Working to Bring an Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Rutgers

February 19, 2016

From:  Michele Norin

             Sr. VP Chief Information Officer

             Office of Information Technology

Office of Advanced Research Computing:
Working to Bring an Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Rutgers University

One year ago today, President Robert Barchi announced the formation of the Office of Advanced Research Computing (OARC), a new unit within the Rutgers Office of Research and Economic Development led by Senior Vice President Christopher Molloy. The announcement can be found here: OARC was set up to foster and coordinate investments in Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) and further enable multidisciplinary research that requires ACI. In so doing, Rutgers will have a competitive advantage in the growing world of ACI and Big Data.

During the past year, OARC’s efforts were focused on creating the foundation of an office that can effectively address the research computing needs of faculty and researchers, specifically:

  • Appointment of Drs. Helen Berman and Manish Parashar as Interim Associate Vice Presidents for Advanced Research Computing.
  • Hiring of OARC's first full-time staff member, Senior Program Coordinator Kristin Lepping (MLIS, SCI 2015), who has coordinated the Year One initiatives;
  • Development of a comprehensive plan to build Rutgers' ACI capabilities and resources by defining the university's existing high performance compute and personnel resources, as well as delineating existing gaps and needs; input from faculty across the university was critical in creating the plan;
  • Assessment of the state of ACI at peer Big 10/CIC universities, the findings of which will contribute to the quality and competitiveness of research at Rutgers;
  • Launching a series of seminars and workshops led by the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2) in partnership with other units, designed to nurture the HPC community at Rutgers and provide opportunities for communication and potential collaboration university-wide; more information on the seminars can be found at:;
  • Assisting with coordination of the Early Adopters program for RDI2’s ELF Phase I resources, new high performance computing and storage now available to Rutgers researchers.

The culmination of these efforts is the successful recruitment of an incoming Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing who will lead OARC effective March 1, 2016. Dr. James Barr von Oehsen, Rutgers alum (BA, Mathematics 1984; PhD, Mathematics 1991) has spent the past 14 years as a computational scientist at Clemson University, the past two in the capacity of Executive Director of the Cyberinfrastructure Technology Integration (CITI) group. Dr. von Oehsen brings to Rutgers strategic leadership in advancing a university's research and scholarly achievements through next generation computing, networking, data technologies, and creative learning environments. Under his leadership, the Office of Advanced Research Computing will continue to develop and coordinate advanced cyberinfrastructure at Rutgers that delivers a new benchmark for academic excellence.

Dr. von Oehsen will initially report to Dr. Parashar, and Dr. Berman will serve as an adviser to OARC. In the fall, OARC will report to my office as the SVP & CIO and Dr. Chris Molloy, SVP; Drs. Parashar and Berman will serve in an advisory capacity.

The support of many in the Rutgers community was crucial to the creation of OARC. It is anticipated that as the activity grows, the involvement of the community will continue to grow.


Michele Norin