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Pitt’s Space Hub “SHREC” Welcomes New Associate Director Alex Jones

Alex K. JonesPITTSBURGH (November 13, 2017) … Preparing to increase its research impact at the University of Pittsburgh, leadership at the new National Science Foundation (NSF)Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) announced Alex Jones will be its new Associate Director. Dr. Jones will leave his current role as Director of Computer Engineering in Pitt’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), which he has led since 2009.

“Under Alex’s leadership, the Computer Engineering Program grew by approximately 100 percent. He advised and mentored countless students, while keeping the program on track amidst a period of rapid and significant change in the field of computing,” said Alan George, ECE Department Chair and Mickle Chair Professor of ECE at Pitt and Director of SHREC.  “His success therefore will translate well as we ramp up efforts to recruit more students, university partners, and industry partners and create more opportunities for SHREC to expand and excel.”

SHREC celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 18 at its facility on Pitt’s Oakland campus. SHREC’s main research focus is “mission-critical computing,” which includes space computing, high-performance computing and data analytics, and resilient computing to ensure computer dependability in harsh environments like space. The SHREC researchers currently operate two experimental space processors deployed on the NASA International Space Station and will add six more in early 2019. 

 “I am very pleased that the Computer Engineering Program is in a great place and is poised to continue this success,” said Dr. Jones. “I’m honored that Alan selected me to help lead SHREC’s new growth in Pittsburgh and help to establish the region as a new epicenter for space, high-performance, and resilient computing.”

Associate Director Sam Dickerson and Administrator Andrea Aliquo-Valera will continue as part of the Computer Engineering Program’s leadership.

“After having worked closely with Andrea from the very beginning of her time at Pitt, I believe she has become a truly great resource for our students and will continue to be a huge boon for the program as its administrator,” Dr. Jones said. “I know that Sam has already started implementing several great ideas that will also be valuable for the program including renovation of senior design and the addition of more and varied electives from the electrical and computer engineering department that will excite our students.”

Dr. Jones began his service to the Computer Engineering Program in 2009 after the retirement of Ron Hoelzeman. During an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) review, he was named the Interim Director in 2011 and was officially named Director in 2013. Dr. Jones successfully led the program through two ABET reviews.

Dr. Jones earned his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Northwestern University in 2002 where he developed the PACT compiler for low-power hardware generation from software codes. He received his master of science degree with research in parallel FPGA design from Northwestern University in 2000 and his bachelor of science degree in physics with honors from the College of William of Mary in 1998. Dr. Jones is a Sustainability Faculty Fellow and also received a Carnegie Science Award for his research activities this year.


Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Contact: Paul Kovach