John Towns is the New Deputy CIO for Research IT

John TownsWe are pleased to announce that John Towns has been appointed Deputy CIO for Research IT. He will also continue leading the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) initiative at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

NCSA, Technology Services, and the Vice Chancellor for Research collaborated to create the position of Deputy CIO for Research IT. This position will meet a crucial goal of the campus strategic plan: to foster scholarship, discovery, and innovation by supporting our faculty’s needs for information technology.

In this position, John will work to enhance technologies and services used in research. Drawing on his resources and experiences at NCSA, Technology Services, and other campus units, John is well prepared to meet these challenges. He will focus particular attention on high-performance computing, high-speed networking, big data, and visualization. 

John will also collaborate with members of the campus research community to develop new initiatives, conduct ongoing needs assessments, and coordinate research IT activities across campus units.

John began his career at NCSA over 25 years ago as a graduate research assistant in the gravitational relativity group. As a graduate student, he supported the development of software on NCSA’s advanced computing architectures. He has since been a pillar of the NCSA, leading efforts in user support, the exploration of new computer systems, and implementing and managing the campus cluster.

John has also served as the Principal Investigator of the NSF XSEDE project, a 5-year, $130M project which integrates supercomputers, visualization and storage systems, collections of data, software, networks, and expert support, and makes these resources available to researchers around the US.

We welcome John to this new role and look forward to his further developing our capabilities to accelerate research, discovery, and innovation.