Reed named to first Kenan Eminent Professorship, will direct new interdisciplinary Institute for Renaissance Computing
CHAPEL HILL – Dr. Daniel A. Reed, one of the world’s foremost leaders in high-performance computing and the key architect of many national computing initiatives, has been named the first Kenan Eminent Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will also direct a new interdisciplinary computing institute based at Carolina, with strong collaborative ties to Duke and N.C. State universities.
Reed, whose appointment was just approved by the UNC Board of Trustees, begins work in Chapel Hill in January. He will teach and conduct research in Carolina’s nationally recognized department of computer science, part of the College of Arts and Sciences. He will also hold faculty appointments at Duke and N.C. State.
Reed comes to Carolina from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has served in many roles over the past 20 years. He spearheaded more than $100 million in construction to create a new information technology quadrangle on the Illinois campus. Most recently, he served as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), a 400-person research institute with a mission to develop computing infrastructure in support of scientific research. NCSA was the birthplace of the modern Web browser that sparked the Internet revolution.
At Carolina, Reed will be the founding director of the Institute for Renaissance Computing, a venture supported by the three universities that will explore the interactions of computing technology with the sciences, arts and humanities. The institute also will partner with business leaders to enhance the competitiveness of North Carolina industries. A “Renaissance team” approach will bring scientists, engineers, artists and institute staff together to explore interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship, discovery and education.
The $3 million Kenan Eminent Professorship, the largest endowed professorship in the university’s history, is part of a $27 million commitment to the Carolina First campaign from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.
“Professor Reed epitomizes the high quality of creative scholarship that the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust envisioned when this grant was made to the university,” said Richard Krasno, executive director of the trust. “The trust is proud to be associated with a scholar of Professor Reed’s distinction and congratulates the university on his appointment.”
The Kenan Trust pledged to create five eminent professorships at Carolina and match contributions from other donors to create five additional eminent professorships.
“I am delighted that Carolina has been able to attract such a world-class teacher and scholar as Dan Reed, who sets the standard that we shall expect in making future appointments to Kenan Eminent Professorships,” Chancellor James Moeser said. “This perfectly illustrates our commitment to attracting and retaining the brightest and best to Carolina, leading in the creation of new knowledge and teaching and mentoring students.
“We are also grateful for the participation of Duke and N.C. State in the creation of the new Institute for Renaissance Computing, yet another example of the growing collaboration of the three Triangle universities and their value to North Carolina’s economic development,” he said.
Faculty support is a major goal of the $1.8 billion Carolina First campaign. The campaign seeks $350 million for endowed professorships, research support, funds for travel and other means of attracting and retaining outstanding faculty. The university seeks to create 200 new endowed professorships during the campaign. To date 109 have been established. The $3 million Kenan Eminent Professorships were created at the launch of the campaign to address Carolina’s urgent need to recruit and hire the top scholars and teachers in their fields.
Reed’s work focuses on the design of very high-speed computers and on providing new computing capabilities for scholars in science, medicine, engineering and the humanities. At Illinois, he directed both NCSA and the National Computational Science Alliance, a nationwide partnership of more than 50 institutions to advance scientific discovery via high-performance computing. Reed is a principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid project, an effort to build and deploy the world’s largest, most comprehensive computing system for open scientific research. Recognized for his teaching skills at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Reed will teach undergraduate and graduate students in the department of computer science.
“The opportunity to teach at Chapel Hill, and to build an internationally recognized, broadly based research institute, made this an irresistible opportunity,” Reed said. “Because many recent biological discoveries are computer-aided, one of my interests is marshaling the computing talent in the Research Triangle to enrich computing collaborations with the area’s great biomedical talent. The biological revolution has just begun, and I am excited about the future of bioinformatics and its impact on health and medical care.
“Beyond biology, we want to unlock computing’s true power to enrich and drive discovery across the entire range of human activities,” he said. “The Research Triangle campuses offer enormous potential for adapting technology to serve the arts and humanities, to catalyze scientific discovery, to shape public policy and to enrich the human experience via the novel application of computing and collaboration technology.”
Reed is a member of President George W. Bush’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, charged with providing advice on information technology issues and challenges to the president, a member of the Biomedical Informatics Expert Panel for the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Research Resources and on the board of directors of the Computing Research Association, which represents the interests of the major academic departments and industrial research laboratories. He recently testified before Congress on the future of high-end computing. He also chairs the policy board for the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, the Department of Energy’s high-performance computing center for scientific research.
One of his priorities at Urbana-Champaign was introducing K-12 students to science and engineering, with a goal of increasing diversity in those fields. The Institute for Renaissance Computing will engage in similar outreach, he said.
Reed received an IBM Faculty Development Award in 1984 and an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1987.
Reed served as an assistant professor of computer science at Carolina in 1983-84. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1984 as an assistant professor of computer science and headed the department, one of the most highly ranked computer science departments in the country, from 1996 to 2001.
In 2001, the University of Illinois named Reed a recipient of the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professorship in recognition of his distinguished scholarship.
An Arkansas native, he received his doctorate in computer science in 1983 from Purdue University. He holds a master’s in computer science from Purdue and a bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Missouri at Rolla.