Staff Spotlight:
Brian Blanche

Next on our Staff Spotlight, we have Brian Blanche, Systems Engineer at ARCH. Brian has been part of the ARCH team since the spring of 2021. 

Q. What is your role at ARCH?

 BB: “I work at ARCH as a Systems Engineer within the systems team. We ensure the seamless operation of systems for the community that uses them on Rockfish and several other ongoing projects we’re working towards.”

Q. What inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

BB: “From a young age, I have been fascinated by computers and technology.  Building computers was a hobby I thoroughly enjoyed. As technology became integral to our society, I realized it could be a great career to pursue. That led me to IT initially, but working in HPC has solidified my passion.  It is interesting to work in a field that is ever-changing and evolving almost daily.”

Q. What is your favorite aspect of your job?

BB: “Every day presents something new: we have a wide variety of clientele that leverage our systems, each with unique needs.  I enjoy providing services for people to use, especially in the realm of HPC, where these systems drive advancements in medicine, science, and various other fields.  It is fulfilling to know we are making a difference by providing services that lead to innovations and breakthroughs.”

Q. What is the most interesting project you've worked on here?

BB: “During my time here, we’ve had numerous projects that we’ve had to tackle and figure out. The most interesting to me is our upcoming upgrades for the new clusters. I have never worked in an environment that is completely liquid-cooled at the scale we are looking to achieve.  Technologies surrounding this endeavor have been extremely interesting to see and explore at some of the sites we have seen.  I look forward to getting these upgrades installed for the next generation at ARCH.”

Q. What is a skill that’s important to have in your role?

BB: “Patience and perseverance are essential in this line of work.  Sometimes solutions to problems do not always come right away and I think it is important to not get frustrated right off the bat.” 

Q. What are your goals for the next few months/years?

BB: “As mentioned before, I look forward to completing the upgrades to the site and getting the next generation of systems online for ARCH.  This will be a massive step in the right direction for not only ARCH but for research computing at Hopkins as a whole.  Enhancing the portfolio of JHU’s HPC footprint is very important given the traction that this type of work has seen not only in academia but industry as well.”

Q. What do you like to do outside of work?

BB: “Outside of work, I like to read, watch hockey, and take my dog on hikes. With summer approaching, I have also enjoyed gardening.  I am in the process of growing pawpaw trees at my house and that has been a very fun experience.  I highly recommend people to try it if they have not!”