Stan Ahalt

Staff Title: Director
Phone: 919-445-9641
Area of Expertise: high performance computing, data intensive computing, data systems, signal processing, electrical and computer engineering

Stanley C. Ahalt, PhD

Stan Ahalt has been director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since September 2009. As such, he leads a team of research scientists, software and network engineers, data science specialists, and visualization experts who work closely with faculty research teams at UNC, Duke, NC State, and partners across the country. RENCI’s role is to provide enabling cyberinfrastructure to these research collaborations, which often means working on the challenges of data management, sharing, integration, and security.

Stan is also a professor in the UNC computer science department and directs the Biomedical Informatics Service of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), UNC’s CTSA award. In this role, he leverages the expertise and resources of RENCI to foster clinical and translational research across the UNC campus.

Dr. Ahalt’s primary foci in the last year has been on two major data science initiatives: The National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) and iRODS. The NCDS is a collaboration of leaders in academia, industry, and government formed to address the data challenges of the 21st century. It was founded as a mechanism to help the U.S. take advantage of the ever-increasing flow of digital data in ways that result in new jobs and industries, new advances in healthcare, transformative discoveries in science, and competitive advantages for U.S. industry.

iRODS is a RENCI-led effort to develop the popular integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (developed at UNC and UC San Diego) into enterprise-quality software, complete with rigorous testing and a robust, feature-rich code base. The iRODS Consortium brings together universities, research organizations, businesses, and government agencies to guide the continued development of iRODS, obtain funding to support that development, and broaden the iRODS user community.

Dr. Ahalt is also principal investigator for the Water Science Software Institute project, which seeks to build a cyberinfrastructure for managing, sharing, and using water science data.

Before coming to North Carolina, Dr. Ahalt was executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) from 2003 – 2009 and a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio State University for 22 years. He launched several model programs at OSC, including Blue Collar Computing, a national program to bring high performance computing to a wide spectrum of industries and applications, and OSCnet, a leading high-speed research network for K-12 schools, higher education, and economic development. He is a member of Microsoft’s Technical Computing Advisory Committee, a member of the Council on Competitiveness High Performance Computing Advisory Committee, and an extramural member of the National Cancer Institute’s Advanced Biomedical Computing Center Oversight Committee. He served as president of the Board of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation (2011 – 2012), and as Chair of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (2009 – 2010).

A native of Virginia, Dr. Ahalt holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Clemson University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.