Dr. Max Shad Appointed as Director of Engineering at Kempner Institute

November 01, 2023

Dr. Max Shad is the new Director of Engineering at the Kempner Institute.

Cambridge, MA – The Kempner Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of established research computing leader and expert in computational science, Dr. Max Shad (formerly Mahmood Shad), as its Director of Engineering.

As a key member of the Kempner leadership team, Dr. Shad will lead the Kempner’s computational program, ensuring Kempner scientists have access to the right tools and expert software engineering support required to take advantage of its cutting–edge computational resources.

Dr. Shad has already been instrumental in advancing research software engineering in previous roles at Harvard, most recently as Associate Director for Research Software Engineering at University Research Computing and Data Services (RCD). While at RCD, Dr. Shad spearheaded the establishment of Harvard’s very first research software engineering team.

In his new role, Dr. Shad will continue to supervise his team at RCD and leverage that expertise to build a research software engineering team at the Kempner that supports high-performance computing, specifically focused on machine learning and AI research. Using his deep knowledge, and incorporating engineering best-practices developed at RCD, Dr. Shad will implement the software infrastructure support needed to support groundbreaking research in AI, machine learning, and computational biology at the Kempner.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Shad to bring his expertise and insight to both the Kempner and University RCD, working across the two entities to allow for collaboration, growth and problem-solving,” said Harvard’s University Research Computing Officer, Dr. Scott Yockel. “Dr. Shad is forward-thinking about research technology services and a great community builder, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him in this new leadership role in research computing at Harvard.”

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Shad join us as Director of Engineering,” said Kempner Executive Director Elise Porter. “He has the experience and the vision we need to support the Kempner’s research community as they pursue innovative science on our state-of-the-art cluster. I have no doubt he will build a world-class software engineering team and be instrumental in meeting our scientific and programmatic goals.”

In addition to building a team and developing best-practices to support computational research at the Kempner, Dr. Shad will advise on strategic planning for new cluster hardware and networking. As part of that effort, he will work closely with teams at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing (FASRC) at Harvard and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) to ensure the rapid deployment and effective management of the Kempner’s cluster as it continues to grow.

At Harvard since 2017, Dr. Shad has also previously worked at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing, first as a Senior Scientific Software Engineer and then as Associate Director for Research Software Engineering. Dr. Shad received his PhD and MPhil in mechanical engineering with a focus in computational science from the City College of New York, a MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Tehran, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. Dr. Shad specializes in high-performance computing and data management, research software engineering, and cloud technologies and has presented and published actively on these topics throughout his career.

About the Kempner

The Kempner Institute seeks to understand the basis of intelligence in natural and artificial systems by recruiting and training future generations of researchers to study intelligence from biological, cognitive, engineering, and computational perspectives. Its bold premise is that the fields of natural and artificial intelligence are intimately interconnected; the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) will require the same principles that our brains use for fast, flexible natural reasoning, and understanding how our brains compute and reason can be elucidated by theories developed for AI. Join the Kempner mailing list to learn more, and to receive updates and news.


Deborah Apsel Lang | (617) 495-7993 | kempnercommunications@harvard.edu