November 08, 2023 - by CSCS
As a child, Tomas Aliaga used to play Sonic the Hedgehog on his Sega Genesis console. When the game stopped working one day, he decided to take the cartridge apart to see if he could fix it. “To my surprise, I just found a cold green solid circuit board, and I wondered how on Earth a static piece of plastic could give life to the game I loved playing on the TV screen,” he says. That early foray into computer repair inspired Aliaga to pursue an education in computer engineering, which led him across multiple countries and eventually to CSCS in 2019.
In his role at CSCS, Aliaga combines multiple passions in his day-to-day work. As a software engineer, he blends the worlds of systems engineering and scientific software development across a wide range of research domains, supporting work ranging from large-scale climate modeling to simulating nanoscale particle interactions. In the process, Aliaga works with a diverse, international team in the heart of Switzerland to develop new software platforms for containerizing users’ applications. Linux containers, as their name implies, allow users to package their applications and port them to diverse high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructures, such as the upcoming “Alps” system at CSCS, which will consist of a new, innovative HPC architecture.
Aliaga points out that the role is not only about forging connections between software and machines, but also about strengthening the connections between software and the teams who develop it. Further, his prior time as a graduate teaching assistant sparked a passion for education and training, and his role at CSCS allows him to not only develop new software solutions, but also to train others to take full advantage of them. “I have always enjoyed helping others, and my favorite form of that is teaching,” he says. “I am not sure if I’ll be standing in front of a classroom one day, but I take pride in knowing that the systems we build are also helping students and scientists achieve their research goals.”
Having lived in multiple cultures while pursuing his education, Aliaga has a particular appreciation for forging closer connections. Originally from Argentina, Aliaga also spent time in Austria and Brazil before joining Martel Innovate in Switzerland. “There have been three times in my life I have arrived in a place where I didn’t speak the language and adapted to a new way of life to achieve academic or professional goals,” he says. “I believe such experiences are helpful in better connecting with colleagues in multicultural environments like CSCS.”
Argentinian and Italian
Working at CSCS since:
- 2006-2012: Engineering degree in informatics, Universidad Blas Pascal, Argentina and TU Graz, Austria
- 2012-2016: Scientific applications developer, ESSS, Brazil
- 2015-2018: Master’s degree in computer science and computing systems, Georgia Tech, USA
- 2016-2019: Cloud software engineer, Martel Innovate, Switzerland
- 2019-Present: Senior software engineer for HPC Platform Services, CSCS