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Preston Smith

Preston M Smith's Profile Photo

Executive Director, Rosen Center for Advanced Computing

Since 2019, Preston Smith has served as executive director of Purdue's Rosen Center for Advanced Computing (RCAC).  Preston has worked in a variety of academic computing roles in 25 years at Purdue, starting his career in the Libraries, then becoming a UNIX system administrator in the Department of Physics right at the advent of Beowulf clusters and "the Grid". Preston joined RCAC as a systems engineer for grid and distributed computing projects, where he led the systems-facing activities for Purdue's systems on the NSF TeraGrid and XSEDE infrastructures, as well functioning as the "Chief Condor Evangelist" who managed one of the world's largest distributed computing environments, the Purdue Condor pool.

After two years managing the R&D team for the Rosen Center, Preston moved from the systems-facing side of the business to lead the researcher-facing operation of Purdue's community cluster systems. In this role, Preston directed the engagement, support, and outreach to researchers at the university who require high-performance computation or large-scale data storage. Under his leadership, the Rosen Center rolled out a number of initiatives to empower researchers with tools to control their own computing resources, and grew the community cluster program to increasingly greater scale and impact.

Today, Preston's academic interest include the support of controlled research, developing the workforce in research computing and data, and studying ROI in research computing.

In 2011, Preston completed a Master's degree from the College of Technology, researching a model for quantifying the costs of a distributed computing system, and in 2022 earned his doctorate creating a statistical model for quantifying the impact of HPC investment on outputs at the institutional level.


  • Ph.D., Technology, Purdue University (2022)
  • M.S., Technology, Purdue University (2011).
  • B.S., Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University (1998).

Grants and Awards

  • NSF SCIPE: CyberInfrastructure Professionals InnoVating and brOadening the adoption of advanced Technologies (CI PIVOT) (Award #2321090), (Co-PI, $3,749,415.00  9/2023 – 8/2028)
  • Microsoft Corporation - Best practices for hybrid cloud/HPC ecosystems in academic cyberinfrastructure, (PI, $150,000)
  • NSF Category I: Anvil - A National Composable Advanced Computational Resource for the Future of Science and Engineering (Award # 2005632), (Co-PI, $29,426,683.00 (to date), 7/2020 – 6/2027)
  • NSF Building the research innovation workforce: a workshop to identify new insights and directions to advance the research innovation workforce (Award # 2036534), (Co-PI, $163,960, 7/2020 – 6/2022)
  • NSF CC* Compute: Private Campus Cloud for Data Analytics and Machine Learning (Award #2018926) (PI, $392,205, 7/2020 – 6/2022)
  • NSF CC* Networking Infrastructure: Integrating Big Data Instrumentation into Campus Cyberinfrastructure (Award #1827184) (Co-PI, $323,327, 7/2018 – 6/2020)
  • NSF CICI RDP: Supporting Controlled Unclassified Information with a Campus Awareness and Risk Management Framework (Award #1840043) (Co-PI, $598,373, 9/2018 - 8/2020)


  • Primary staff advisor for the SC07, SC08, and SC09 student cluster competition teams.
  • Program Committee, 2014 and 2015 Linux Clusters Institute (LCI) Workshops
  • Program Committee, 2006 Open Science Grid All-Hands Meeting

Selected Publications

View Preston's publications on Google Scholar.


  • REED: from Service to Ecosystem, HPC Security and Compliance Workshop (PEARC18)
  • Research Data Depot - Data Services at Purdue, HTCondor Week 2016 (May 18 2016) (Presentation)
  • Big Data Building Blocks, Purdue Big Data Seminar Series (Spring 2016) (Presentation)
  • HPC Allocation Models, Linux Clusters Institute Workshop (August 2014) (Presentation)
  • Panel: Condo-Style HPC business models, ARCC 2014 (February 2014)
  • Condor Week 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Keynote: Moab Con 2012 (Video)
  • Tutorial: Using Condor Teragrid ’07, Madison, WI
  • Purdue Campus Grid GGF15 Grids On Campus Workshop, Boston, MA (October 2, 2005)
  • Community Clusters Tips and Tricks. Gorenstein L, Kelley S, Smith P, Purdue University (2014).

Other Activities and Fun Facts