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The first stars of the early days of the universe hold the key to understanding the formation of the first heavy elements and first galaxies. These stars, which were very massive, died as Pair Instability Supernovae (PSNs). During the 2010 MSI Research Exhibition, graduate student Ke-Jung (Ken) Chen, a member of Professor Alexander Heger's research group in the School of Physics and Astronomy, presented a poster concerning research into the energetics, hydrodynamic instabilities, and nucleosynthesis of PSNs. The poster was selected as one of the finalists by the Exhibition judges and an article about this work will appear in the Spring 2011 MSI Research Bulletin. The image is from a simulation of a PSN model. The 2011 MSI Research Exhibition will be held on April 25.
MSI's newest supercomputer system, Koronis, will soon be ready for use by MSI researchers. Koronis is based on an SGI UV 1000 supercomputer and was funded by an NIH grant. MSI researchers who have grants from NIH are eligible to use the system. MSI's Acceptance Testing is ongoing. Complete information about Koronis and how to get access to the system will be posted on our website as it becomes available.
A group of MSI researchers from several departments are combining their expertise and making exciting new contributions in the field of biomedicine. These collaborators, highlighted in the Fall 2010 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin, are from the Interactive Visualization Lab in the computer science and engineering department, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, and the Medical Devices Center. The group uses MSI resources to create computational models to study fluid flow and to design medical devices. The image above shows simulated flow through a synthetic heart valve as it opens and closes with the beat of the heart inside of a patient-specific model of the left ventricle and aorta . A poster about this work was a finalist in the 2010 MSI Research Exhibition.
Computational chemists apply chemistry, mathematics, and computing to interesting chemical problems. Using efficient computer codes and fast, powerful machines, computational chemists can generate the properties of molecules and simulate experimental results. Highlights of the work of three computational chemists using MSI---Professors and MSI Fellows Chris Cramer, Jiali Gao, and Don Truhlar---appear in MSI's Annual Research Highlights 2010. The figure is an illustration detail from the Cramer group's research description. Because of the complexity of the problems, supercomputers are important to this branch of chemistry. Professor Cramer recently told us that the new Itasca system has increased his group's productivity several-fold.
AFTOL: Resolving the Evolutionary History of the Fungi is a project that involves researchers at ten universities and many collaborators in the mycological community. It will contribute to understanding the lineage of fungi---fungi phylogeny---at multiple levels and will promote training and education in fungal biology. In support of this project, the research group of Professor David J. McLaughlin (Plant Biology) is coordinating analysis of subcellular characters as well as studying molecular phylogenetics of selected species. Part of this project includes the development of a Structural and Biochemical Database. This database will become a major resource for the scientific community, managing and providing morphological and biochemical information on fungi and serving as a phyloinformatics tool.