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Professor and MSI Fellow Jiali Gao of the Department of Chemistry and the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology Program was recently named winner of the global annual IBM Faculty Award. The award recognizes Professor Gao's research in the development of quantum mechanical methods. Some of this research was done using MSI resources. Professor Gao has been an MSI Fellow since 1998. For more information on the IBM award, see the College of Science and Engineering website and the University of Minnesota Rochester website.
On July 31, 2010, Professor Tom Jones, Department of Astronomy and MSI Fellow, stepped down after serving as MSI Interim Director for two years.
During his tenure as Interim Director, Professor Jones spearheaded the purchase of Itasca, a Hewlett-Packard Linux cluster that is the Institute's newest supercomputer. He also implemented a number of administrative and technical changes in MSI's management procedures. Among these is the new online system for renewing user accounts. He also helped with the international search for the new MSI Director, Professor Jorge Vinals, who has taken over as of August 1.
MSI and OVPR staff thanked Professor Jones at a reception on July 15.
MSI is very happy to report that Jorge Vinals has accepted the offer to become the next MSI Director. He will also become a professor of physics. Jorge will assume the directorship on August 1, 2010.
Jorge is currently the director of CLUMEQ, a Canadian Supercomputing Center led by McGill University with sites in Montreal and Quebec City. CLUMEQ provides high-performance computation to Canadian academic institutions. Their newest compute cluster, "Colosse," is located in Quebec and came in at 63 in the November 2009 TOP500 list. A second, larger cluster will be commissioned this summer in Montreal. Jorge is therefore very familiar with many of the opportunities and challenges encountered in organizations such as MSI.
Jorge has been a professor of physics and Canada Research Chair in Nonequilibrium Materials at McGill. He joined McGill in 2004 as the first director of the McGill Institute of Advanced Materials before becoming the director of CLUMEQ in 2007. Prior to that, he was a Program Director for Materials Science Research at the School of Computational Science and Information Technology of Florida State University, and a staff member in the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute of the university, a precursor to the School. The Institute operated as a US DOE National Supercomputing Facility.
His field of specialty is nonlinear science with applications to nonequilibrium phenomena, materials science, and biophysics. He has also held a senior NIH fellowship at the Laboratory of Computational Genomics at the Donald Danforth Center in St. Louis. He has a broad scientific background, and experience in funding of large, interdisciplinary research activities.
During Summer 2010, MSI hosted two courses for grad students and postdocs in association with the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE) of the Center for Computational Science (Miami, Florida). The VSCSE brings together faculty from throughout the country to create courses that focus on petascale computing and petascale-enabled science and engineering. MSI hosted Petascale Programming Environments and Tools (July 6-9, 2010) and Big Data for Science (July 26-30, 2010).
On July 1, 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 computers. 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 on a tour of the MSI machine room to show them the supercomputers.