RENCI adds disaster mitigation, networking experts

A scientist with expertise in environmental issues and disaster mitigation and response and a senior network engineer are the newest additions to the senior staff at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), a multidisciplinary institute affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke and North Carolina State universities.

Kenneth J. Galluppi will lead RENCI efforts to utilize advanced technologies in planning for, mitigating, and recovering from natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes and their aftermath. He will work with university, business, and community groups to integrate high-end technology tools into development and emergency plans. These tools could include visualization for predictive and real-time models of environmental conditions, data mining algorithms for analyzing evacuation and rescue routes, and high-end computers for calculating changing conditions in near real time.

Galluppi was senior scientist and program manager at the UNC-Chapel Hill Carolina Environmental Program, where he identified environmental issues requiring multidisciplinary research and brought together project teams to address those issues. He was co-PI of the environmental program’s Carolina Environmental Bioinformatics Research Center, where he applied computational infrastructure and modeling approaches to a wide range of bioinformatics problems and managed multidisciplinary outreach and translation activities. Galluppi spent two years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Exposure Research Laboratory and six years at the North Carolina Supercomputing Center as co-director, director of scientific and environmental programs and as a program manager. Galluppi also has been a consultant on air quality model evaluation, risk assessment and regulatory compliance and was a model and system developer for Computer Science Corporation. He has a master’s degree in meteorology and served as an officer and environmental analyst with the U.S. Air Force.

Chris Heermann comes to RENCI from Internet2, where he spent four years as a networking engineer for the Abilene national research and education network. Heermann’s duties included planning, designing and testing network initiatives, working with network operations, testing and evaluation centers, and collaborating with Internet2 members, corporate partners and network participants. He initiated and developed the Collaborative Wireless Infrastructure Initiative, a program that coordinates wireless access from the network infrastructure to the last mile, including remote sensor network deployments. He is a member of the design team for the Hybrid Optical Packet Infrastructure (HOPI), a national test bed that examines new network architectures capable of delivering next-generation services. With over 18 years of experience, Heermann has worked in both R&E and the commercial sector.

At RENCI, Heermann will lead efforts to improve connectivity among North Carolina universities, communities and industries in order to enable research, education and economic development. He also will work with scientists who use RENCI resources to ensure they have the bandwidth needed to use remote computing resources and applications.

“With the addition of Ken and Chris, RENCI has taken a giant step forward in reaching out to all the audiences we aim to serve,” said RENCI Director Dan Reed. “Technology and technical expertise are as crucial to disaster mitigation and recovery as they are to research and economic development. And stable, high-speed network connectivity is the glue that binds together the technologies and the people who use them.”