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10/8/14 - University to name major research facility for former president Portera

For the second consecutive weekend, Mississippi State is honoring a former president with the formal naming of a building.

At a 3 p.m. public program Friday [Oct. 10], the university will dedicate the Malcolm A. Portera High Performance Computing Center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park.



Malcolm Portera

A West Point native and MSU alumnus, Malcolm Portera served as the land-grant institution's 16th president from 1998-2001. As chief executive, he was a constant champion of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation that evolved into the High Performance Computing Collaboratory located in the facility that now bears his name.

In addition to Portera, dedication speakers will include current President Mark E. Keenum; David Shaw, MSU's vice president for research and economic development; and Trey Breckenridge, director of the Portera Center. A reception follows immediately at the location.

In an Oct. 3 ceremony, MSU honored Portera's successor with the dedication of the J. Charles Lee Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building.

Portera received an MSU bachelor's degree in general science in 1969 and a master's degree in political science in 1971. He also holds a doctorate from the University of Alabama, where he returned after leaving MSU to serve for a decade in Tuscaloosa as chancellor of the UA System.

While in Starkville, Portera worked to expand MSU's research and development capabilities and its role in economic development. During his administration, annual research expenditures grew from just over $100 million to $160 million, while enrollment and faculty salaries also increased substantially.

His widely recognized industrial development activities also contributed to billions of dollars in capital investment in Mississippi and Alabama, particularly related to the automotive and aerospace industries.

Portera is a former chair of the Council of Presidents of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, and was a member of the boards of the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Science and Technology Commission, Mississippi Technology Inc., and Regional Technology Strategies Inc. of Chapel Hill, N.C.

He also was a member of Japan's Foundation for Advanced Information and Research and co-founder of the International Business Advisory Board.

The center bearing his named represents a coalition of member centers and groups that seek to advance leading-edge computational science and engineering using innovative high-performance computing. Its supercomputing resources run a broad set of applications, including fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, materials modeling, astrophysics, molecular modeling, transportation modeling and planning, weather and ocean modeling, geographic information systems, genomics and bioinformatics.

The center's seven independent entities include the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Center for Battlefield Innovations; Center for Computational Sciences; Distributed Analytics and Security Institute; Geosystems Research Institute; Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology; and Northern Gulf Institute. For more information, visit www.hpc.msstate.edu.

For more information on the dedication ceremony, contact the Office of Research and Economic Development at 662-325-3570.

Mississippi State research is online at www.research.msstate.edu, facebook.com/MaroonResearch and twitter.com/MaroonResearch.

MSU is online at www.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.

Sammy McDavid | Public Affairs

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