A major step forward for research computing and data at MIT

May 5, 2022
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research |

Dear Colleagues,

For several years, MIT has been actively exploring how best to meet the growing and changing needs of MIT researchers for advanced research computing and data management. Today, I am thrilled to share the news that the Institute is poised to take a major step forward in this area: This September, MIT will launch the Office of Research Computing and Data (ORCD), with a goal of ensuring that all researchers have access to the computing and data resources and services they need to do their best work.

Professor Peter Fisher has agreed to step down from his role as head of the Physics Department to serve as the inaugural director of ORCD, reporting to me. Peter will make an extraordinary leader for this vital effort. His longstanding commitment to Institute service has allowed him to connect with colleagues across the Institute, earning him a reputation for thoughtfulness and inclusive decision making. His experience with research computing both in his own research and within the Physics Department will serve him well in understanding the varied research computing and data needs of labs and departments, and how best to support them. I am grateful to him for stepping up to the task.

You can read more about the new office and the capabilities it will bring on MIT News.

A major new effort like this cannot happen without the advice, expertise, and hard work of many dedicated colleagues. Many thanks go to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Research Computing: Cindy Barnhart, Anantha Chandrakasan, Robin Elices, Dan Huttenlocher, Nergis Mavalvala, Glen Shor, Mark Silis, Krystyn Van Vliet, and before his departure from MIT, Marty Schmidt.

I’d also like to thank the Working Group on Computing Infrastructure, convened in 2018–19 in connection with the establishment of the Schwarzman College of Computing, for helping to highlight this issue; the Committee on Research Computing and the IT Governance Committee; and Chris Hill for his tireless work on the Research Computing Project.

Please join me in congratulating Peter on his new assignment and in looking forward to the work of the ORCD.


Maria T. Zuber
Vice President for Research