Skip to main content

Chuck Thompson Named Director of Illinois Computes 

Many people working on developer projects at workstations with an orange and blue gradient background

After a successful first year under the stewardship of Director Bill Gropp, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications has selected its first full-time leader to guide Illinois Computes into the next era of providing computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services to researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and, eventually, the wider University of Illinois System.

Chuck Thompson joins NCSA this week as the new director of Illinois Computes. Formerly the associate chief information officer and key member of the distributed IT leadership at Yale University, Thompson has more than 25 years of IT leadership experience and strategic expertise in supporting faculty across humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering.

Director of Illinois Computes Chuck Thompson.

Prior to Yale, Thompson served as vice president and chief information officer at The Claremont Colleges Services, a consortium of seven highly ranked private liberal arts colleges in Southern California. In this role, he led significant IT transformations, managing  large-scale, complex projects across the seven legally independent institutions of the consortium.

Thompson’s deep understanding of the academic IT environment across a wide range of disciplines will serve him well in leading Illinois Computes in its mission to serve researchers from all domains.

“I have a passion for ensuring all faculty and researchers have the support and resources they require for their academic mission work,” Thompson said. “I am excited to join NCSA and Illinois Computes with the opportunity to pursue this passion in service to Illinois researchers.”

Thompson returns to Illinois, where he spent 30 years as a student, staff member and administrator. His most recent role at the university was as assistant dean and chief information officer for the Grainger College of Engineering, where he founded Engineering IT to consolidate and streamline IT support services. His substantial experience at Illinois also includes serving as the IT manager and as a staff systems administrator for the Department of Computer Science.

I didn’t expect my career to bring me back to Illinois, but, in retrospect, perhaps my never giving up my season football and basketball tickets and my California and Connecticut license plates saying ‘Illini’ should have told me otherwise. I’ve added a lot of great friends and colleagues in my time away. However, my wife Sandra (who has continued to work remotely for Illinois) and I left behind in Illinois and the Midwest most of our family, our children and our closest friends. It is going to be good to be home.

Chuck Thompson, Director of Illinois Computes

“We’re excited to welcome Chuck back to the University of Illinois and to NCSA in his new role as director of Illinois Computes,” said Gropp. “Chuck’s extensive background in working with researchers, navigating complex relationships within academic settings and communicating technical issues to non-technical audiences will serve him well in this new position.

“I look forward to helping familiarize Chuck with the current state of Illinois Computes and the strong foundation many at NCSA have built to turn this program from an idea into reality. I have full confidence that Chuck will deftly lead the strategic direction and operational management of Illinois Computes, advancing our goals of empowering researchers with state-of-the-art computing resources and solutions, building on existing relationships and fostering new collaborations to support the diverse needs of our academic community.”

And Thompson is eager to begin making connections, strengthening relationships and hearing how Illinois Computes can help empower Illinois researchers even further.

“The vision statement I presented during my interview was for Illinois Computes to ‘provide the University of Illinois community with a researcher-centric research computing ecosystem that accelerates innovation across all disciplines by facilitating equitable and timely access to needed resources and support.’ I look forward to working with the community to refine this vision,” Thompson said.


Illinois Computes offers computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services to researchers from all domains across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus for free. Through the campus-funded program, NCSA will learn what additional assets are needed to fulfill the computing demands of the university and adjust the cyberinfrastructure strategy while continuing to make access to systems, interdisciplinary and technical knowledge, and support infrastructure easy to obtain. Illinois Computes removes barriers for all Illinois researchers – especially those typically underserved – to access NCSA’s growing assemblage of research computing tools and world-class staff, furthering their innovative and novel work while ensuring NCSA is a leader in the global research community.

Check out the Illinois Computes website for more information or to get involved.

Back to top