In Memoriam – Nacho Navarro, 1958-2016

Nacho Navarro

with the contribution of many people/friends/colleagues who cared about Nacho

Nacho was born and raised in Barcelona. He studied at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Barcelona Tech and in 1985 joined the university as a lecturer before becoming associate professor and later leading the group on accelerators for HPC at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. He was extremely active, organizing many popular events at UPC and BSC, managing the BSC/UPC NVIDIA CUDA Center of Excellence and participating in a large number of projects. From 2001 onwards, he was also Visiting Research Professor at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Although he would never acknowledge it thanks to his humble nature, Nacho was a truly remarkable person: highly intelligent, patient and incredibly kind, he always made time to listen and was ready to help. His profound humanity was evident in everything he did, shining a spotlight on others while putting himself last. He had friends all over the world about whom he cared deeply, and he touched a great number of people’s lives. We will miss Nacho enormously.

Memorial event paying tribute to Nacho Navarro

This video summarizes the most touching moments.


I had the pleasure to know Nacho long time ago. Inmediately, I realized he was a special guy, always willing to listen to and help in anything you could need. I have been moved with his death. Fortunately, I am completely sure about he will continue taking care of us all from the heavens, where he will be with God.
Tot i no haver tingut mai l'oportunitat de treballar amb Nacho, el meu lloc al BSC estava a la sala de l'equip d'acceleradors que ell portava. Moltes vegades venia a parlar amb mi, mostrant vertader interès a nivell personal i professional. Sempre tenia algun comentari interessant sobre el que estava fent en aquell moment i era molt d'agrair. A més, vaig tenir la sort d'assistir a un dels PUMPS que ell ajudava a organitzar a l'estiu i va ser d'allò més interessant, sempre amb el seu entusiasme que contagiava a tothom. Nacho Navarro sempre serà part dels meus millors records del BSC.
I started at DAC with Nacho, after attending the course on Design of Operating Systems, that he was imparting with Marisa, Teo and Miquel on 1990-91. During the course we did the compilation of the Chorus microkernel on a PC with a 386 processor, and learned about the actors, threads, ports, that were so nicely organizing the internals of Chorus and Mach. At that time I remember perfectly this sentence from him: "We'll write papers". A year later we had the first publication on the experiences with Chorus. I will miss Nacho a lot. Thanks for all the support you have given to me!!
Nacho, I will remember you as an optimistic happy person standing in the back of the room with a camera. I have many pictures taken by you at HiPEAC events. This is one of the rare pictures where you were caught on camera at the HiPEAC summer school in L’Aquila. It is 100% you. Adiós Nacho.
When I learned about the terrible news, it felt so frustrating, it did not seem to be real. Walking to UPC and in the streets of Barcelona, I still expect to meet you around the corner. My heartfelt condoleances and thoughts to Nacho's family, which includes BSC and UPC/DAC, and many friends and colleagues around the world.
Through his open and generous character, Nacho dealt with his teaching duties. His unstoppable dynamism, the motivation to transmit knowledge and his enthusiasm when trying new things and approaches have been a constant all through these years. Nacho has been a professor but also an educator and mentor. The passion he showed in each new course, seminar or activity was far beyond merely teaching. Through his more than 30 years of service, more than a thousand students have attended his courses and we are sure that beyond the technical contents they learned, we know that they also learned to be better humans.
I find myself to be extremely fortunate to have met Nacho. He was a brilliant and caring person. I will always remember our meetings at CSL were his advice was invaluable for my work. Always patient, and happy to help, Nacho made me feel welcome wherever we were. A role-model for all of us, he will be dearly missed. I leave here a picture taken at the dinner after PUMPS'15 that Nacho labeled "Nice team, nice dinner". Thank you for everything Nacho!
Nacho was a smiling and friendly person and having a great positive influence on people around him. The world and our community are poorer without him. Nacho you will be missed.
Nacho was a smiling and friendly person and having a great positive influence on people around him. The world and our community are poorer without him. Nacho you will be missed.
Estuve un año viviendo con Nacho, en Urbana (Illinois), ha sido un golpe fortísimo para mi y para mi mujer. Miles de anécdotas me vienen a la memoria, las lágrimas me caen mientras escribo, Nacho tenía y tiene una categoría humana excepcional, un corazón que le ha reventado por estar tan lleno de los demás. Me ayudó enormemente a pasar una temporada lejos de mi mujer y mis hijos. Dios mío que bien os lo vais a pasar con él.