On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, from 8am - 4pm CDT, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various MSI systems. During this month's scheduled maintenance period, MSI will apply updates to prevent jobs from using more memory or CPU resources than what the job was allocated. In the past, jobs that exceeded their allocation would sometimes use up all of the memory on a node, which would cause other jobs and even entire nodes to crash.
The Bell Museum of Natural History has launched a citizen-science project through to help build the Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas. Participants can transcribe data from handwritten specimen labels, and they will be added to the digital Atlas. Visit the website to participate.
Assistant Professor Candice Hirsch, an MSI PI in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, has been named one of eight 2016 DuPont Young Professors. This award, which provides funding to support work in areas of interest to the company, recognizes outstanding young faculty members in the fields of plant biology, biotechnology, materials science, photovoltaics, and chemical engineering.
Tumeric has recently received attention as a “miracle spice,” capable of curing many medical woes. The spice has long been used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. However, a research study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry indicates that tumeric has no medicinal benefits. MSI PI Michael Walters (Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD)) is the lead author on this study.
MSI PI Shri Ramaswamy  (Head, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering) is part of the RAPID Institute, a new national manufacturing consortium. The goal of the Institute (RAPID = Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment) is to improve the productivity and efficiency of chemical and other manufacturing by reducing the number of process steps. Professor Ramaswamy is one of the lead researchers in the national pulp and paper team.
MSI PI Bill Arnold (Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering) has spent years studying the effects of triclosan, an anti-bacterial chemical used in household products. He showed that the chemical, which is a hormone disruptor, was building up in Minnesota lakes. His research contributed to a decision by state lawmakers to ban the use of the substance in Minnesota; that ban takes effect in 2017. Minnesota was the first state to take this step, and other government agencies followed suit. 
On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, from 8am - 4pm CDT, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various MSI systems. January maintenance will affect the following systems: NoMachine Mesabi Windows Application Servers Systems status is always available on our Status page. If you have any questions, please email
Three MSI PIs are part of the creation of a new drug that extends the period of time known as the “golden hour” – the short window after a traumatic accident when medical treatment is most effective. The PIs are Professor Greg Beilman (Surgery), Professor Matthew Andrews (Duluth – Biology), and Professor Lester Drewes (Duluth – Biomedical Sciences).
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.