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Eric Michielssen honored for paper describing new algorithm to solve Maxwell’s equations

By | General Interest, Happenings, News

Eric Michielssen, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing, has won the Sergei A. Schelkunoff Transactions Prize Paper Award for research impacting the ability to rapidly analyze electromagnetic phenomena.

This award is presented to the authors of the best paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation during the previous year.

The 2017 paper, “A Butterfly-Based Direct Integral-Equation Solver Using Hierarchical LU Factorization for Analyzing Scattering From Electrically Large Conducting Objects,“ co-authored by Han Guo (ECE doctoral student), Yang Liu (MSE PHD, EE, 2013 2015; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), and Prof. Jun Hu (UESTC), describes a new algorithm for solving Maxwell’s equations that is orders of magnitude faster than prior algorithms, opening the door to its use for the design and optimization of electromagnetic devices.

For more, see the College of Engineering press release.

MICDE to provide data analysis and dissemination support for $18 million tobacco research center

By | General Interest, Happenings, News, Research

The University of Michigan School of Public Health will house a new, multi-institutional center focusing on modeling and predicting the impact of tobacco regulation, funded with an $18 million federal grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Center for the Assessment of the Public Health Impact of Tobacco Regulations will be part of the NIH and FDA’s Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science, the centerpiece of an ongoing partnership formed in 2013 to generate critical research that informs the regulation of tobacco products.

The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE) will support the center’s Data Analysis and Dissemination core by collecting national and regional survey data, conducting analysis of the use of tobacco products including vaping and e-cigarettes, and disseminate the resulting tobacco modeling parameters to other research centers and the Food and Drug Administration.

The center is led by MICDE affiliated faculty member Rafael Meza, associate professor of Epidemiology, and David Levy, professor of Oncology at Georgetown University.

For more on the center, see the press release from the U-M School of Public Health: https://sph.umich.edu/news/2018posts/tcors-091718.html

U-M part of new software institute on high-energy physics

By | General Interest, Happenings, News, Research

The University of Michigan is part of an NSF-supported 17-university coalition dedicated to creating next-generation computing power to support high-energy physics research.

Led by Princeton University, the Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High Energy Physics (IRIS-HEP) will focus on developing software and expertise to enable a new era of discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Shawn McKee, Research Scientist in the U-M Department of Physics, is a co-PI of the institute. His work will focus on integrating and extending the Open Storage Grid networking activities with similar efforts at the LHC.

For more information, see Princeton’s press release, and the NSF’s announcement.

New course for fall 2018: On-Ramp to Data Science for Chemical Engineers

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

Description: Engineers are encountering and generating a ever-growing body of data and recognizing the utility of applying data science (DataSci) approaches to extract knowledge from that data. A common barrier to learning DataSci is the stack of prerequisite courses that cannot fit into the typical engineering student schedule. This class will remove this barrier by, in one semester, covering essential foundational concepts that are not part of many engineering disciplines’ core curricula. These include: good programming practices, data structures, linear algebra, numerical methods, algorithms, probability, and statistics. The class’s focus will be on how these topics relate to data science and to provide context for further self-study.

Eligibility: College of Engineering students, pending instructor approval.

More information: http://myumi.ch/LzqPq

Instructor: Heather Mayes, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, hbmayes@umich.edu.

University of Michigan awarded Women in High Performance Computing chapter

By | General Interest, News

The University of Michigan has been recognized as one of the first Chapters in the new Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) Pilot Program.

“The WHPC Chapter Pilot will enable us to reach an ever-increasing community of women, provide these women with the networks that we recognize are essential for them excelling in their career, and retaining them in the workforce.” says Dr. Sharon Broude Geva, WHPC’s Director of Chapters and Director of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) at the University of Michigan (U-M). “At the same time, we envisage that the new Chapters will be able to tailor their activities to the needs of their local community, as we know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to diversity.”

“At WHPC we are delighted to be accepting the University of Michigan as a Chapter under the pilot program, and working with them to build a sustainable solution to diversifying the international HPC landscape” said Dr. Toni Collis, Chair and co-founder of WHPC, and Chief Business Development Officer at Appentra Solutions.

The process of selecting organizations to participate in the program accounted for potential conflicts of interest; Geva did not vote on U-M’s application.

About Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) and the Chapters and Affiliates Pilot Program

Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) was created with the vision to encourage women to participate in the HPC community by providing fellowship, education, and support to women and the organizations that employ them. Through collaboration and networking, WHPC strives to bring together women in HPC and technical computing while encouraging women to engage in outreach activities and improve the visibility of inspirational role models.

