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The MSI Undergraduate Internship Program wrapped up its 20th summer last month. Eleven undergraduates from colleges and universities around the country worked on projects in chemistry, physics, geophysics, medicinal chemistry, biomedical engineering, astronomy, biochemistry, and chemical engineering. In this annual program, undergraduate interns participate in the research groups of MSI Principal Investigators on projects using high-performance computing environments, especially visualization and computer graphics. They prepare a report and give a presentation about their work. The image above shows a docking simulation with the compound cephalosporin C, from the presentation of Aatif Mansoor, who worked with Assistant Professor Elizabeth Amin (Medicinal Chemistry, MSI Associate Fellow). Information about the Summer 2011 intern program will be posted on our website later in the fall.
MSI hosted two courses for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers during Summer 2010 in association with the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE). The VSCSE is a national virtual organization whose goal is to develop and deliver a computational science curriculum that accelerates the ability of faculty, staff, and students to use emerging computational resources to advance science and engineering. The Petascale Programming Environments and Tools course was held July 6-9. Graduate students Jagan Jayaraj and Pei-Hung Lin presented their experience scaling a gas-dynamics code up to 100,000 cores (picture above) during this course. The Big Data for Science course was held July 26-30.
Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, MSI Fellow and Director of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, uses MSI's supercomputers to perform numerical simulations of wind and hydrokinetic turbine flows. These models show the interaction of the wind between turbines and the ground and between two or more turbines. The image above shows results from one of the models: it shows simulations of air currents in the wake of a two-blade wind turbine rotor. This research will directly affect the way that wind farms are designed.
MSI celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 30 with a Research Exhibition. Over 40 MSI research groups presented posters about their work using MSI resources. A panel of distinguished MSI PIs judged the posters and selected four First Prize winners and one Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize went to Pierre Carrier of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering for his poster, "Optical Response and Curvature Effects in Si Nanocrystals Embedded in SiO2 Using PARSEC." You can see pictures of all the finalists here. The image is from Dr. Carrier's winning poster.
Understanding the mechanics of nanomaterials is important both fundamentally and practically because, by capitalizing on the science emerging from the newly accessible size range, engineers can develop electromechanical devices, machines, and electronics on the nano scale. Professor Traian Dumitrica (Mechanical Engineering, MSI Associate Fellow) and his research group and collaborators use advanced computational microscopic methods to obtain accurate nanomechanical responses and to understand the fascinating properties of nanostructures directly from the interatomic interactions and the quantum mechanics of the electrons. The figure above shows how nanotubes break in one of two ways: the bonds either snap in a brittle fashion or they stretch and deform. An article about this research appears in the Spring 2010 MSI Research Bulletin.