Meet the Service Owner: Liam Greenwood
Title: IT Manager of Advanced Computing Infrastructure for ITS Research Computing
After eight years of working for ITS Infrastructure & Operations, Greenwood left the division in January to take on a new role within ITS. He is now responsible for the operational side of Research Computing. This includes running the infrastructure for the compute clusters, the Secure Workstation Environment and the Virtual Computing Lab as well as a number of other smaller systems aimed at delivering various computing needs to researchers across campus.
Why did you transfer?
I was excited by the opportunity to both get closer to delivering services to directly support the academic mission of the University and also the opportunity to work with massively parallel computing aka “super-computing.” It’s a type of “big iron” that I haven’t had an opportunity to work with before.
What’s been the biggest surprise about working in Research Computing?
It’s been too busy to be surprising; alternatively every day is still surprising. It’s a lot to learn, and I’m still running to catch up.
How is working in Research Computing different?
It’s different in the scale of some of the offerings – both dealing with thousands of CPUs and petabytes of data on one hand, and delivering services to individuals across campus rather than systems targeting large communities of users. The other major difference is users on boxes. Most interactions with systems these days are users connecting to a web service (e.g. ConnectCarolina). Research Computing provides systems that users log onto directly to build and run ad-hoc code.
How are the challenges similar for Research Computing offerings?
How to identify processes that are repeatable and productionize them and how to get more efficient at ad-hoc requests and security, security, security.
What’s been key to a successful transition for you?
The key to my transition was my two great managers. My previous manager, Tim McGuire, who worked with Mike and myself to enable an easy transition, and my new manager, Mike Barker, who has been very supportive as I’ve scrambled to make sense of what Research Computing needs.