Professor Chris Cramer (Fellow, Chemistry) has been named the College of Science and Engineering’s new associate dean for academic affairs, the college announced on April 9, 2013. The appointment will become effective on July 1, 2013. You can read the announcement on the chemistry department’s website


The College of Science and Engineering has also awarded Professor Cramer with the 2013 George W. Taylor Award of Distinguished Service. This award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the University and to the public at large. You can read more about this award on the chemistry department's website.


Professor Cramer has been an MSI Principal Investigator since he joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1992. He was appointed a Fellow of the Institute in 1996. His research at MSI focuses on developing, coding, and applying novel and established classical and quantum-mechanical methodologies to model chemical structures, properties, and reactivities. These various phenomena are of chemical, biological, and environmental interest.


Professor Cramer is also a member of the Chemical Theory Center group in the Department of Chemistry. In Fall 2012, the group received two grants from the Department of Energy (DOE). The first of these is providing funding to create the Nanoporous Materials Genome Center (NMGC), which will study metal-organic frameworks, which are a type of nanoporous material. The other grant is funded under DOE’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program. This project involves a collaboration of the University of Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and will study excited-state processes of molecules and excited state dynamics, applying these to the use of solar energy. Professor Cramer gave an interview about these grants to MSI in Fall 2012.




The OVPR’s Research blog has highlighted some new developments at MSI. These include the new Panasas storage system, upgrades to Cascade (the Institute’s GPU cluster), and expanded consulting services.


You can read the article on the Research blog. The blog post includes a link to a short video about MSI.



MSI recently purchased a new storage system and changed the way that storage at MSI is allocated and accounted for. MSI is now preparing to move the Galaxy storage to the new system and account for Galaxy files in the overall quota for groups. Just as each individual's Unix home directory is attributed to the total group quota usage, each user's Galaxy usage will count towards the group quota. Please refer to the Panasas Migration Guide for information about these changes.


MSI will begin data migration during the week of April 1, 2013. Once the initial migration is completed MSI will announce a planned downtime for Galaxy to do a final migration and make the necessary configuration changes to begin using the Panasas storage system. MSI will notify users once the final date for using the updated quota system has been announced.


In anticipation of these changes, MSI asks all Galaxy users to review their data in Galaxy and delete any data that is no longer required. A guide for archiving and cleansing data from Galaxy can be found at the link below.  Any data removed before migration begins reduces the amount of data that needs to be moved to the new system. 


Guide for archiving and cleansing Galaxy data:


Both the OVPR’s Business and Research blogs recently published articles discussing the research of MSI PI Jian-Ping Wang, a Distinguished McKnight professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is studying new types of magnetic materials with possible applications ranging from more-efficient recording media to cancer detection.

Professor Wang uses MSI resources to support his group’s studies of the magnetic properties of Fe16N2. This research supports efforts to find a next-generation, environmentally friendly magnet that would be technologically superior to currently used magnets. Applications could include replacing the rare-earth magnets now used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, and as a replacement for the semiconductor/transistor combination that powers personal computers. Professor Wang is also studying the possibilities of heat-assisted magnetic recording, which could provide the capability for considerably higher recording densities than is possible now.



The OVPR’s Research and Business blogs periodically publish lists of University researchers who have been awarded patents. The most recent list includes a patent that relates to work that the faculty members are doing using MSI resources.


Professor Perry Li and Professor Thomas Chase, both in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, were awarded a patent for a “Pulse Width Modulated Fluidic Valve.” Professor Li’s MSI research involves computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses of hydraulic components, which includes the development of innovative fluid power components, such as digital hydraulic valves, that are compact and efficient. MSI resources are used to perform CFD and heat transfer studies to gain understanding of the physics and to enable improved design. Professor Chase wishes to create extremely efficient proportional valves for pneumatic systems by exploiting Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems technology. This project uses MSI resources to simulate the performance of the valve and for optimization of the design.