Sakai Foundation Names Executive Director

Charles Severance

PHOTO BY MARY GRUSH                  

The open source community in higher education is winding up a week of conferences co-located in Vancouver BC, including Sakai, OSP, and uPortal. The Sakai Foundation Board capped its conference Friday by announcing that University of Michigan software architect and high performance computing researcher Charles Severance will become the foundation’s executive director.

Sakai is roughly eight months into its transition from a funded project to an established foundation, so the appointment is both a celebrated milestone and a critical factor in moving the community source Collaboration and Learning Environment and the Sakai community to the next level. Offering some thoughts about next steps at a plenary wrap-up session, Severance said, “We really are an organization that is about organizational change. We are all together in many ways because we are the change agents at our organizations, so I want to keep us pushing forward.” Severance said he thinks that the technological elements of Sakai are now solid, and that his own leadership should begin to focus more on branding, relationships, and on bringing Sakai to a much larger market.

Chuck Severance’s research interests include parallel processors for high performance computing and the use of the Internet for delivering educational content. His recent work has spanned Sakai, the NEESgrid project, and the National Middleware Initiative grid portal project. He authored the O’Reilly book, High Performance Computing, Second Edition. Severance’s appointment will vacate his current place on the Sakai board.

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