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Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies Leave Legacy in

After 30 years at the helm of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), co-founders Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies stepped down from their positions as co-directors of the center. Levine, who is a professor in the Department of Physics, also has retired from the Carnegie Mellon physics faculty.

Levine and Roskies, along with Westinghouse’s Jim Kasdorf, established the PSC in response to the growing need for bigger and better computers to support the research being done at Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh and other centers across the country.

“What Mike and Ralph created in the PSC has stood the test of time, providing lasting value to the national science community,” said Nick Nystrom, PSC’s interim director. “Their vision led to a wealth of discoveries that expanded human knowledge and improved the way we live and work.”

Under their direction, the PSC has built 19 highly advanced and productive high-performance computing systems, often designing and deploying the first generation of many machines and developing custom instruments. Today’s systems at the PSC combine high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and big data to help researchers in the hard sciences as well as biology, social science and the digital humanities—disciplines that have recently become in need of computing power that can deal with large datasets.

Starting with the delivery of the center’s first supercomputer in 1986, the PSC’s founders created an environment for innovation at each stage, from winning the first grant from the National Science Foundation that established the center to hiring key people with unique skills and then empowering them to make innovative contributions. They fostered a community of scientific and computing researchers that enable scientific discovery by re-thinking the architecture and software of the systems they make available.

In honor of their accomplishments, Feb. 16 was proclaimed Michael Levine and Ralph Roskies Day in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Retiring Faculty


The professor of biological sciences has been a member of the Mellon College of Science Faculty since 1978. Hackney has made significant contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms, regulation and structure of enzymes, specifically the relationships between enzyme structure and function. He has completed influential work elucidating the structure and function of kinesin molecular motors, proteins that move important cargo around the cell.


The Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences has been a member of the Mellon College of Science faculty since 1979 when he came to Carnegie Mellon as head of the Department of Biological Sciences. In 1985, he founded the multidisciplinary Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research, a joint program between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. Ho is a pioneer in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cell tracking and is researching ways to improve the delivery of chemotherapy nanodrugs.


The professor of chemistry joined the MCS faculty in 1984. His research uses light scattering and statistical mechanics to study the structure and dynamics of macromolecular systems. For his work, he won the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research in 1981. Patterson is also known for his work as a historian, having published numerous books and articles on the history of chemistry.


The professor of physics joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1967 shortly after graduating with his doctorate from Princeton University. Russ’ career has focused on accelerator-based, high energy physics experiments, including the Collider Detector at Fermilab and the Compact Muon Solenoid at the Large Hadron Collider. He served as the spokesperson for the Segmented Large X Baryon Spectrometer (SELEX) project that studied charmed baryon production and decay at Fermilab.



The professor of physics has been a member of the physics faculty since 1981. His early research focused on taking X-ray and other measurements of thin films, and his most recent work uses High Energy X-ray Diffraction Microscopy (HEDM) to study the microstructures in bulk crystalline and polycrystalline materials. He invented a technique that uses high energy X-rays and high-performance computing to create 3D maps of the microstructure of hard materials that can be used to develop stronger materials.



The professor of physics joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1983. Vogel conducted high energy physics at particle accelerator laboratories including CERN, the Cornell Laboratory for Elementary-Particle Physics, the Stanford Linear Accelerator and DESY, searching for new quarks and leptons beyond those already found. In addition to his research, Vogel was well respected as an educator, having received MCS’s Julius Ashkin Award, Richard Moore Award and the university’s William H. and Frances S. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching.



The Maxwell and Gloria C. Connan Professor of Life Sciences joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1982. In 1992, he became vice chairman of Biological Detection Systems, a spin-off company based on his research. He returned to Carnegie Mellon in 1999 to become the director of the Molecular Biosensor Imaging Center. Considered one of the top scientists in the field of fluorescent probes, Waggoner invented CyDyes, cyanine dyes that have furthered the understanding of how genes and cellular functions are regulated.