News

On July 31, 2010, Professor Tom Jones, Department of Astronomy and MSI Fellow, stepped down after serving as MSI Interim Director for two years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Professor and MSI Associate Fellow Carrie Wilmot (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) and her research team recently published an article in Science about a molecular image they have created of a system that moves electronics between proteins in cells. The article appears in the March 12 issue. The University News Service story about this research appears on the UMN website.
A BICB trainee at the University of Minnesota Rochester has won a prestigious IBM Ph.D. Fellowship for work he has done with Blue Gene and MSI on metabolic pathways. MSI provides computational resources to the BICB (Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology) program and is a partner with the program in a Shared University Research (SUR) Program grant from IBM.
MSI Fellow and Principal Investigator Fotis Sotiropoulos, Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, is leading a team that has recently received a $8 million grant from DOE to study wind energy development. Professor Sotiropoulos leads a consortium made up of researchers from the Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota Morris, Syracuse University, and Dakota County Technical College. The team will also collaborate with industry.
The NSF is soliciting proposals for computing time on the Blue Waters petascale computing system now under construction at the University of Illinois. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences at NIH is hosting a virtual workshop and applicant briefing on Blue Waters to encourage the development of high-impact community proposals for computing time on this new resource.
MSI held an Open House on Wednesday, November 4. The event was free and open to the public. Activities included a panel discussion, talks about MSI and supercomputing, software and hardware demonstrations, displays of research at MSI, and tours. For more information, please see the Open House website.
Contacts: Amy Danielson, Office of the Vice President for Research, (612) 625-1453, dani0139@umn.edu Patty Mattern, University News Service, (612) 624-2801, mattern@umn.edu MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/17/2009) —
MSI is holding an Open House on Wednesday, November 4, 11:30-4. The event is free and open to the public. Activities include a panel discussion, talks about MSI and supercomputing, software and hardware demonstrations, displays of research at MSI, and tours. We will also have goody bags, food and drinks, and door prizes. For complete information, please see the Open House website.
MSI researchers are on a team that was recently awarded a $2.2 million grant from the Department of Energy for a project investigating using bacteria to produce biofuel. The lead investigator, Professor Larry Wackett (BMBB), is an MSI Associate Fellow and Principal Investigator. Other researchers on this project with MSI ties are Regents Professor Lanny Schmidt (MSI Associate Fellow) and Assistant Professor Aditya Bahn (MSI Principal Investigator), both of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
TROPIX, a joint project between MSI and Mayo’s Bioinformatics group, is featured on the front page of the cagrid website. The link to the article is in the top right-hand corner of the page. TROPIX allows collaborators to efficiently share datasets and data-analysis tools. The project was funded by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics.
On September 26, MSI participated in the Math and Science Family Fun Fair at Coffman Memorial Union. This annual event, organized by the Institute of Technology’s Office of Diversity and Outreach, allows children to participate in fun, hands-on activities designed to teach them about math, science, and engineering. Visitors to the MSI booth could view 3-D computer graphics of molecules and could touch and examine the working parts of a computer.   Daniel Sosa explains the role of hemoglobin in the blood.
Professor Jane Davidson (mechanical engineering), MSI Associate Fellow, has been awarded the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholar Award for Spring 2009. The award recognizes outstanding women faculty at the University of Minnesota. MSI researcher Assistant Professor Tian He (computer science andengineering) has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development grant, one of the NSF's most prestigious awards.