Following a national search, Hongfeng Yu has been named director of the Holland Computing Center.
Yu, associate professor in the School of Computing, started his new position Aug. 15. His appointment follows two years as the center’s interim director.
The Holland Computing Center, the University of Nebraska’s high-performance computing core, is home to the fastest resources in the state. Its computing and cyberinfrastructure systems and services, located at the Schorr Center in Lincoln and the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha, are key to advancing education, research and discovery at NU.
The center is integral to some of the most visible research initiatives harnessing strengths from all four university campuses, including precision agriculture efforts in 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 aims of the 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, collaborate with campus entities and individual researchers, pursue federal and philanthropic funding opportunities, and represent the center on the regional, national and international stage. He’ll also create new collaborations across NU’s four campuses and ensure the center is equipped with the technical expertise necessary to help 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 positioned to lead the center,” said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “His leadership will be crucial as our researchers push the boundaries of discovery through cross-disciplinary work that requires, more than ever, the center’s advanced computing resources and capacity to process and store large data sets.”
Yu, who joined Nebraska in 2012, is an expert in big data analysis and visualization, high-performance computing, and user interfaces and interaction. His work has produced 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 laboratory has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy, among others. This includes a $476,952 award from NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, which supported Yu’s work to create software tools that expand network visualization capabilities.
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 researcher with 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 honor of Swanson. Swan provides cutting-edge resources at no cost to NU researchers, instructors and students.