The National Institute for Computational Sciences

NICS helps with ARC/ORNL Summer Institute

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) hosted the 28th annual student summer STEM institute, during which the students worked on cutting-edge science projects with mentors at ORNL. The student projects this summer dealt with Supercomputers, Thermochromic Windows, Biochemical Pathways, Robotics Systems, Engineering Development and High-Altitude Ballooning. Out of the six students groups at ORNL this summer, NICS staff mentored two of the six groups that included Supercomputers and High-Altitude Ballooning. 

Dr. Jerry Sherrod facilitated the supercomputing group for the 8th year in a row with NICS and the ARC. During this program, students learn Computing basics, Computer networking, Linux operating systems, and Computer programming.The students project was to make their own networking cables while clustering mac mini's and using a script they wrote to determine the theoretical speed of the cluster in Flops.

Nick Csercsevits facilitated the High-Altitude Ballooning group. In this class, students learned why we send balloons into the stratosphere and what we can learn from them. Students learned about multiple topics which included GPS tracking, tracking software, balloon stack rigging, how to use a regulator, balloon launch, recovery preparations and safety.  Students built payloads and equipped them with Rapsberry Pi's, Sense Hat attachments and cameras to view the stratosphere while collecting Big Data which included temperature, pressure, humidity and altitude. Students then whet to Pellissippi State Community College to set-up and launch their balloon into the stratosphere. The balloon traveled a distance of 90 miles, 118,000 ft, and stayed in the air for two and a half hours.

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