Richard Otis

Richard Otis received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation work was on the development of software tools for thermodynamic modeling of compositionally-graded alloys produced by additive manufacturing. He joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2016, where his additive manufacturing research continues to operate at the intersection of software engineering and materials science.

Richard is the creator and lead developer of the open-source PyCalphad thermodynamics software, a GitHub “top 10” materials science package and runner-up for NASA Software of the Year in 2019.

  • PhD – Pennsylvania State University, Materials Science and Engineering
  • BS – Georgia Institute of Technology, Polymer and Fiber Engineering

Research Interests: 
  • Computational metallurgy
  • Calphad-based thermodynamics and kinetics
  • Metal additive manufacturing
  • Bayesian statistics and uncertainty quantification
  • Machine learning for materials science
  • Scientific software engineering
  • High-performance numerical computing in Python

Professional Experience: 
  • Instructor in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2017-present
  • Member, ASM Alloy Phase Diagram Committee, 2017-present
  • Member, TMS Public Affairs Committee, 2017-present
  • Lead Organizer, AI/ML for Materials Symposium, ASM IMAT 2020, Cleveland
  • Lead Organizer, Phase Stability and Kinetics Symposium, ASM IMAT 2020, Cleveland
  • Co-organizer, MS&T 2019 Phase Stability and Kinetics Symposium, Portland
  • Co-organizer, CALPHAD 2021 Annual Meeting, Boston

Selected Awards: 
  • Runner-Up, NASA Software of the Year, PyCalphad, 2019
  • JPL Voyager Bonus Award, PyCalphad, 2018
  • NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, 2014-2016
  • ACerS Graduate Excellence in Materials Science (GEMS) Sapphire Award, 2014

Selected Publications: 
  1. “Functionally graded material of 304L stainless steel and Inconel 625 fabricated by directed energy deposition: Characterization and thermodynamic modeling,” BE Carroll, RA Otis, JP Borgonia, J Suh, RP Dillon, AA Shapiro, et al., Acta Materialia 108, 46-54, 2016.
  2. “pycalphad: CALPHAD-based Computational Thermodynamics in Python,” R Otis, ZK Liu, Journal of Open Research Software 5 (1), 2017.
  3. “ESPEI for efficient thermodynamic database development, modification, and uncertainty quantification: application to Cu–Mg,” B Bocklund, R Otis, A Egorov, A Obaied, I Roslyakova, ZK Liu, MRS Communications 9 (2), 618-627, 2019.
  4. “Advances in additive manufacturing of metal-based functionally graded materials,” A Reichardt, AA Shapiro, R Otis, RP Dillon, JP Borgonia, BW McEnerney, et al., International Materials Reviews, 1-29, 2020.


Richard Otis
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 818.354.0739