On July 14, 2008, Tim Mulcahy, Vice President for Research, announced the appointment of Professor Tom Jones to the position of Interim Director position for MSI. A member of the astronomy department, Tom is familiar with MSI through his use of MSI's services in his research in theoretical and computational astrophysics.

We also thank Andrew Odlyzko for agreeing to temporarily postpone his retirement and serve as Interim Director until this decision was made. His willingness to serve in this capacity has allowed MSI to continue to provide services without interruption, and is greatly appreciated.

U'S SOLAR VEHICLE PROJECT TEAM FINISHES FIFTH in 2008 North American Solar Challenge, a 10-day, 2,400-mile race. The race began July 13 in Plano, Texas and finished July 22 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The vehicle's development team used MSI supercomputers and visualization labs for computational fluid dynamics modeling to estimate drag, lift, and crosswind effects for their designs.

For more about the vehicle, called Centaurus, see Centaurus. For event photos, see Flickr.

On June 26, 2008, Brian Ropers-Huilman, MSI Director of Systems Administration and Technical Operations, spoke to a group of seventh-grade students about MSI, high-performance computing, and programming for supercomputers. The students are taking a class in Math and Programming as part of the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth's "Expand Your Mind" program. Mr. Ropers-Huilman also took the class and their teacher, Scott Greseth, on a tour of the MSI machine room to show them the supercomputers.

Three MSI Principal Investigators featured in a recent University News Service story concerning nanoparticle film deposition technologies being used by local company Rushford Hypersonic in their facility in Rushford, Minnesota. The three researchers are: Professor Steven L. Girshick, MSI Fellow; Professor Joachim Heberlein, MSI Associate Fellow; and Professor Peter H. McMurry, MSI Associate Fellow. All three are in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The research they performed to develop these technologies was made possible in part by resources at the Supercomputing Institute.

The Office of the Provost and the Graduate School has named the 2008 recipients of Distinguished McKnight University Professorships. Two MSI Principal Investigators are on this list:

  • Professor Judith Berman (Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development)
  • Professor Jeffrey J. Derby (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and MSI Fellow)

These professorships recognize outstanding mid-career faculty members. The recipients receive a monetary grant and the title Distinguished McKnight University Professor, which they will hold as long as they are at the University of Minnesota.