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Dr. Amy Apon joins the School of Computing as Chair of the Computer Science Division

August 2011

Amy AponDr. Amy Apon joined Clemson University in August, 2011, as Chair of the Division of Computer Science.  Apon brings a distinguished record of contributions at the University of Arkansas where she held the position of Director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center and Professor of Computer Science.  Apon was awarded the University of Arkansas Alumni award for Service in 2010, the highest award given by the University of Arkansas Alumni Association each year, and was awarded the Arkansas College of Engineering Imhoff Award for contributions to research in 2009.

Prior to 2004, scientific computation at the University of Arkansas was primarily conducted in individual researcher’s labs.  In 2004, 2007, and 2010, Apon led the efforts to win multiple Major Research Instrumentation awards from the National Science foundation that acquired the first, second, and only supercomputers in Arkansas, as listed by the Top 500 Supercomputer Sites.  In 2009, Apon led the effort to win an Academic Research Infrastructure grant from the National Science Foundation to significantly upgrade the power and chilling infrastructure of the campus data center and to establish a new campus research network.  University infrastructure for research computing was significantly enhanced as a result of these grants. 

In 2007, Dr. Apon initiated and led the effort to bring a high profile team of experts in high performance computing to the State of Arkansas.  Dr. Apon coordinated the External Advisory Committee visit with leaders across the state from all major university campuses, state government offices, major companies, and many private and public partners.  Dr. Apon presented the recommendations of the External Advisory Committee to Governor Beebe and major Arkansas committees and boards, and to the executive committees at several institutions of higher education in the state of Arkansas.

As a result of these efforts, the Arkansas Cyberinfrastructure Initiative was funded by Governor Beebe of Arkansas through the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority in May, 2008. Through Dr. Apon’s leadership, a State Cyberinfrastructure plan was developed during fall, 2008, with participants from the research institutions in the state of Arkansas, and private and public partners.  Two bills were passed in the 2009 Arkansas General Assembly (HB 1615, and HB 2011) in support of cyberinfrastructure for the state of Arkansas.

The Arkansas High Performance Computing Center was formally established in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Apon with the approval of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees.  Dr. Apon’s leadership in high performance computing and cyberinfrastructure is recognized at the highest national levels.  Dr. Apon was elected to be Vice Chair of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) for 2009 and 2010, and was elected to be Chair of CASC in 2011.  CASC is a national organization with more than 60 member organizations representing the nation’s most forward thinking universities and computing centers.  

In 2009, Apon led the Arkansas NSF EPSCoR Track-2 award, “Cyberinfrastructure for Transformative Science in Arkansas and West Virginia” with complementary funding from the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.  These awards provide cyberinfrastructure resources in support of research in computing sciences, geosciences, and computational science to more than 10 institutions across three states.  Dr. Apon is the PI on other awards from the National Science Foundation, and is the author of over 70 scholarly publications.  

From 2007-2011, through the leadership of Dr. Apon, the University of Arkansas collaborated with Louisiana State University to explore new course delivery methods of the material using streaming high-definition TV over the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (AREON) and using the Access Grid facilities in the University of Arkansas Library.  The start of the 2007 spring course was a catalyst for the deployment of ARE-ON by the deadline of December, 2006, and was the first full-scale production demonstration of the network.  Apon has developed multiple original courses in Cluster Computing and Grid Computing, Capacity Planning, High Performance Storage, and other areas, and several conference and journal publications on these courses, including two publications in IEEE Transactions on Education (2001 and 2007). 

In 2004, Dr. Apon was the PI on “Building the Regional Middleware Infrastructure across the Great Plains” to develop a region-wide collaboration environment through the development of middleware services that bridges the geographical boundaries among member institutions.  A test bed was completed in 2005 using Shibboleth with about eight participating institutions.   Dr. Apon was key in the establishment of GPNGrid, a virtual organization within the Open Science Grid.

Amy Apon holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University, M.A. in Mathematics, M.S. in Computer Science, and B.S.Ed. in Mathematics Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Apon has held faculty positions at the University of Arkansas, Fisk University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Belmont University, and East Central University.