WHPC has launched a pilot program for groups to become Affiliates or Chapters. The program will share the knowledge and expertise of WHPC as well as help to tailor activities and develop diversity and inclusion goals suitable to the needs of local HPC communities. During the pilot, WHPC will work with the Chapters and Affiliates to support and promote the work of women in their organizations, develop crucial role models, and assist employers in the recruitment and retention of a diverse and inclusive HPC workforce.

WHPC is stewarded by EPCC at the University of Edinburgh. For more information visit http://www.womeninhpc.org.  

For more information on the U-M chapter, contact Dr. Geva at sgeva@umich.edu.

MICDE awards seven Catalyst Grants

By | General Interest, Happenings, News, Research

The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering has awarded its second round of Catalyst Grants, providing between $80,000 and $90,000 each to seven innovative projects in computational science. The proposals were judged on novelty, likelihood of success at catalyzing larger programs and potential to leverage ARC’s computing resources.

The funded projects are:

Title: Exploring Quantum Embedding Methods for Quantum Computing
Researchers: Emanuel Gull, Physics; Dominika Zgid, Chemistry.
Description: The research team will design quantum embedding algorithms that can be early adopters of quantum computers on development of advanced materials for possible applications in modern batteries, next-generation oxide electronics, or high-temperature superconducting power cables.

Title: Teaching autonomous soft machines to swim
Researchers: Silas Alben, Mathematics; Robert Deegan, Physics; Alex Gorodetsky, Aerospace Engineering
Description: Self-oscillating gels are polymeric materials that change shape, driven by chemical reactions occurring entirely within the gel. The research team will develop a computational and machine learning program to discover how to configure self-oscillating gels so that they undergo deformations that result in swimming. The long term goal is to develop a general framework for controlling autonomous soft machines.

Title: Urban Flood Modeling at “Human Action” Scale: Harnessing the Power of Reduced-Order Approaches and Uncertainty Quantification
Researchers: Valeriy Ivanov, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Nikolaos Katopodes, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Darren McKague Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering; Khachik Sargsyan, Sandia National Labs.
Description: The research team will demonstrate urban flood monitoring and prediction capabilities using NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) data and relying on state-of-the-science uncertainty quantification tools in a proof-of-concept urban flooding problem of high complexity.

Title: Advancing the Computational Frontiers of Solution-Adaptive, Scale-Aware Climate Models
Researchers: Christiane Jablonowski, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering; Hans Johansen, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Description: Researchers will further develop a 3-D mesh adaptation model for climate modeling, allowing computational resources to be focused on phenomena of interest such as tropical cyclones or other extreme weather events. The project will also introduce data-driven machine learning paradigms into modeling of clouds and precipitation.

Title: Deciphering the meaning of human brain rhythms using novel algorithms and massive, rare datasets
Researchers: Omar Ahmed, Psychology, Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering
Description: The team will develop a set of algorithms for use on high performance computers to analyze de-identified brain data from patients in order to better understand what electrical oscillations tell us about rapidly changing behavioral and pathological brain states.

Title: Embedded Machine Learning Systems To Sense and Understand Pollinator Behavior
Researchers: Robert Dick, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Fernanda Valdovinos Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Center for Complex Systems; Paul Glaum, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Description: To understand the mechanisms driving the population dynamics of pollinators, the research team will develop technologies for deeply embedded hardware/software learning systems capable of remote, long term, autonomous operation; and will analyze the resulting new data to better understand pollinator activity.

Title: Deep Learning for Phylogenetic Inference
Researchers: Jianzhi Zhang, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Yuanfang Guan, Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics.
Description: The research team will use deep neural networks to infer molecular phylogenies and extract phylogenetically useful patterns from amino acid or nucleotide sequences, which will help understand evolutionary mechanisms and build evolutionary models for a variety of analyses.

For more on the Catalyst Grants, see http://micde.umich.edu/catalyst/.

CASC image competition open for submissions

By | General Interest, Happenings, News

The image competition for the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) 2019 annual brochure is now open. Winning images will be featured in the brochure, which is distributed to industry, government and academia. An image from U-M Aerospace Engineering Professor Joaquim Martins was on the cover of the 2016 edition, and several U-M investigators have had their work featured in the brochure in other years.

Images will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Illustrative of research underway at the center submitting the proposed images
  • Focus on research that offers a broad representation of what CASC members have undertaken
  • Timeliness of visualization relative to events currently in the news
  • Exhibits intellectual merit
  • Provides scientific, cultural, economic impact
  • Compelling, visually interesting, lively, colorful images in a  high-resolution format

Please send potential submissions to Dan Meisler, ARC Communications Manager, at dmeisler@umich.edu. The deadline is June 11, 2018.

