2015-2016 Education Snapshot

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Students at the U-M satellite site of the XSEDE 2016 Summer Bootcamp

We have over 80 students between our Ph.D. in Scientific Computing and the Graduate Certificate in Computational Discovery and Engineering. The students come from five different schools and colleges, and 30 percent are women. We also have partnered with the Multidisciplinary Design Program to offer our Masters students the experience to work on industrial projects and gain practicum credits.

Our faculty have designed two courses that are being offered for the first time: Methods and Practices of Scientific Computing in Fall 2016 and Data-Driven Analysis and Modeling of Complex Systems in Winter 2017. Methods and Practices of Scientific Computing has gathered a tremendous amount of interest, and very quickly was over-subscribed. Data-Driven Analysis and Modeling of Complex Systems is a fast paced research area that combines scientific computing with big data to improve the existing models’ accuracy and representation of physical and biological systems.

Scientific Computing Student Club social gathering

Scientific Computing Student Club social gathering

We have brought a large community of students together by sponsoring and helping found the Scientific Computing Student Club. Its goal is to become a place for all students that use or want to use high performance computing to meet, share ideas, and find peer-to-peer help. It started in February, with social gatherings, talks from expert speakers, and more. The club has nearly 200 members, including undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs from six U-M schools and colleges.

2015-2016 Outreach and Industrial Engagement Snapshot

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High school students at miRcore’s GIDAS 2016 Biotechnology Summer Camp working on Flux

We have been working closely with miRcorea nonprofit that supports genetics research. MICDE sponsors compute cycles on Flux for high school students learning how to conduct computational biology research. We have also approached the Society of Women Engineers, U-M chapter, with the goal of  promoting scientific computing through their outreach programs.  

Intel, Cray and Altera experts talking about FPGAs and Scientific Computing



Our connections to industry have increased and we are constantly exploring new opportunities. Our ConFlux cluster architecture was designed in collaboration with IBM’s experts, and our work with them still continues. In May, MICDE hosted an internal workshop on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) in collaboration with experts from Intel and Cray. We have established a software partnership with MSC Software to enable access for MICDE student projects. Together with the U-M Business Engagement Center, we are creating an affiliates program for companies to invest in our research.



2015-2016 MICDE Research Snapshot

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Professor Karthik Duraisamy (U-M Aerospace Engineering) demonstrates data-driven turbulence modeling.

The Center for Data-Driven Computational Physics was established as a place to concentrate data-driven modeling research across campus. Its activities are focused on ConFlux, a $3.5M groundbreaking cluster funded by NSF with a unique architecture that connects big-data with traditional HPC clusters. ConFlux went online in April, and several teams are already using it, with five projects participating, totaling more than $3M to advance data-driven modeling. Soon, we expect to announce even more successes that are directly attributable to our pioneering role in this research area. 

The Center for Network and Storage-Enabled Collaborative Computational Science was established to tackle the challenges of extracting scientific results collaboratively from large, distributed or diverse data. This research center is a product of the Open Storage Research Infrastructure (OSiRIS), a $5M multi-institutional NSF investment, and is led by MICDE affiliated  research faculty Shawn McKee.

We hosted 16 internationally known speakers in our seminar series, and had a very successful symposium. With speakers including NSF’s ACI Director Irene Qualters, Tom Hughes from ICES, James Sethian from UC Berkeley, Charbel Farhat from Stanford, and Peter Haas from IBM, these events outlined top priorities in our fields, latest research and computing infrastructure, and increased  awareness of the quality and trend-imposing nature of research activities going on at U-M.


Jim Belak (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) delivers a talk titled “Preparing for the Future of Computing: Bridging Scales within the Exascale Materials Co-design Center” as part of MICDE Winter 2016 Seminar Series.

MICDE is coordinating or supporting several large proposal submissions to federal agencies. We offer institutional support and our established educational programs to the faculty teams writing these grants. With the backing of our parent unit, Advanced Research Computing, and their technical and consulting services (ARC-Technology Services, and Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research), our proposals have proven stronger by virtue of this support in place behind them.

