Vanderbilt University

04/19/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/19/2024 14:56

Vanderbilt welcomes new executive director of Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education

Christian Presley

The former director of scientific information technology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Christian Presley, has been appointed executive director of Vanderbilt University's Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education. His appointment began April 15.

The search for a new director began last autumn as part of the university's dedication to providing the best computing resources for cutting-edge research at Vanderbilt. ACCRE recently expanded its data storage, and the center will play a pivotal role in the new College of Connected Computing, a transformative college dedicated to computer science, AI, data science and related fields.

"Christian Presley's appointment as ACCRE's new executive director marks a pivotal moment for Vanderbilt's computing landscape," Provost C. Cybele Raver said. "With his exceptional record in IT management and forward-thinking approach, he's ideally suited to guide ACCRE forward."

In his previous roles, Presley managed comprehensive IT and computing services, overseeing significant scientific data resources and supporting advanced research infrastructures. He was instrumental in leading the rollout of NIAID's newest flagship high-performance computer cluster, a 15-petabyte expansion of their high-speed storage and the creation of high-performance graphical group workstations in the data center.

He was also responsible for leading teams for direct support of scientific instrumentation, where the balance of easy and remote access to facilitate research must be balanced with ever changing cybersecurity, as well as outreach to engage researchers directly and address needs. His work with the scientific community there spanned cryo-electron microscopy to AI-assisted protein folding.

Presley is a Nashville native and alumnus of Hume-Fogg High School. "I am very excited to be back in Nashville at such a pivotal time for the growth of research computing at Vanderbilt," he said. "With so many new initiatives in AI and growing needs for computing across all academic areas, there is so much ACCRE can offer to campus. I see ACCRE as an important partner for both research and education for the entire Vanderbilt community."

Before his time at NIAID, he led the IT and research computing initiatives at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, a partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he was pivotal in developing and managing teams across web development, desktop support, systems administration, research computing and data analytics/machine learning. His extensive experience and strategic vision are integral to advancing Vanderbilt's computing capabilities and supporting the university's mission of fostering breakthrough discoveries and innovations.

"Our faculty-led search committee and I were all struck by the unique combination of leadership skills, technical expertise and strategic thinking that Christian brings to this role," said Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan. "His deep expertise and experience in high performance computing, data analytics, machine learning and more have prepared him exceptionally well to provide the critical leadership needed to take research computing at Vanderbilt to the next level."

Under Presley's direction, ACCRE will continue to serve as a key resource for Vanderbilt researchers, providing essential computational support for a wide array of scientific investigations and empowering breakthroughs through advanced computing technologies.

Visit the ACCRE website for more information on ACCRE and its services.