Mel Bernstein elected president of MGHPCC


read this story at news@Northeastern

Mel Bern­stein, Northeastern’s senior vice provost for research and grad­uate edu­ca­tion, has been unan­i­mously elected pres­i­dent of the Mass­a­chu­setts Green High Per­for­mance Com­puting Center, a state-​​of-​​the-​​art com­pu­ta­tional infra­struc­ture and col­lab­o­ra­tive research center in Holyoke, Mass., and chair­person of MGHPCC Holyoke Inc., its non­profit affil­iate. He will suc­ceed Tom Chmura in the position.


Mel Bernstein - Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.
Mel Bernstein – Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

In the last 18 months, the MGHPCC has gone from vision to reality. Offi­cially opening its doors in November 2012, the center is an unprece­dented example of col­lab­o­ra­tion between pri­vate industry, state gov­ern­ment, and five of the commonwealth’s leading research institutions.

North­eastern, Boston Uni­ver­sity, Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nology, and the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts have each con­tributed $10 mil­lion to sup­port con­struc­tion of the facility, which is the first of its kind in the nation. The part­ner­ship also includes Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Deval Patrick’s office, Cisco Sys­tems, and EMC Corp., a Hopkinton-​​based data-​​storage com­pany founded by North­eastern engi­neering alumni.

“Now, the ques­tion is how do we move for­ward to max­i­mize both the ben­e­fits of the facility and the col­lab­o­ra­tive spirit that has been devel­oped in building it,” Bern­stein said.

In recent months, MGHPCC has secured external funding from a variety of sources, including fed­eral research and edu­ca­tion grants and a $4.5 mil­lion grant from the Mass­a­chu­setts Life Sci­ences Center. Bern­stein is opti­mistic that by con­tin­uing to encourage col­lab­o­ra­tion among the center’s part­ners, it will become an even more com­pet­i­tive facility in its bid for major research funding.

Already, researchers from across the uni­ver­si­ties have entered into a number of col­lab­o­ra­tive research projects with seed funding from the facility. These are proof-​​of-​​concept projects, laying the foun­da­tion for larger-​​scale work once the MGHPCC is fully oper­a­tional, which Bern­stein expects will happen over the next six months.

“The uni­ver­sity is thrilled that this invest­ment has borne so much suc­cess already,” said provost Stephen W. Director. “It is par­tic­u­larly impor­tant that Mel is now in a posi­tion to carry the vision to the next level of research collaboration.”

Bern­stein, who also serves as pro­fessor of the prac­tice in tech­nology policy and mate­rials engi­neering, earned his doc­torate in met­al­lurgy and mate­rial sci­ence from Columbia Uni­ver­sity. Before joining North­eastern, he held fac­ulty and senior admin­is­tra­tive posi­tions at Carnegie Mellon Uni­ver­sity, Tufts Uni­ver­sity, and the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land. In 2003, Bern­stein cre­ated the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Office of Uni­ver­sity Pro­grams and served as its director for three years.

“My respon­si­bility at the uni­ver­sity is to build our research base, and part of that has to be to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with other uni­ver­si­ties both in the com­mon­wealth, and across the nation” Bern­stein said. “I plan to use the lessons gained through my work in Wash­ington and else­where to make MGHPCC an even greater success.”