Geert Jan Bex
HPC analyst & consultant at Hasselt University/KU Leuven
Your beginnings? Where did you grow up?
As a child, I spend a lot of time with my nose buried in books. Then, as of now, I was interested in many things such as history and archeology, but also chemistry, biology, and physics. My parents encouraged me, and then, as now, there was no limit to the budget for reading material. I spent quite some time in the Ardennes acting out the siege of Bastogne and later going on long hikes.
What makes you interested in your current field?
The interest in almost everything has remained and it explains in part why I’ve been doing my job, HPC support, and consultancy, for more than a decade now. I get in touch with scientists active in very diverse domains. Each time, I learn a little bit about the work they do in their specific field. HPC is also in constant evolution, so there is something new to learn every day, and that is what I thrive on.
On which project are you working on?
Besides helping our researchers use our infrastructure efficiently, a lot of my time is spent on giving training sessions and creating new training material. In addition, I coordinate communication and dissemination both for VSC, EuroCC@Belgium, and DSI.
In the background, I also do some software development focusing on improving the user experience on our infrastructure
What do you want people to know about the work or research that you do?
Currently, a lot of effort is devoted to the creation of our second MOOC, this one on “Fortran for scientific programming”. Even when you are quite familiar with a programming language, there are still a lot of things to test and subtleties to explore. If not for the second lockdown, we would have launched it in February 2021, but now it remains to be seen when we can schedule the recordings.
HPC is also in constant evolution, so there is something new to learn every day, and that is what I thrive on."
Something that you have achieved that you are most proud of (in research or life)?
There are a number of things I am proud of, at a personal level for example that I conquered my fear of heights on ziplines through the jungle of Laos, and professionally that I am one of the founding members of the UHasselt Data Science Institute. I might tell you of others over a glass of whisky (single malt, please, preferably an Islay).