Ahalt to leave OSC to direct North Carolina's RENCI

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug 10, 2009) — 

Stanley C. Ahalt, Ph.D., executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, has accepted an appointment as director of the Renaissance Computing Institute and professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Stanley Ahalt, Ph.D.

Ahalt will depart the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) on Sept. 30, at which time Steven Gordon, Ph.D., currently senior director of education and client support, and Ashok Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., currently senior director of research, will take the reins as interim co-directors of the center, which is located on the West Campus of The Ohio State University (OSU).

“I very much value and appreciate all that Stan has done over the past 22 years for the development of high performance computing for Ohio State and the entire state of Ohio,” said Carol Whitacre, vice president for research at OSU. 

The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) was launched in 2004 to build partnerships and apply advanced technologies such as parallel computing, visualization, collaborative tools, software engineering, networking and data systems to complex multidisciplinary problems. RENCI is a major collaborative venture of faculty, staff and students at Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), along with the state of North Carolina and communities across North Carolina.

“This position is an incredible opportunity for me, and I look forward to the new challenges it will bring.  At RENCI, I will be given an opportunity to combine North Carolina’s technology resources and cyberinfrastructure to strengthen UNC’s university research and bolster North Carolina’s economic opportunities,” said Ahalt.

Since taking the leadership of OSC in 2003, Ahalt has 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 the Third Frontier Network (now OARnet) – the nation’s leading statewide broadband network for education, research and economic development.

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 served as the academic lead in the area of signal and image processing for the Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Additionally, Ahalt has been a professor in OSU’s electrical and computer-engineering department since 1987 and co-founded its Information Processing Systems Laboratory. He received the OSU Lumley Research Award in 1997 and the OSU College of Engineering Research Award in 1999.

New Leadership
Providing interim leadership for OSC following Ahalt’s departure, Gordon will bring considerable experience in computational science economic development and education, while Krishnamurthy will rely upon an extensive understanding of supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure.

OSC was established by the Ohio Board of Regents in 1987 as a statewide resource designated to place Ohio’s research universities and private industry at the forefront of computational research. Today, OSC is a fully scalable center with mid-range machines to compare favorably with those found at many National Science Foundation centers and national labs.

“I have total confidence that Ashok and Steve will excel at promoting the benefits of high performance computing at OSU and throughout the state of Ohio,” said Ahalt. “Their significant personal achievements and leadership successes mark them as exceptionally well qualified to advance the role of supercomputing as a key factor in Ohio’s economic aspirations.”

Krishnamurthy serves as an associate professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at OSU. He conducts research in signal/image processing, high performance computing, parallel high level language applications and computational models of hearing.

Earlier, Krishnamurthy served as the academic lead for the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program in the Integrated Modeling and Test area. He has designed and provided training courses for DoD user groups on all aspects of the MATLAB programming language.

On an entrepreneurial leave of absence from OSU, he started a design center in Dublin, Ohio, for Ecrio Inc., a Silicon Valley startup. He led a team of engineers at the design center developing wireless and handheld communication applications.

Krishnamurthy earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, in 1979. He received his master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Florida in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

Gordon previously served as deputy director of OSC from 1997-2003 and is the founding director of the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science. With funding from the Ohio Board of Regents and several NSF grants, the school has built inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional programs for computational science education. Currently 14 Ohio institutions share a computational science undergraduate minor program that started in 2007, while an associate degree program and a certificate program began in 2009.

Gordon also has played a significant role in several programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for high school and middle school students. Those include the STEM Academy in Computational Science and Engineering and the Young Women’s Summer Institute. He also oversees training programs for OSC users and has led workshops for undergraduate faculty and graduate students at OSC and nationally.

As a professor of city and regional planning at OSU, Gordon teaches courses in geographic information systems and environmental modeling and conducts research in watershed modeling and management.

Gordon graduated cum laude from State University of New York at Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in geography. At Columbia University, he earned his master’s degree and doctorate, both in geography with a specialization in environmental systems.