Release Date: February 25, 2019
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Longtime University at Buffalo faculty member and researcher Abani Patra has been named director of the university’s Center for Computational Research (CCR).
The appointment was announced by Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development at UB. Patra will replace Thomas Furlani, who is now chief information officer at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Patra has been a member of UB’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering since 1996.
He is the founding director of UB’s PhD program in Computational & Data Enabled Sciences and Engineering (CDESE). In addition to having served as an adjunct faculty member in mathematics and geology, he has held appointments at the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation (NSF) managing computing and cyberinfrastructure related research programs.
“Abani is a prolific researcher whose work spans an incredible variety of subjects, everything from computational and applied mathematics to high-performance supercomputing and its applications in geosciences, health care, advanced manufacturing and other sectors,” Govindaraju says.
Founded in 1998, the Center for Computational Research is the most powerful supercomputing facility in the Buffalo Niagara region, and one of the most powerful university-based supercomputing facilities in the nation.
It has over a petaflop of peak performance computing capacity, and 3 petabytes of high-performance storage. The center’s extensive computing facilities are housed in a state-of-the-art, 4,000 square foot machine room in UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in downtown Buffalo. CCR is also a part of NSF’s XSEDE supercomputer network.
CCR’s mission is to enable research and scholarship at UB by providing faculty with access to high-performance computing, data and visualization resources. Its staff of more than 20 employees provides a range of guidance and services to facilitate faculty-led research including software development, data analytics and parallel computing.
In addition, CCR fosters economic development and job creation in Western New York and New York State by providing local industry with access to advanced computing and data resources, including hardware, software and consulting services. It also provides education, outreach and training.
“The data analysis and computing capabilities of Center for Computational Research are a great competitive advantage for UB researchers from across the university looking to solve some of society’s most pressing matters,” Patra says. “I’m looking forward to leading CCR’s talented staff and finding new ways to help Buffalo’s new and existing companies grow their businesses and strengthen the region’s economy and reputation for innovation.”
Patra is an expert in computational mechanics, a discipline of research that involves using computational methods and devices to characterize, predict and simulate physical events and engineering systems governed by the laws of mechanics. Examples include the crash worthiness of vehicles and landslides or volcanic avalanches.
Patra’s work also focuses in the areas of solution adaptive finite element methods, parallel and high-performance computing and applications to geophysical systems. His work with geologists at UB has created several tools that are used by thousands of researchers around the world.
He received a PhD in computational and applied mathematics from the University of Texas-Austin.