posted on August 7, 2014

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) announced last week that it has been awarded a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant, which extends over five years, will fund research into the next generation of biobased plastics. The CSP is one of only eight NSF Centers for Chemical Innovation in the country. 

MSI Principal Investigator Marc Hillmyer, a professor in the Department of Chemistry (College of Science and Engineering) is the Center’s director. Other MSI PIs who are investigators at the Center include Professors Chris Cramer, Thomas Hoye, Theresa Reineke, and William Tolman, all of the chemistry department, and Professor Christopher Macosko, from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

Stories about this grant appear on the chemistry department website and the University's Discover blog.


posted on August 5, 2014

UPDATE (posted August 19, 2014): The demo license was extended until September 17. Contact Evan Bollig ( to participate in the demo.

MSI has deployed a demo of the MATLAB Distributed Compute Server (MDCS), which allows MATLAB jobs to launch parfor and SIMD loops across multiple nodes on Itasca. With MDCS there is no need to run pbsdsh or another parallel shell environment to span nodes. Also, jobs can be interactive or batched, and are controlled from within the MATLAB UI. More information about the software can be found on the MathWorks website

MSI users are invited to test this demo and provide feedback. Please email Evan Bollig at to get a settings file and instructions if you wish to participate. The demo license expires on August 24, and MATLAB jobs running on Itasca will burn SUs at the standard rate of 1.5 CPU hours per SU scaled by the size of your job. (So, using this demo assumes you have enough SUs.) The demo has a 256 concurrent process limit (i.e., 32 nodes), shared by all users.

Your feedback and interest will help MSI decide whether the MDCS is worth pursuing. We would also like to know the upper limit on job size that you need.

Contact Evan ( with any questions.


posted on August 4, 2014

Due to utility construction in the MSI data center, the monthly maintenance day for August will be held on August 20. Because of this late date, there will be no downtime for September. After the August maintenance day, the next scheduled downtime will be on October 1.

Details about the August maintenance downtime will be sent out on August 15.


posted on July 31, 2014

The OVPR’s Inquiry blog ran a story recently about MSI Principal Investigator Jian-Ping Wang (Electrical and Computer Engineering), who has invented a biosensing device that can measure a tiny quantity of disease in a human sample quickly and accurately. The U has helped form a startup company, Zepto Life Technology, to commercialize this invention; Professor Wang is the chairman of the scientific advisory board. You can read the entire story on Inquiry.

Professor Wang is a long-time MSI PI. He and his group are currently using MSI for investigations into the electronic structure of Fe16N2. He was featured in a National Journal article in June.

posted on July 29, 2014

In an effort to fight the serious and growing problem of air pollution in China, a team of faculty from the University of Minnesota, together with Chinese researchers, met in May to collaborate on ways to address health issues related to this pollution. Of special interest are very small particulates in the atmosphere. MSI Principal Investigator David Pui, a Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (College of Science and Engineering), convened the group, which was led by University President Eric Kaler and CSE Dean Steven Crouch. Professor Pui uses MSI for several projects related to numerical studies of particle filtration. You can read a story about this project on the University of Minnesota Foundation’s news site