Kenny Gruchalla

Senior Scientist: Scientific Visualization

Photo of Kenny Gruchalla
(303) 275-3713

Dr. Kenny Gruchalla leads the visualization efforts in the Computational Science Center at NREL. His current research is focused on developing interactive scientific visualization techniques that provide tools for finding meaning in increasingly large and complex data. Kenny has more than 15 years of professional experience in scientific programming and scientific visualization, spanning several scientific disciplines, including aerospace, geophysics, molecular biology, and environmental engineering. Dr. Gruchalla's dissertation work focused on the development of a general framework to define multi-scale, multi-variate, non-Cartesian regions of interest in large-scale turbulent flow data. His master's thesis research evaluated scientific workflows in immersive virtual environments. His current research interests include scientific visualization, immersive visualization, GPU computing, topology-based feature extraction, human-computer interaction, and physics-based modeling.

Professional Experience

  • 2009–present, senior scientist, NREL Computational Science Center
  • 2003–2009, research scientist, Red Canyon Engineering & Software
  • 2006–2008, visitor, National Center for Atmospheric Research Data Analysis Services Group
  • 2001–2006, professional research assistant, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • 2000–2001, senior analyst, United States Antarctic Program
  • 1995–2000, senior software engineer, Raytheon.


  • Ph.D., computer science, University of Colorado at Boulder

  • M.S., computer science, University of Colorado at Boulder

  • B.S., computer science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Selected Publications 

  1. Gruchalla, K.; Rast, M.; Bradley, E.; Mininni, P. (2011). "Segmentation and Visualization of Multivariate Features Using Feature-local Distributions." Bebis, G., Boyle, R., and Parvin, B. et al., eds. Advances in Visual Computing: Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium (ISVC 2011), Part I, 26–28 September 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 6938. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag pp. 619–628; NREL Report No. CP-2C00-51826.

  2. Sprague, M.A.; Moriarty, P.J.; Churchfield, M.J.; Gruchalla, K.; Lee, S.; Lundquist, J.K.; Michalakes, J.; Purkayastha, A. (1977). "Computational Modeling of Wind-plant Aerodynamics." CP-2C00-52445. Golden, CO: Solar Energy Research Institute,
  3. Lunacek, M.; Nag, A.; Alber, D.M.; Gruchalla, K.; Chang, C.H.; Graf, P.A. (2011). "Simulation, Characterization, and Optimization of Metabolic Models with the High-performance Systems Biology Toolkit." SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (33:6); pp. 3402-3424.
  4. Gruchalla, K.; Rast, M.; Bradley, E.; Clyne, J.; Minnini, P. (2009). "Visualization-driven Structural and Statistical Analysis of Turbulent Flows." Advances in Intelligent Data Analysis VIII, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5772, Springer Berlin,
  5. Gruchalla, K.; Dubin, M.; Marbach, J.; Bradley, E. (2008). "Immersive Examination of the Qualitative Structure of Biomolecules." Proceedings of the International Workshop on Qualitative Reasoning about Physical Systems;
  6. Gruchalla, K. (2004). "Immersive Well-path Editing: Investigating the Added Value of Immersion." Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality; pp. 157-164.