Meet the CAC Team

The Centre for Advanced Computing Support Team

Mailing address:
Centre for Advanced Computing
Queen’s University
99 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6

Phone: (613) 533-2561
Fax: (613) 533-2015

Ticket system: cac.help@queensu.ca
General administration: cac.admin@queensu.ca

Operational and Administrative Support

The Centre for Advanced Computing support team members ensure the smooth operation of our organization and interface with universities and industry. They can make suggestions on how our resources fit in with your research or your organizational objectives.


Don Aldridge

Don Aldridge

Executive Director

don.aldridge@queensu.ca
Cell: (613) 876-1070

Don joined Queen’s University on July 1st, 2015, reporting to the Vice Principal (Research) – he has responsibility for advanced research computing across the university, including the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC). His primary mission is to help the Queen’s research community adopt leading edge information technology.

Prior to joining Queen’s Don had a 30+ year career with IBM Canada culminating as the Research Executive for Canada. During his time at IBM he held a wide range of technical, sales and management positions. The majority of his career has been spent working closely with the higher education research community, various funding agencies and all levels of government. In the early 1990’s he introduced the highly successful “IBM ThinkPad University” student mobile computing program in Canada. In 2003 he established IBM’s Life Sciences unit in Canada as part of a global effort, working with medical researchers in universities and research hospitals across the country.

In April of 2012 Don was instrumental in launching the IBM Canada Research & Development Centre. This R&D Centre is unique in the IBM family of Research sites in that most of the research staff members are located on university campuses working collaboratively with university research personnel. In parallel with the creation of the Centre he was a driving force behind establishing the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) – a consortium consisting initially of seven leading research universities and IBM. Today SOSCIP boasts an impressive collection of advanced research computing platforms, including the largest supercomputer in Canada, and has a membership of 14 universities and colleges.

Don received a BSc (Mechanical Engineering) from Queen’s University in 1982, and an MBA, also from Queen’s, in 1984. Married for 34 years, he is the father of three children in their twenties.


Dr. Ken Edgecombe

Dr. Ken Edgecombe

Chief Technology Officer

ken.edgecombe@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78257
Cell: (613) 484-9956

Dr. Edgecombe holds a Masters and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from Dalhousie University. His research interests have ranged from drug design, protein structure, and solid state calculations to the application of topology to chemical systems (and other areas) and the understanding of basic atomic and molecular structure. He is an inventor with 2 patents and an author of 24 refereed publications, two of which are widely used in textbooks to illustrate concepts and another cited over 2100 times in refereed publications.

After holding teaching and research positions at Queen’s University from 1988 to 1995, he joined IBM North America as the Program Manager of High Performance Computing (HPC) in the Scientific and Technical Systems and Solutions group. Since 1997 he has helped build the Centre for Advanced Computing (formerly HPCVL) into a $200M innovative research environment. HPCVL was selected by Backbone magazine in March 2013 as one of the “Best 10 Research Facilities” in Canada.

His current interests include extending what is called the computing “cloud” to research needing secure High Performance Research Computing, long-term and archival storage and access to digital research data. He has served on numerous committees including the National Initiatives Committee of Compute Canada and the Ontario HPC Council. In 2009 he served as Conference Chair for the High Performance Computing Symposium 2009 and in 2010 he was named the Carl C. Coffin Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University. In 2013 and 2014, he also organized and chaired the symposium Complex Data and Analytics in Medical Research. He is currently a member of the Board of Indoc Research and a part of the Indoc Consortium management team, who are responsible for developing Brain-CODE.

Certifications:

M.Sc. Theoretical Chemistry
Ph.D. Theoretical Chemistry


Chris MacPhee

Chris MacPhee

Manager, Systems Operations

chris.macphee@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x78375
Cell: (613) 539-8155

Chris joined the Centre for Advanced Computing in 2005, and leads and coordinates internal and external user support, systems, and security team members to provide business-class services and support to Canada-wide researchers, projects, and partners. He is responsible for the design, implementation, and management of best-of-breed infrastructure for CAC’s general research environment and dedicated environments for various hosted partners.

Prior to this, Chris provided support as a Systems Engineer and as a Technical Analyst for the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. While at UNB, he designed and managed the operation of the largest publicly accessible high performance computing resource in Atlantic Canada and wrote successful funding applications and status reports for various government agencies. Chris received a MCS and BCS from the University of New Brunswick in 2005 and 2001, respectively.

Certifications:

Master’s of Computer Science


Ashley Wightman

Ashley Wightman

Departmental Administrator

ashley.wightman@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x32561

Ashley Wightman received a B.A. from York University in 2002, and worked as bilingual customer service in Toronto. After relocating to Kingston in 2005, she joined Educational Testing Services (ETS) Canada as Project Coordinator, working with EQAO to organize conferences and develop standardized tests in Ontario. Ashley has been with CAC since August 2007, and successfully provides user and administrative support on various tasks, such as maintaining databases, financial reporting, events, and special projects. She liaises as needed with faculty, students, and consortia institutions to manage all office related issues.

