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.

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.