Stanley C. Ahalt became RENCI director in September 2009 after serving as executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) from 2003 to 2009 and as a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at The Ohio State University for 22 years. In addition to directing RENCI, Ahalt is a professor in the department of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Since coming to RENCI, Ahalt has increased RENCI’s sponsored research portfolio and solidified RENCI’s partnerships with the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC School of Information and Library Sciences, UNC’s department of computer science, and various research units at North Carolina State and Duke universities. He is a member of the Board for National Lambda Rail, a major network for advanced research and innovation, and a member of Microsoft’s Technical Computing Advisory Committee. He will begin a term as president of the Board of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation (GLCPC) in fall 2011 and currently chairs the GLCPC Allocation Committee.
Ahalt chairs the subcommittee on regional computing centers for the National Science Foundation Taskforce on High Performance Computing and was a key contributor to the NSF Data and Visualization and Campus Bridging Task Force reports, two of the six reports that comprise the NSF-wide Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure reports published in April, 2011. He chaired the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) in 2009 and 2010 and has been a member of the Council on Competitiveness High Performance Computing Advisory Committee since 2004.
While at OSC, Ahalt launched several model programs, including Blue Collar Computing, a national program to bring high performance computing to a wide spectrum of industries and applications, and OSCnet, a leading high-speed research network for K-12 schools, higher education and economic development. He also served as co-chair of the Ohio Broadband Council, the coordinating body for the state’s initiative to extend the reach of the Broadband Ohio Network.
Ahalt’s research expertise involves neural networks, high performance computing, signal/image/video processing and object identification. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 technical papers and been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research grants totaling nearly $17 million. Ahalt also served as the academic lead in the area of signal and image processing for the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program.
As a member of the Ohio State faculty, Ahalt co-founded the Information Processing Systems Laboratory. He received the OSU Lumley Research Award in 1997 and the OSU College of Engineering Research Award in 1999.
A native of Virginia, Ahalt holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Clemson University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
- Stan Ahalt
Ilia Baldine leads RENCI’s network research and infrastructure programs. He is a networking researcher with a wide range of interests, including high-speed optical network architectures, cross-layer interactions, novel signaling schemes and network security. Before coming to RENCI, Baldine was the principal scientist at the Center for Advanced Network Research at the Research Triangle Institute, and a network research engineer at the Advanced Network Research group at MCNC, where was a team member and a leader of a number of federally funded research efforts. He holds Ph.D. and MS degrees in computer science from North Carolina State University.
Rob Fowler directs RENCI’s high performance computing research projects, including efforts to analyze the effectiveness of high-end systems in serving the needs of scientists and to develop software tools that enhance the performance of grid-enabled applications. Fowler was previously a senior research scientist in the department of computer science and associate director of the Center for High Performance Software Research at Rice University. He has served on the computer science faculty, in both regular and visiting positions, at several universities, including Rice, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Rochester and the University of Washington. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s in computer science from the University of Washington and a physics degree from Harvard College.
John Gallagher oversees financial and business operations for RENCI and is also responsible for human resource management for over all RENCI employees, contractors and students. Prior to joining RENCI, Gallagher was the assistant vice chancellor for financial planning and human resources for Information Technology Services at UNC-Chapel Hill. He also served as director of the pre-award section of the Office of Sponsored Research, where he managed pre-award research administration for the university. Before coming to UNC, he was business manager at Lockheed Martin on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, subcontract manager on NASA’s Space Station, a contract administrator for Science Applications International Corp. and senior buyer for the Stanford Research Institute. Gallagher holds a business administration degree from Western Washington University.
Karen Green is RENCI’s director of communication and outreach. She manages all the institute’s internal and external communications, media relations, events and websites and oversees RENCI’s education and outreach activities. She spent eight years at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), first as public information officer and later as associate director of public affairs. She worked as a communications specialist with University of Illinois Extension and has been a communications consultant for technology businesses and nonprofit organizations. Before her career in public affairs management, Green was a newspaper feature writer and columnist. Her writing, editing and communications management efforts have won recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Association of Women in Communication, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.
Ray Idaszak is RENCI’s director of visualization and collaborative environments. He leads the visualization team, which spans the RENCI centers at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, NC State and the RENCI home office and works closely with staff at the regional engagement sites to help them use RENCI’s distributed visualization infrastructure for scientific discovery, information visualization and decision support. Prior to joining RENCI, Idaszak spent 12 years Ray as chief technology officer and member of the board of directors of a large display company, where the products his team brought to market earned several industry awards. He was the first technical staff member of the visualization group at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois and later formed the initial MCNC visualization group and the MCNC International AVS Center. His work has appeared in magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American Discover and Britannica’s Science and Future and on the PBS shows NOVA and The Infinite Voyage. Idaszak, who earned a degree in computer science engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, also holds 11 patents.
David A. Knowles is RENCI’s director of economic development and regional engagement. He works with staff at RENCI engagement centers in the Triangle area and across the state, helping them building partnerships with faculty and community groups that can benefit from using the advanced visualization infrastructure at the centers. Knowles came to RENCI from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the business development manager for the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, a division of the university’s Economic Development Institute. Previously, Knowles was vice president of operations for Interra International, Inc., an international food trading company, and chief operating officer of International Trade Management, Inc., an Atlanta area firm that develops transactional software for food producers. His sales, operations, and business development work have taken him to Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.
John McGee is RENCI’s Director for Cyberinfrastructure, leading a team of researchers and software developers to design and implement solutions that advance scientific research and discovery, and directing the Advanced Computing Infrastructure and Systems (ACIS) team in implementing a leading edge operational infrastructure for increasing researcher productivity, capability, and capacity in their eScience endeavors. Mr. McGee oversees IT and research computing activities for RENCI. Prior to joining RENCI, McGee was co-executive director of the GRIDS Center at USC’s Information Sciences Institute as part of the NSF Middleware Initiative. He has also served in technical and managerial roles in academia and the private sector, with experience in large corporations and high tech startups in roles including software developer, project manager, director of information technology, and vice president of business development. McGee holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Charles Schmitt provides technical leadership and management for RENCI biological and medical science related projects in the areas of patient monitoring, systems biology, and genomics. Prior to joining RENCI, Schmitt was the senior computer scientist at BD Technologies, Research Triangle Park, where he assisted in software development and bioinformatics support for programs in stem cell research, immune function, medical diagnostics, genomics, and proteomics. He also served as the primary architect and developer of the MPM software informatics platform. Schmitt is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the International Society for Computational Biology. He holds a B.S. degree in physics and a Ph.D. degree in computer science from UNC-Chapel Hill.
- Ilia Baldine