ARC-TS begins work on new “Great Lakes” cluster to replace Flux

By | Flux, Happenings, HPC, News

Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS) is starting the process of creating a new, campus-wide computing cluster, “Great Lakes,” that will serve the broad needs of researchers across the University. Over time, Great Lakes will replace Flux, the shared research computing cluster that currently serves over 300 research projects and 2,500 active users.

“Researchers will see improved performance, flexibility and reliability associated with newly purchased hardware, as well as changes in policies that will result in greater efficiencies and ease of use,” said Brock Palen, director of ARC-TS.

The Great Lakes cluster will be available to all researchers on campus for simulation, modeling, machine learning, data science, genomics, and more. The platform will provide a balanced combination of computing power, I/O performance, storage capability, and accelerators.

ARC-TS is in the process of procuring the cluster. Only minimal interruption to ongoing research is expected. A “Beta” cluster will be available to help researchers learn the new system before Great Lakes is deployed in the first half of 2019.

The Flux cluster is approximately 8 years old, although many of the individual nodes are newer. One of the benefits of replacing the cluster is to create a more homogeneous platform.

Based on extensive input from faculty and other stakeholders across campus, the new Great Lakes cluster will be designed to deliver similar services and capabilities as Flux, including the ability to accommodate faculty purchases of hardware, access to GPUs and large-memory nodes, and improved support for emerging uses such as machine learning and genomics. The cluster will consist of approximately 20,000 cores.

For more information, contact hpc-support@umich.edu, and see arc-ts.umich.edu/systems-services/greatlakes, where updates to the project will be posted.

Eric Parish, Aero Ph.D student, wins Von Neumann Fellowship from Sandia National Labs

By | Happenings, News, Research

Eric Parish

Eric Parish, who will graduate this spring with a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering, is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious John von Neumann Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The highly competitive fellowship offers the opportunity to establish his own program at SNL to conduct innovative research in computational mathematics and scientific computing on advanced computing architectures.

Parish came to U-M from the University of Wyoming, and has developed innovative methodologies of computational math and physics with Prof. Karthik Duraisamy.

Parish said two of his accomplishments in his doctoral work have been developing data-driven solutions to computational physics problems using the NSF-funded ConFlux computing cluster, and bringing together ideas from statistical mechanics to develop efficient numerical solutions of complex partial differential equations.

“It was bridging a gap between communities,” he said of the latter effort.

“Eric came up with a particularly clever way of generalizing concepts from physics to develop a foundation to solve complex equations at a low cost in a mathematically rigorous fashion,” Duraisamy said. “He is one of the rare students who commands an exceptional grasp of applied mathematics, computing and physics, while being well-rounded in his organizational and communication skills. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with him.”

Parish said this research could eventually help usher the next generation of flight, for example, “hypersonic” aircraft that can travel at speeds of Mach 8-10. To help get there, his work moves the field toward a better understanding of the underlying physical phenomena via accurate numerical simulations.

At Sandia’s labs in Livermore, Calif., Parish said he plans to continue the work he started at U-M to develop “reduced order models”, which can process past simulation data to greatly reduce the computational cost of future simulations.

Parish said that conducting research at U-M, with the availability of high performance computing resources and a community of computational scientists to bounce ideas off of, helped push his research to a higher level.

“Within Aero, there are five or six very strong computational groups, which really helps me understand the fundamental aspects of what we’re doing, and what the addition of my small little delta means,” he said. “It’s very exciting to do computational research in that environment; it motivates me to come up with better code.”

In 2016, Parish received a $4,000 fellowship from the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE). He used some of the funds to attend the International Workshop on Variational Multiscale Methods in Spain last year, where he met a few dozen people from around the world working on similar problems.

“It was fantastic to network and learn from them,” he said.

Parish grew up in Laramie, Wyo., before attending the University of Wyoming, where he played Division 1 golf. He said there was a small but active computational science community at U-W.

“For its size, there was a lot of good computational stuff there,” he said, adding that 10 years ago he would never have predicted the current direction of his career.

Golf played a significant role in his development as well, Parish said: “Being a successful student-athlete takes an extraordinary amount of work. The successes and failures I had … played an integral part in the development of my work ethic, time management skills, mental attitude, and overall growth as a person…I believe that the experience I gained as a student-athlete gave me a unique perspective and skill set that I was able to use to my advantage.”

As far as his future goes after Sandia, Parish said he plans to either continue in the national lab environment or to explore faculty positions so that he can teach and motivate students as his professors at Wyoming and Michigan did for him.

“I’m grateful for everyone’s help,” he said. “The doors that Michigan can open and the quality of people here are very apparent.”

A simulation of magnetohydrodynamic turbulence done on the ConFlux cluster with roughly 1 billion degree of freedom computation generating about 4TB of data.