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SDSC Director Fran Berman to Join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as VP of Research August 1

Published 04/06/2009

Dr. Francine Berman, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego

Dr. Francine Berman, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego
Photo by Alan Decker

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego announced today that its director, Fran Berman, will be leaving to accept the position of Vice President of Research with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, effective August 1. An interim director will be named at a later date.

"UC San Diego and the San Diego Supercomputer Center have been fortunate to have Fran Berman leading the way to an innovative and interdisciplinary Information Age," UC Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said in congratulating Berman on her new appointment. "Fran's creativity, vision, and pragmatism in bringing many different disciplines together have enhanced the international conversation and global landscape of digital data in research and education, and the development of comprehensive data cyberinfrastructure. UC San Diego is grateful for her dedication and service, and we wish her the best."

"I'm looking forward to this next step in my career, and the opportunity to lead a research enterprise at the university level at RPI," said Berman. "Over the last nine years, I have greatly enjoyed and benefitted tremendously from the opportunity to lead and evolve SDSC, and work with its outstanding staff. SDSC has great forward momentum and will continue to be a vital and unique resource for the local, state, and national research community."

Berman, a professor in UC San Diego's Department of Computer Science and Engineering and first holder of the university's High Performance Computing Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering, has served as SDSC's director since 2001. Widely recognized as a pioneer in grid computing and a leader in the development of cyberinfrastructure, Berman has made particular contributions to the areas of data cyberinfrastructure and digital preservation, and co-leads the international Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. She has been named as a technology leader by IEEE Spectrum, Newsweek, and Business Week. Over the last few years, she has successfully worked with SDSC staff and the University of California to re-conceptualize SDSC as a unique cyberinfrastructure resource for UC San Diego, the University of California, and the national community.

"Fran has been an outstanding leader and has helped SDSC develop and implement a next-generation vision that is now building momentum at the campus, the University of California and at the national level," said Art Ellis, Vice Chancellor of Research for UC San Diego. "Fran has worked tirelessly to establish SDSC as a unique resource. We will greatly miss her leadership and wish her continued success in her new position."

Frieder Seible, Dean of UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering and Chair of the SDSC Executive Committee, commended Berman's initiatives for reshaping SDSC for the future of scientific discovery and advancement. "Fran has worked with SDSC's Executive Committee and myself to create a new vision for SDSC's future and a strong team to implement that vision," he said. "Her legacy will be the creation of an outstanding and innovative institution that will continue to serve UC San Diego, the University of California, and the national research community for many years."

Under Berman's leadership, SDSC has become one of the largest repositories of digital data of any academic institution in the world, recently increasing its archival storage capacity to a combined 36 petabytes, or 36 thousand trillion bytes, of information. To date, SDSC hosts more than 110 community digital data sets and collections. In 2007-2008 alone, the center conducted or participated in more than 150 research projects supported by funding in excess of $45 million from federal, state, and private resources.

Last fall, SDSC formally opened a new building and data center that increased overall space to 180,000 square feet to house more than 250 researchers, computer scientists, and data technicians.

"I'm pleased about the close relationships SDSC has built with many of our colleagues nationally, statewide and here at UC San Diego, and especially with the UCSD Libraries, national pioneers in digital data curation and stewardship," Berman said. "I'm especially proud to say that SDSC has some truly exciting programs on the immediate horizon, such as our new Triton Resource, an innovative computing, data analysis and storage system that will come online later this year and accelerate SDSC's contributions at the leading edge of research and education."

Berman is one of the two founding Principal Investigators of the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid project, the largest open scientific research infrastructure connecting 11 supercomputer centers across the nation. She also served as director of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), a consortium of more than 41 research groups, institutions, and university partners with the goal of building national infrastructure to support research and education in science and engineering.

About SDSC
As an organized research unit of UC San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center is a national leader in creating and providing cyberinfrastructure for data-intensive research. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible and integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC is a founding member of the national TeraGrid, the nation's largest open scientific discovery infrastructure.

Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications, 858 534-5111 or
Warren R. Froelich, SDSC Communications, 858 822-3622 or

Related Links

Rensselaer press release
San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC):
Fran Berman:
UC San Diego: