Many people are surprised to learn that LLNL’s National Ignition Facility, nicknamed NIF, has a whole division of computing personnel. With 192 beamlines, the world’s largest and most energetic laser actually requires a great deal of computing expertise in order to operate. This includes high performance control and diagnostic systems, laser experiment software applications, and information technology tools. Our NIF Computing, or NIFC, division handles all of it.

Jorge Castro Morales—who is pictured at right—works in the Integrated Computer Control System group within NIFC. He serves as deputy lead for ICCS’s Target Area Controls team, whose software developers help NIF staff operate the huge positioners within the laser target chamber. Jorge is also ICCS’s deputy integration manager, which means he ensures that all software changes are rigorously tested before deployment. The team aims for 4 releases a year, with a minimum of 10 new features in each.

Last but certainly not least, he is a software engineer and primary developer for NIF’s target diagnostics systems. Jorge explains, “The target diagnostics controls are the most valuable part of the system, as they are the components that collect the diagnostic data on each NIF experiment.” His job requires him to be proficient in Java, Oracle database, and CORBA.

Jorge likes wearing these different hats at work. He says, “I’m honored to be working with a diverse team of multidisciplinary experts to resolve very complex problems on a daily basis.” Jorge has a keen eye for team efficiency and quality, and he has developed several enhancements to internal tools used by the ICCS development team to boost productivity.

Jorge first came to the Lab as an undergraduate intern after a hearing about the opportunity from a friend. He started working on mobile apps for NIF, gaining valuable experience in software engineering while learning about NIF and the Lab’s mission. As often happens here, the successful internship led to a new opportunity, as Jorge’s mentor was looking for a developer for NIF control systems. “Transitioning from a student to a full-time employee was a dream come true,” says Jorge.

Beyond NIF, Jorge is involved in Computing’s popular hackathons, as well as Amigos Unidos, an employee group that brings the Lab’s Hispanic community together for mentoring, career development, and other activities.

Jorge grew up in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, and attended the Ana G. Méndez University Recinto de Gurabo. He plays basketball and video games in his free time. Jorge always keeps in mind his grandfather’s advice to never be intimidated of challenges. He says, “My grandfather taught me that everything with time and patience can be fixed.”

—Holly Auten