An aerial view of the Shelby quad on UA's campus

Alabama Cyber Institute Gets Renewed Vision Under New Executive Director

The Alabama Cyber Institute at The University of Alabama has reemerged under new leadership and strategic vision and is positioned to be a leader in computationally focused research.

ACI aims to advance computational research and empower UA faculty-led research that supports the University’s key research institutes in water, transportation, life research and materials, with plans to expand into new focus areas in the future.

The recent investment in the High Performance Computing and Data Center provides the infrastructure and instrumentation to facilitate the ACI mission. The HPC center will be housed in ACI, coalescing faculty and students around cutting-edge computation-related research. UA’s Office of Research and Economic Development and Office of Information Technology will collaborate with ACI on the development, implementation and management of the HPC center.

Dr. Allen Parrish, who recently served as interim vice president for research and economic development, has been named the executive director of ACI. While serving as interim vice president, Parrish provided valuable insight on developing a sustainable financial model for the HPC center.  

Parrish is a professor of computer science and workforce development senior adviser for the Alabama Transportation Institute, where he previously served as executive director.

He served as chair of the department of cyber science at the United States Naval Academy from 2016 to 2018 and has a significant portfolio in cybersecurity education and a variety of areas of applied computer science.

“The appointment of Dr. Parrish as the leader of ACI signals the University’s continued commitment to providing world-class facilities and the infrastructure needed to address societal grand challenges through high-level education and to train the next-generation workforce in this crucial area of national need,” said Dr. Bryan W. Boudouris, vice president for research and economic development. “Dr. Parrish’s leadership experience and his domain expertise position him well to rapidly advance the mission of ACI.”

Under Parrish’s leadership, the Alabama Cyber Institute will focus on computation as a research, workforce and economic development catalyst, and supporting research in innovative areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data science and quantum computing.

“The development of a transformational high-performance computing facility as part of ACI marks a significant step forward,” Parrish said. “It will be transformative in convening companies with UA professors and students, facilitating joint efforts on computational projects and applied research important for our state and nation’s future.”

Parrish’s appointment was effective April 1.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.