Posted on November 22, 2013

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) was recently awarded $3.2 million to fund a project that will expand the Center’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. The project will add data on more than 600 million US individuals, greatly expanding the scope of the database. The OVPR Research blog has an article about the project and the MPC.

MSI provides high-performance computing resources that the MPC and its Executive Director, Regents Professor Steven Ruggles, use for “big data” and informatics analyses. 

posted November 20, 2013

Last weekend, MSI staff members participated in the College of Science and Engineering’s 2013 Math and Science Family Fun Fair. The Fair was held on Saturday, November 16 in Coffman Memorial Union. This annual event is designed for young people to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun and interesting way. About 4,000 visitors attended this year.

Staff at the MSI exhibit helped visitors make models of methane and sodium chloride, using toothpicks, gumdrops, and marshmallows. Visitors could also see a movie of work done at MSI and a 3D visualization of computational molecular modeling. The MSI team gave away over 1,000 molecule kits and the exhibit was busy the entire day.

View a slideshow of the MSI exhibit.

MSI people working at the exhibit included:
Eric Badger
Josh Baller
Drew Gustafson
Christy Henzler
Mike Knox
Ben Lynch
Connor Lynch
Michael Milligan
Munir Nassar
Tom Prather
Kanika Puri
Nancy Rowe (organizer for MSI exhibit)
Sushmita Singh
Ying Zhang

Additional assistance from:
Ravi Chityala
Yectli Huerta

posted on November 19, 2013

Assistant Professor Connie Lu (Chemistry) is featured in a new online publication by the American Chemical Society that highlights recent achievements by young researchers in the field of synthetic inorganic chemistry. The issue is available on the ACS Publications website. 

Professor Lu and her research group use MSI as part of their investigations into first-row transition metals, with the ultimate goal of making cheap and sustainable catalysts. They perform density functional theory and ab initio CASSCF (complete active space self-consistent field) calculations to support experimental work. Some of this work using MSI is featured in the papers linked from the ACS publication.

posted on November 11, 2013 recently published a story about children with a rare skin disorder, epidermolysis bullosa (EB). People affected with this condition have very fragile skin that blisters or breaks easily. EB is painful, disfiguring, and can cause a shorted lifespan. It is a result of genetic mutations that block the body’s ability to make collagen, which is responsible for holding the layers of the skin together.

MSI Principal Investigator Jakub Tolar, Director of the Stem Cell Institute and an associate professor in the pediatrics department of the University of Minnesota Medical School, is quoted in the story. Professor Tolar uses MSI resources for his research into EB, especially the mechanisms of the pain and itching associated with it.


posted on November 7, 2013

Professor John Gulliver (Civil Engineering, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, and Institute on the Environment Resident Fellow) was recently profiled on the Institute for the Environment’s “Eye on Earth” blog. The blog post highlights Professor Gulliver’s work studying stormwater runoff.

Professor Gulliver is an expert on a number of issues related to water. He and his research group use MSI resources to study how hydraulic structures, such as dams and reservoirs, affect the concentration of gases in the water that flows around and over them. The turbulent flow from the spillways in these structures results in a higher percentage of dissolved gases in the water, which affects the fish population. The Gulliver group uses HPC resources to model the turbulent flow.