Certifications:

Master’s of Education
Administrative Professionals at Queen’s Master Certificate (in progress)

 


Research and Computational Support

The Centre for Advanced Computing support team members can provide you with support throughout the computing process, including helping you port codes and gain access to hardware and software. Additionally, our team has research methodology expertise to provide you with implementation ideas. Training workshops are also available to help you make the most of your time in the lab.


Dr. Nabil Benabbou

Scientific Computing Specialist

benabbou@uottawa.ca
(613) 562-5800 x6937

Dr. Benabbou holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Paris VI and the University of Caen Normandy, France. Previously, he worked as a Research Associate at the University of Toronto. Dr. Benabbou’s research interests include Parallel Programming, Stochastic Systems and Stochastic Finite Elements Analysis, Coupled Systems, and Domain Decomposition Methods. He provides a wide range of support for CAC users, including parallel implementation, application porting assistance and the optimization of codes.

Certifications:
Ph.D. Applied Mathematics
Shell Programming for System Administrators
Perl Programming


Costa Dafnas

Costa Dafnas

Manager, Security

Costa is a Queen’s University graduate, and possesses over 12 years’ experience in information security and network management. He has worked for CAC since 2004, with a focus on providing services for our user clientele including groups such as Indoc Research, the Ontario Brain Institute, and CPCSSN.

Certifications:

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Entrust Security Manager
WatchGuard Technologies Certificate
Cisco CCNA
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
Project Management, Schulich School of Business, York University


Michael Hanlan

Michael Hanlan

User Support Specialist

michael.hanlan@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78263
Cell: (613) 561-4575

Michael Hanlan joined CAC in 2001. He graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer Science, and has over 15 years’ experience maintaining the software and hardware in various UNIX environments.

Certifications:
B.A. Queen’s University in Economics and Computer Science


Dr. Hartmut Schmider

Dr. Hartmut Schmider

Manager, Scientific Computing Support

hartmut.schmider@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78252

Dr. Schmider joined CAC in early 2001 as the first member of our scientific and computational support staff. He helps our researchers improve, install and run their codes on CAC facilities, and supports their efforts to parallelize their programs.

He has organized and conducted workshops and lectures on HPC and other computing-related topics. He’s involved in the organization of the annual Ontario HPC Summer School. He also is an accredited “Software Carpentry” instructor, and maintains the CAC Support Wiki.

Dr. Schmider received his Undergraduate Degree in Chemistry from the University of Konstanz (Germany), and holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Queen’s University. His specialization is in Theoretical Chemistry, specifically Quantum Chemistry, Electronic Structure in Phase Space, and Density Functional Theory. He has worked as a Research Associate at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby, and at Queen’s University. More recently, his interests have shifted to Theoretical Physics and the Philosophy of Science.

Certifications:

Ph.D. Chemistry
Software Carpentry Certified Instructor


Dr. Gang Liu

Dr. Gang Liu

Scientific Computing Specialist

gang.liu@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78387

Dr. Gang Liu holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Jilin University, China, followed by research work in both Theoretical Physics and Theoretical Chemistry as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Harvard University, and California State University Northridge. He helped develop the MPI course, Working Template, and Double-layer Master-Slave Model programming tools.

His primary research projects include a new molecular dynamics scheme for crystal structures under pressure, parallelization of FLAPW (one form of density functional theory) with MPI, algorithm improvement for the dimensional perturbation theory, as well as years of other programming and calculation. Dr. Liu has extended the above molecular dynamics work into dynamical equations of the period vectors in crystals under arbitrary external forces.

Certifications:

Ph.D. Theoretical Physics


Jeff Stafford

Jeff Stafford

Scientific Computing Specialist

jeff.stafford@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x74392

Jeff joined CAC’s user support staff in early 2016, and specializes in assisting users with bioinformatics and related HPC applications. He holds a M.Sc. in Zoology and a B.Sc. in Cell Biology and Genetics from the University of British Columbia, and has extensive experience using programming to solve otherwise biologically or statistically intractable problems. Jeff is particularly interested in genomics and image analysis applications, and enjoys teaching both entry-level and advanced programming to scientists whenever he gets the chance!

Certifications:

M.Sc. Zoology
Software Carpentry Certified Instructor


Technical and Hardware Support

The Centre for Advanced Computing support team members can address technical issues that you may encounter, and help you with the installation of software and licenses. They keep our hardware, webpage and databases running and ensure the continued integrity and safety of your data.


Jim Estes

Jim Estes

Systems Engineer

jim.estes@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x79045
Cell: (613) 539-5199

Jim Estes holds a Bachelor of Science in Data Processing from the University on New England and an Associate Degree in Machine Tool Technology from the Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute. He also completed a B.Sc. in Political Science at Truman State University in Missouri. Before joining CAC, Jim worked in private industry including 20 years at Fairchild Semiconductor. He has over 30 years’ systems administration experience, and has been a course instructor in UNIX and UNIX systems administration at the University of New England between 1999 and 2002. He has expertise in Linux and UNIX operating systems including Solaris.

