NIF’s high-performance control and diagnostic systems, laser experiment software applications, and information technology tools require a great deal of computing expertise, which is handled by the NIF Computing (NIFC) division of LLNL’s Computing Directorate.
Jorge Castro Morales works in the Integrated Computer Control System (ICCS) 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’s Target Chamber.
He is also ICCS’s deputy integration manager, which means he ensures that all software changes are rigorously tested before deployment. The team aims for four 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.
“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,” Castro Morales explains.
His job requires him to be proficient in Java, Oracle database, and CORBA. He likes wearing these different hats at work.
“I’m honored to be working with a diverse team of multidisciplinary experts to resolve very complex problems on a daily basis,” he says.
“We solve unique problems that only exist in a national laboratory environment.”
—Jorge Castro Morales
Castro Morales 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.
He 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 his mentor was looking for a developer for NIF control systems.
“Transitioning from a student to a full-time employee was a dream come true,” he says.
Beyond NIF, Castro Morales 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.
Castro Morales grew up in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, and attended Ana G. Méndez University Recinto de Gurabo. He plays basketball and video games in his free time. He always keeps in mind his grandfather’s advice to never be intimidated by challenges.
“My grandfather taught me that everything with time and patience can be fixed,” he says.
Originally published February 12, 2020