore data-driven decisions and how they can alter how the community approaches the field of computational molecular science.”

When not computing or sipping coffee with his coworkers, Smith enjoys “traveling, good food, cooking, exploring what the brilliant farmers of southwest Virginia have to offer, and adventuring (especially hiking) with his partner and their giant fluffy poodle.”