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An article featuring MSI Principal Investigator Lucy Fortson (Physics and Astronomy) recently appeared in the Summer 2012 edition of the College of Liberal Arts Reach magazine and was reposted on the College of Science and Engineering website. The project, called Ancient Lives, uses the help of amateurs to translate ancient writing. This project invites the general public to translate documents from Egypt, the majority from the first and second centuries CE. The documents are mostly written in ancient Greek, which was the official language of Egypt at that time. Dozens of volunteers may work on a single fragment; most don’t speak Greek, so they use pattern recognition to identify the letters and words.
MSI’s role in this project is to help Professor Fortson develop software that will take the volunteers’ results and use the most common translations for a given fragment to create a master transcription. One of the project’s goals is to create computational statistical methods for data-mining the texts, basing these methods on similar ones used in other sciences. The MSI manager for this project is Dr. Anne-Francoise Lamblin, the Research Informatics Support Systems Program Director. She and MSI user consultants are working with Professor Fortson to develop the software. This project falls under MSI's new Consulting Services program, which provides technical support for long-term projects.
August 1, 2012 marked five years since the collapse of the I-35W bridge spanning the Mississippi River, an accident that killed 13 people and injured many more. Traffic through the city of Minneapolis was disrupted for months. The new bridge, which opened in September 2008, was built containing hundreds of “Smart Bridge" sensors that allow engineers to monitor the bridge’s structural behavior. MSI Principal Investigator Catherine French (Civil Engineering) and her research group and collaborators are using MSI resources for some of the evaluation of the data produced by the sensors. A report on Professor French and her research aired on Minnesota Public Radio on the anniversary of the old bridge’s collapse. An article that mentions the new bridge also appeared in Popular Mechanics. MSI highlighted this project in the 2009 edition of the MSI Annual Research Highlights.
UMNews has profiled MSI Principal Investigator Michael Sadowsky in a recent story about the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project. This project, which uses MSI resources, studies the microorganisms that live in the Mississippi River. The research team is investigating the differences in the microbes along the course of the river and how human activity affects them.
MSI Principal Investigators Kent Reed (Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) and Michael Sadowsky (Soil, Water, and Climate) and their projects are highlighted in the article. The Masonic Cancer Center, also mentioned in the article, has several researchers who use MSI.
posted July 27, 2012
George Weiblen, a curator at the Bell Museum of Natural History, is profiled on the OVPR’s Research blog. Dr. Weiblen and his team are identifying trees in 100 acres of New Guinea rain forest. MSI is currently working with Dr. Weiblen on a project to digitize collections at the Bell Museum.