Certifications:

UNIX Instructor


Lucas Lapczyk

Lucas Lapczyk

Security Engineer

lucas.lapczyk@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x75249

Lucas graduated in 2014 from the London School of Economics external program with Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Information Systems and Management. After graduation, he completed a Diploma for Graduates in Social Sciences at the same institution. Lucas is passionate about technology, and is certified in Information Technology since 2007. He competed in Imagine Cup IT CHALLENGE 2010 competition and he took first place in Canada (second in North America and ninth worldwide). He became a worldwide semi-finalist in 2011 edition of Imagine Cup IT CHALLENGE.

Certifications:

2007: Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
2008: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: MCTS
2008: Microsoft Certified IT Professional: MCITP
2009: Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)
2009: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
2009: MCSA + Security
2009: MCSE + Security
2009: MCTS: Windows Server, Virtualization
2009: MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
2009: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
2012: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Server 2008
2013: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Server 2012
2013: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Infrastructure
2016: Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator (RHCSA)


Shelley Zhou

Shelley Zhou

Systems Engineer

shelley.zhou@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x74028

Shelley received a MASc in Systems Design Engineering from University of Waterloo in 2004, followed by working as an IT professional in both Aurillion Micro Systems and Diebold Canada. Her experiences include software and DB systems development and administration, PHI and DB systems security, systems administration (Windows, UNIX/Linux), and product support (24/7) in healthcare, supply chain, and financial industries. She has been with CAC since July 2014 and worked on systems administration and software application configuration and enhancements such as BigBlueButton, Jitsi Meet, and Cloudera CDH.

Certifications:
M.Sc. Systems Design Engineering
Oracle Solaris 10 System Administrator
Oracle Database 11g: Administration
Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals
Oracle VM Server for x86 Administration
Oracle VM Server for x86 Implementation
Oracle Database SQL Expert

MCSA: Windows Server 2012
MCSA: SQL Server 2012
MCSE: Data Platform
MCSE: SQL Business Intelligence
MCSE: Server Infrastructure

MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance
MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance
MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Windows Applications
MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications
MCTS: Windows Server 2012 Network Infrastructure, Configuration

OpenStack Essentials

PHIA Training (Personal Health Information Act Training)
Data Security Standard training
IBM Spectrum Scale Basic Administration for Linux


Cognitive Analytics Development Hub

The Centre for Advanced Computing has set up a partnership with IBM to build capacity in Watson development.


Hung Tam

Hung Tam

Cognitive Analytics Developer

yht1@queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x74359

Tam joined the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC) in 2017. He received his PhD and MSc in Computing from Queen’s University. He also holds diplomas in Marketing, Production and Industrial Engineering from the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, respectively. His research areas and interests include: big data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, radio resource management in multi-hop cellular networks, computer networks, mobile networks, modeling, and optimization. He has nine refereed publications and was a best paper recipient at IEEE GLOBECOM 2007.

Prior to joining CAC, Tam was a software developer for a research project at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s. The project involved monitoring employee’s computer-related electricity usage and providing feedback to them. For this project, Tam developed a system consisting of power metering hardware and software, a database, and a smart phone application. In addition, he has worked in Toronto as a computer engineer performing testing on telephony products, and in Hong Kong as a project manager in the toy industry responsible for handling projects from design to production.

Certifications:
PhD, Computing
MSc, Computing
GradDip, Marketing
H.Dip., Production and Industrial Engineering


Shadi Khalifa

Shadi Khalifa

Postdoctoral Fellow

khalifa@cs.queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78347

Shadi Khalifa joined CAC in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics from Queen’s University and a MS.c. in Information Technology from Cairo University. Shadi is a former IBM CAS researcher and a graduate of the NSERC CREATE Ultra Large Scale Software Systems specialization program. His research interests have ranged from designing easy to use Big Data Analytics solutions, Bioinformatics Analytics, Cloud Computing, and Optimizing the Cellular Networks Inter Cell Interference Coordination. He is an author of 12 refereed publications, two of which are extensive surveys acting as a main source of information for the Big Data Analytics and the Cellular Networks Inter Cell Interference Coordination fields. His “MapReduce Garbage Collection” paper was selected as the Best Student Paper in IBM CASCON 2013.
He is the developer of the QDrill solution for easy distributed Big Data Analytics and the HSBT NS2 high speed Bluetooth simulation model.
His current interests include Intelligent Assistance, Big Data Analytics, Human-Analytics Interaction, Bioinformatics Analytics, Machine Learning, and Distributed Processing.

Certifications:
EMC2 Information Storage Associate (EMCISA)
M.Sc. Information Technology
Ph.D. Big Data Analytics


Amal Khalil

Amal Khalil

Postdoctoral Fellow

khalil@cs.queensu.ca
(613) 533-6000 x78612

Amal Khalil received her Ph.D. degree in computer science from Queen’s University in the areas of model-driven engineering and model-based verification of behavioral software models in the context of automotive embedded systems. She is a former researcher in the Modeling and Analysis in Software Engineering Group at Queen’s University. Amal Khalil was awarded a Silver Medal in the ACM Student Research Competition that was held in conjunction with the 2015 ACM/IEEE 18th International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems (MODELS). Before moving to Canada, Amal Khalil received her Bachelor and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering.