McMullen named director of the High-Performance Computing Center

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 93 views 

Rick McMullen, former director of research computing at the University of Kansas, has been appointed director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center. His appointment begins Aug. 13, according to a release from the University of Arkansas.

McMullen replaces Jack Cothren, associate professor of geosciences, and Douglas Spearot, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Cothren and Spearot served as interim co-directors of the center after former director Amy Apon accepted an administrative position at Clemson University.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. McMullen as our new director of high-performance computing at the University of Arkansas,” Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, said in the release. “His research and leadership experience in many facets of research computing at both KU and Indiana University, as well as the Great Plains Network, ensure that we will continue to build upon the many great things we’ve accomplished in high-performance computing at the University of Arkansas.”

In addition to his primary academic and administrative positions at the University of Kansas, McMullen has served as a research associate at the university’s Biodiversity Institute. He is also senior research associate with the Great Plains Network, a large consortium of Midwestern universities that work together to connect each institution to the National Research and Education Network infrastructure, including Internet2, and to facilitate the use of advanced infrastructure across the network. The University of Arkansas is a member of the Great Plains Network.

As a scientist and strategist, McMullen has spent more than 20 years in high-performance-computing research and technical management. His positions have included work on strategic technology evaluation and planning in both the private sector and higher education. He has focused his career on developing and applying novel information and communication technologies to solve problems in computationally intensive and data-intensive research.

At the University of Arkansas, McMullen will also serve as a faculty member in the College of Engineering’s department of computer science and computer engineering.

“The University of Arkansas has a strong high-performance computing program that supports science and engineering research important to the state and nation,” McMullen said. “I am very pleased to join this team of accomplished researchers and computing experts.”

The Arkansas High Performance Computing Center supports research in computer science, integrated nanoscience, computational chemistry, computational biomagnetics, materials science and spatial science. Faculty and students from several departments at the university use high-performance computers at the center for a wide array of research, including exploring the fundamental properties of chemicals and nanomaterials, developing new methods of detecting breast cancer and organizing large sets of spatial data. The center is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.

In early 2011, the center activated Razor, a new supercomputer acquired through National Science Foundation funding. Razor joined Star of Arkansas, a supercomputer the center has operated since 2009.