MICDE also is working with the academic units at U-M to identify compelling new directions for hiring faculty who will drive computational science in the future, and supporting these hiring processes. Many of these blue-sky ideas have come from thematic, faculty-led workshops, which we will continue to organize.

U-M, Yottabyte partner to accelerate data-intensive research

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CONTACT: Dan Meisler, ARC Communications Manager, 734-764-7414, dmeisler@umich.edu

A strategic partnership between the University of Michigan and software company Yottabyte promises to unleash a new wave of data-intensive research by providing a flexible computing cloud for complex computational analyses of sensitive and restricted data.

The Yottabyte Research Cloud will provide scientists high performance, secure and flexible computing environments that enable the analysis of sensitive data sets restricted by federal privacy laws, proprietary access agreements, or confidentiality requirements. Previously, the complexity of building secure and project-specific IT platforms often made the computational analysis of sensitive data prohibitively costly and time consuming.

The system is built on $5.5 million worth of hardware and software donated to the University by Yottabyte; U-M will provide $2 million to support delivery of services to researchers and general operations.

Brahmajee Nallamothu, professor of internal medicine, tested a pilot installation of the Yottabyte Research Cloud at the U-M Institute of Healthcare Policy and Innovation for his research on such topics as predictors of opioid use after surgery and the costs and uses of cancer screenings under the Affordable Care Act.

“We recently moved a healthcare claims database, which is multiple terabytes in size and requires a great deal of memory and fast storage to process, onto the pilot platform,” Nallamothu said. “The platform allows us to immediately increase or decrease computing resources to meet demand while permitting multiple users to access the data safely and remotely. Our previous setup relied on network storage and self-managed hardware, which was extremely inefficient compared to what we can do now.”

“The Yottabyte Research Cloud will improve research productivity by reducing the cost and time required to create the individualized, secure computing platforms that are increasingly necessary to support scientific discovery in the age of Big Data,” said Eric Michielssen, associate vice president for advanced research computing at U-M.

“With the Yottabyte Research Cloud, researchers will be able to ask more questions, faster, of the ever-expanding and massive sets of data collected for their work,” said Yottabyte CEO Paul E. Hodges, III. “We are very pleased to be a part of the diverse and challenging research environment at U-M. This partnership is a great opportunity to develop and refine computing tools that will increase the productivity of U-M’s world class researchers.”

Many U-M scientists are working on a variety of research projects that could benefit from use of the Yottabyte Research Cloud:

  • Healthcare research, for example in precision medicine, often requires working with sensitive patient information and large volumes of diverse data types. This research can yield results that positively impact patients’ lives, but often involves the analysis of millions of clinical observations that can include genomic, hospital, outpatient, pharmaceutical, laboratory and cost data. This requires a secure high performance computing ecosystem coupled to massive amounts of multi-tiered storage.
  • In the social sciences, U-M research requires secure, remote access to sensitive research data about substance abuse, mental health, and other topics.
  • Transportation researchers who mine large and sensitive datasets — for example, a 24 Terabyte dataset that includes videos of drivers’ faces and GPS traces of their journeys — also stand to benefit from the security features and computing power.
  • In learning analytics, studies of the persistence of teacher effects on student learning could benefit from the enclaves to store and analyze data that includes observational measures scored from classroom videos, and elementary and middle school students’ scores on standardized tests.
  • Researchers in brain science will be able to use the Yottabyte Research Cloud to investigate a wide range of topics including  the effects of aging on brain function and structure and how we focus our attention in the presence of distraction.

The Yottabyte Research Cloud is U-M’s first foray into software-defined infrastructure for research, allowing on-the-fly personalized configuration of any-scale computing resources, which promises to change the way traditional IT infrastructure systems are deployed across the research community.  

More about Yottabyte:  www.yottabyte.com.

More about Yottabyte Research Cloud: arc-ts.umich.edu/yrc

Questions: dmeisler@umich.edu