The U’s Vice President for Research, Brian Herman, is stepping down at the end of December to return to a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has held the VP position since 2013. The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute is a core research facility in the Office of the VP for Research as part of the Research Computing umbrella group. As he transitions, VP Herman has been featured on MinnPost and the OVPR Inquiry blog.
MSI PI Bin He (Biomedical Engineering; Director, Institute for Engineering in Medicine) reported this week they have successfully tested a robotic arm that can be controlled through brain signals. Wearing a cap with sensors, subjects were able to instruct the arm to do tasks such picking up a block. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports (part of the Nature group of publications).
MSI PI Marlene Zuk (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) and Research Associate Tiffany Wolf were interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio recently about the interconnections between people, policies, and the environment. You can hear the conversation on the MPR website: Controlling parasites may not be as good as it sounds.
MSI PI Peter Reich (Regents Professor, Forest Resources; Fellow, Institute on the Environment) is among the researchers who have recently published a study showing that warming temperatures may affect the ability of soil to store carbon. This effect seems to be greatest at higher latitudes (colder regions), areas which have not received as much attention in previous research.
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has published a list of patents that have been awarded to University researchers during the past few months. Several MSI Principal Investigators, shown below, are on this list. The complete list can be found on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog: Patent roll call, fall 2016.  The PIs' MSI pages are linked from their names (PI names are in bold).
MSI PI Tony Low (assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering) led researchers at the University of Minnesota and other institutions worldwide in a study of the optical properties of several dozen 2D materials. The study, published by the prestigious journal Nature Materials, investigates ways in which these intriguing materials might be used for faster, smaller, and more efficient electronic devices.
MSI will have an extended downtime period on December 7, 2016. Aside from our usual system maintenance, MSI will be working with a contractor to perform room integrity tests as part of an upgrade to the fire suppression system in our main data center, room B40. The testing will begin at 6am and will require a complete shutdown of all IT equipment in our data center in B40. Most systems should be able to return to service by 5pm. Since all filesystems will be unavailable for much of the day on 7 December, MSI suggests you stage time-critical data as necessary to external systems.
The Blue Waters project has issued a call for applications for its Graduate Fellowship Program for HPC Research. PhD students selected for this program will receive a stipend, tuition allowance, an allocation on the Blue Waters system, and a travel allowance to attend a Blue Waters-sponsored symposium. Preference will be given to applicants who have a multidisciplinary research project.
MSI PI Christy Haynes (Chemistry) is on The Analytic Scientist’s 2016 Power List. This list, the magazine’s first to include all women, features 50 scientists who represent analytical sciences. An article appears on the chemistry department’s website.
Three MSI PIs were featured in a conversation on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) recently.
Professor Samuel Myers (Humphrey School of Public Affairs) is featured in the U’s Fall 2016 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor Myers is part of the “Protect Human Rights” section of the campaign. He has been using MSI’s supercomputers for computer-analysis studies of disparities, discrimination, access, opportunity, and transparency for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Professor Theresa Reineke, an MSI PI in the Department of Chemistry, and colleagues have published a paper that describes a new method of creating excipients, the materials that help medicines dissolve in the body. This has significant implications for drug development, since the efficacy of new drugs can be limited by their lack of solubility. The paper was published in the journal ACS Central Science.
A three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will be used to fund fundamental research into materials, work that could have implications for technologies such as data storage, superconductors, fuel cells, and electrical power plants. MSI PI Rafael Fernandes (Physics and Astronomy) is a member of the new Center for Quantum Materials, which is an interdisciplinary center that will study complex oxides.
On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, from 6am - 4pm CDT, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various MSI systems. Please note that the Tier 2 storage will be unavailable for much of the day while we update that system.  November maintenance will affect the following systems:
Long-time MSI PI Sean Garrick, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the new Faculty Development Fellow for the Institute of Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA) at the University of Minnesota.
Professor Kelvin Lim (Psychiatry) is featured in the U’s Fall 2016 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor Lim is part of the “End Addiction” section of the campaign. He uses MSI resources for analysis of fMRI and MRI data as part of multiple projects to examine brain structure, connections, and function in brain disorders.
Associate Professor Yuqing Ren, an MSI PI from the Department of Information and Decision Sciences, has received a $919,979 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and test a computational theory of online communities. Professor Ren’s collaborators on the grant are from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Michigan.
MSI PIs Chad Myers, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Carol Lange, a professor at the Masonic Cancer Center, are on the interdisciplinary team that has won one of the two Grand Prizes in the National Cancer Institute’s Up for a Challenge (U4C) Breast Cancer Challenge Award.
MSI PI Erin Carlson (Chemistry) has been selected to receive a 2017 Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee. This award recognizes early- to mid-career women chemists. An article about Professor Carlson’s work appears on the chemistry department’s website.
Regents Professor Vipin Kumar (Computer Science and Engineering) is featured in the U’s Fall 2016 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor Kumar is part of the “Abolish Hunger” section of the campaign. He uses MSI’s supercomputers for data-mining projects in climate science, earth science, and bioinformatics.