The University of Minnesota's latest solar car took second in the biennial American Solar Challenge race. This year's race went from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Chicago, Illinois on June 19-26, 2010. The vehicle, named Centaurus II, was designed and built by University of Minnesota students. Team members used MSI supercomputers for modeling airflow around the shell of the vehicle. An article about the Solar Vehicle Project's work appeared in the Summer 2009 Research Bulletin. More information about the 2010 race can be found on the College of Science and Engineering website.


On June 14th, a group of high school students began their week at Exploring Careers in Engineering and Physical Science (ECEPS) summer sessions with an all-day session at the Supercomputing Institute. The seminar, Molecular Modeling with Super(duper)computers, allowed the students to explore some simple, but robust, models that let chemists make predictions about things like sweetness, drug activity, gas pressures, and fuel values, using the software available at MSI. They also found out how the computers themselves work and what makes them useful in a world that is increasingly relying on predictions to streamline research and design.

During the ECEPS program, the students participate in seminars and workshops led by College of Science and Engineering (formerly the Institute of Technology) engineers and scientists. These workshops can include participating in demonstrations, lectures, tours, and lab experiences that help make engineering, science, and mathematics be seen as viable careers to the high school students.

The summer ECEPS sessions are for high school students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades who are interested in engineering, physical science, or mathematics. Each session lasts one week. More information can be found here.

Dr. Nick Labello (MSI User Support) shows ECEPS participants visualizations on the Powerwall in the LMVL.

Professor Ilja Siepmann (Chemistry, MSI Fellow) explains software at the SDVL to two ECEPS participants.

Research Exhibition prize winners and pictures are now linked from the MSI 25th Anniversary Research Exhibition page.

Two MSI Principal Investigators have recently won prestigious awards:

  • Regents Professor Ron Phillips (Agronomy and Plant Genetics) has been awarded the ISA 2010 Medal for Science
  • Regents Professor David Tilman (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) has been awarded the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences

More information can be found on the University Relations People page.

Blue Waters, which is expected to be the world’s most powerful supercomputer for open scientific research when it goes online in 2011, is already providing researchers with opportunities for state-of-the-art computing research. Professor and MSI Fellow Paul Woodward (Astronomy) is one of the astrophysicists using Blue Waters. See a brief discussion on HPCWire.