Research Experience for Undergrads Heads Toward Its Conclusion
The Computational Science for Undergraduate Research Experiences program from the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS) begins the last week of its 10-week run on Aug. 4 with the final project presentations in the JICS Auditorium at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Soon thereafter the students will make their final poster presentations on Aug. 7 at ORNL.
CSURE, a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), enables students from across the U.S. to learn about high-performance computing (HPC) and the scientific use of supercomputers at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) with guidance and assistance from mentors. Students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have also been participating with the U.S. students in their activities. The program focuses on computational science as it is applied in chemistry and material sciences, systems biology, engineering mechanics, atmospheric sciences, and parallel solvers on emergent platforms.
Project: Modeling the Effects of Increased Glucose Concentration on Intraocular Pressure of a Human Eye
Students: Caroline Su (University of California, Berkeley), Alexander Cope (Centre College, Kentucky)
Mentors: Kwai Wong and Xiaopeng Zhao
Project: Bioinformatics Analysis Tools and the PoPLAR Science Gateway
Students: Mary Lauren Harris (Baylor University, Texas)
Mentor: Bhanu Rekepalli
Project: Data Analysis via Topology
Student: Louis Xiang (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Mentors: Fernando Schwartz and Kwai Wong
Project: Sequence Assembly and the NGS Pipeline
Student: Catherine Eason (Wofford College, South Carolina)
Mentor: Bhanu Rekepalli
Project: Modeling Chemical Transport with Galerkin Methods for Climate Modeling
Students: Cynthia Chen (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Samuel Loomis (North Carolina State University)
Mentors: Joshua Fu, John Drake, Ohannes Karakashian, and Kwai Wong
Project: Runtime Systems and Out-of-core Cholesky Factorization on the Intel® Xeon Phi™ System
Students: Allan Richmond Razon Morales (George Washington University, Washington D.C.), Terrence Tian (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Mentors: Ed D’Azevedo, Asim Yarkhan, and Kwai Wong
Project: Effect of Basis Sets on Absorbance Spectra
Students: Sarah Zinn (Ohio Northern University), Selina Arrington-Boyd (North Carolina Central University)
Mentors: Jacek Jakowski, Shiquan Su, Dwayne John
Project: Vascular Fluid Structure Simulation
Student: Ivan Au-Yeung (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Mentor: Kwai Wong
Project: Scaling and Optimizing Stochastic Tuple-space Communication in the Distributive Interoperable Executive Library
Students: Zaire Ali (Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia), Jason Coan (Maryville College, Tennessee)
Mentor: Kwai Wong
What the Students Say They Have Gained
During the course of the last nine weeks, CSURE mentors have introduced the students to HPC and provided them with project overviews. After those preliminary activities, the students began working with their mentors and with one another to develop their respective projects in the various scientific domains.
The comments of the students as CSURE 2014 nears its end reveal how the experience has enriched their education and career prospects, as well as even their personal lives through social interaction with others from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations.
While CSURE entails a lot of effort, it can’t, however, be fairly characterized as all work and no play, as the students have attested. The entire group of students has been living in the same “off the beaten path” apartment complex a few miles from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus, and such an arrangement has created the right environment for comradery, the students say. They’ve had a pool party at the complex and have regularly played games and watched many movies together, and the Chinese students have demonstrated for the Americans the art behind the cuisine of their homeland.
The students have also gotten to enjoy some of the unique offerings of East Tennessee, such as the site of the 1982 World’s Fair in downtown Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Each CSURE 2014 student was interviewed individually concerning his or her observations about this summer internship experience. Excerpts of their comments are noted here, in no particular order.
Scott Gibson, science writer, NICS, JICS
Article posting date: 2 August 2014
About JICS and NICS: The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS) was established by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to advance scientific discovery and state-of-the-art engineering, and to further knowledge of computational modeling and simulation. JICS realizes its vision by taking full advantage of petascale-and-beyond computers housed at ORNL and by educating a new generation of scientists and engineers well versed in the application of computational modeling and simulation for solving the most challenging scientific and engineering problems. JICS runs the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), which had the distinction of deploying and managing the Kraken supercomputer. NICS is a leading academic supercomputing center and a major partner in the National Science Foundation's eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, known as XSEDE. In November 2012, JICS sited the Beacon system, which set a record for power efficiency and captured the number one position on the Green500 list of the most energy-efficient computers.