After a nationwide search, Hongfeng Yu was appointed director of the Holland Computing Center.
Yu, an associate professor at the School of Computing, took up his new position on August 15. His appointment follows two years as interim director of the centre.
The Holland Computing Center, the University of Nebraska’s high-performance computing core, is home to the state’s fastest resources. Its computer and cyber infrastructure systems and services, located at the Schorr Center in Lincoln and the Peterkiekit Institute in Omaha, are key to advancing education, research and discovery NOW.
The center is an integral part of some of the most visible research initiatives that capitalize on the strengths of all four campuses, including the Precision Agriculture effort at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative, the National Strategic Research Institute and the Center for Brain, biology and behavior. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the center is expected to play a key role in facilitating Grand Challenges projects and progress toward the goals of N2025 strategic plan.
As director, Yu will shape the future of research computing for Nebraska. He will lead long-term strategic planning and investment in high-performance and high-throughput computing, work with campus facilities and individual researchers, pursue federal and philanthropic funding opportunities, and represent the center at regional, national, and international levels. He will also create new collaborations in all areas NOW‘s four campuses and ensure the center is equipped with the technical expertise needed to support researchers and staff.
“With his nationally recognized expertise in high-performance computing and deep understanding of the University of Nebraska’s diverse research priorities and strengths, Hongfeng is ideally placed to lead the center,” said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “His leadership will be crucial as our researchers push the frontiers of discovery through interdisciplinary work that demands more than ever the Center’s advanced computing resources and capacity to process and store large datasets.”
Yu, who joined Nebraska in 2012, is an expert in big data analytics and visualization, high-performance computing, and user interface and interaction. His work has yielded scalable algorithms and systems that have helped scientists across the country find accurate, efficient visualizations for applications in climate modeling, geophysical analysis, medical imaging, plant phenotyping, and more.
Yu’s lab was funded by the National Science Foundation US Among others, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Energy. This includes a bonus of US$476,952 NSF‘s Faculty Early Career Development Program, which supported Yu’s work developing software tools that expand network visualization skills.
Yu holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Zhejiang University in China and a doctorate from the University of California, Davis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Sandia National Laboratories.
Yu succeeds founding director David Swanson, who died in a car accident in 2019. In May, the center launched Swan, a new supercomputer named in Swanson’s honor. Swan provides cutting-edge resources for free NOW researchers, lecturers and students.