Preston Smith

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Executive Director of Research Computing

YONG 918
(765) 49-49729

Prior to graduating from Purdue's Computer and Information Technology program in 1998, Preston joined the IT community at Purdue as a system administrator for the Purdue Libraries. After 5 years administering UNIX systems for the Department of Physics, Preston joined ITaP as a systems engineer for grid and distributed computing projects. 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.

After two years managing the R&D team for research computing, Preston moved from the systems side of the business to lead the customer-facing operation of Purdue's community cluster systems. In this role, Preston directs the engagement, support, and outreach to any researchers at the university who require high-performance computation or large-scale data storage. Since 2012, he has led numerous initiatives to empower researchers with tools to control their own computing resources.

Preston assumed the role of Executive Director for Research Computing at Purdue in September of 2019, and works closely with researchers and executive leadership at Purdue to provide the cyberinfrastructure to support discovery at Purdue.


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

Grants and Awards

  • 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 Insitute (LCI) Workshops
  • Program Committee, 2006 Open Science Grid All-Hands Meeting

Selected Publications

  • Mentoring Undergraduates into Cyber-Facilitator Roles. Harrell, S., Brazil, M., Younts, A., Dietz, D., Smith, P., Gough, E., Zhu, X., Andino, G. PEARC18: Proceedings of the Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing 2018 on Sustainability, Success and Impact, Pittsburgh, PA. July 22nd-26th, 2018. (doi)
  • Windows-based Workflows on Linux-based Beowulf Clusters. Grant, R., Smith, S., Harrell, S., Younts, A., Smith, P., PEARC18: Proceedings of the Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing 2018 on Sustainability, Success and Impact, Pittsburgh, PA. July 22nd-26th, 2018. (doi)
  • There and Back Again: A Case Study of Configuration Management of HPC (Preston M. Smith, Jason St. John, Stephen Lien Harrell) Proceedings of the HPC Systems Professionals Workshop (November 2017) Denver, CO
  • Data Storage and Sharing for the Long Tail of Science (Line C. Pouchard, Boyu Zhang, Preston M. Smith, Amandine Gasc, Bryan C. Pijanowski) New York Scientific Data Summit (NYSDS) (August 2016) New York, NY
  • Scholar: A Campus HPC Resource to Enable Computational Literacy. (Baldwin, M., Zhu, X. Smith, P., Harrell, S., Skeel, R., Maji, A.) EduHPC-16: Workshop on Education for High-Performance Computing, Salt Lake City, UT. November 14th, 2016. (doi)
  • Self-Service Queue and User Management in Community Clusters at Purdue University (Kevin D. Colby, Daniel T. Dietz, Preston M. Smith, and Donna D. Cumberland) First International Workshop on HPC Tools for User Support (November 2014) New Orleans, LA
  • A Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Campus Computing Grid (Preston M Smith, 2011).
  • Practical Considerations in Cloud Utilization for the Science Gateway (Lynn Zentner, Steven Clark, Preston Smith, Swaroop Shivarajapura, Victoria Farnsworth, Krishna Madhavan, G Klimeck) 4th IEEE International Conference On Utility And Cloud Computing (December, 2011), Melbourne, Australia
  • Cost-Effective HPC: The Community or the Cloud (Adam G. Carlyle, Stephen L. Harrell, and Preston M. Smith.) in the 2nd IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing Technology and Science (December, 2010), Indianapolis, IN
  • Implementing an industrial-grade campus cyberinfrastructure at Purdue University (Preston M. Smith, Thomas Hacker, Carol X. Song) The 2nd Workshop on Desktop Grids and Volunteer Computing Systems (PCGrid 2008), April 18, 2008, Miami, FL, USA
  • Undergraduate Experience in Clustering at the SC07 Cluster Challenge (Alexander Younts, Andrew Howard, Preston Smith, and Jeffrey Evans) The 2008 Linux Clusters Institute Conference, April 28, 2008, Urbana IL, USA
  • Bringing Disruptive Technology to Competition: Purdue and SiCortex (Alexander Younts, Andrew Howard, Preston Smith, Jeffrey Evans) The 2009 Linux Clusters Institute Conference, March 9, 2009, Boulder, CO, USA
  • Building a Network Simulation Model of the Teragrid Network (T. Hacker, P. Smith) TeraGrid 2008 Conference, Las Vegas, NV, (June 9-13, 2008)
  • Stochastic TCP: A Statistical Approach to Congestion Avoidance. (Hacker, T. and P. Smith.) in Sixth International Workshop on Protocols for FAST Long-Distance Networks (PFLDnet 2008). 2008. Manchester, UK.
  • Purdue Service Oriented Campus Grid Architecture (S. Goasguen, R. Kennell, W. Lin, S. Clark, T. Stef-Praun, C. Baumbauer, L. Zhao, T. Park, P. Smith, K. Madhavan)
  • Implementing a New Condor Architecture for Campus and National Grids at Purdue University (poster) Teragrid ’06, Indianapolis, IN (June 2006)
  • Implementation of a distributed rendering environment for the TeraGrid (Gooding, S.L. Arns, L. Smith, P. Tillotson, J.) 2006 IEEE Challenges of Large Applications in Distributed Environments (June 19, 2006)
  • SORCERESS: A Scalable, Extensible Real-Time Status Service for TeraGrid Condor Resources (U. Topkara, C. X. Song, S. P. Park, J. Woo, P. Smith), Proceedings of the 2007 Teragrid Conference, Madison, WI, June 4-8, 2007.


  • REED: from Service to Ecosystem, HPC Security and Compliance Workshop (PEARC18) (Presentation)
  • 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).

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