U-M draws global attention for MOOC: Problem Solving using Computational Thinking

By | Educational, Feature, Research

Problem Solving using Computational Thinking, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched by the University of Michigan in November of 2019, has already drawn more than 1,200 learners from around the globe. The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering (MICDE) and the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation partnered to create this course. The idea for this MOOC arose from the team’s recognition of the ubiquity of computation. However, the developers were equally keen to distinguish this offering from MOOCs on programming and to instead highlight how broader computational thinking also makes its presence felt in somewhat unexpected domains.

Using computational thinking, the MOOC challenges learners with a series of real-world examples, including how it is possible to help plan and prepare for a flu season–a subject that has gained particular relevance in the months following the launch of this MOOC, track human rights violations or monitor the safety of crowds.

While enrollment numbers are encouraging, the work being done by learners within the MOOC is most inspiring. For their final project, learners have applied the computational thinking strategies discussed throughout the MOOC to a wide array of noble social problems in hopes of finding cogent solutions.

Not surprisingly, there have been several projects that seek to address challenges related to COVID 19.

The MOOC’s Epidemiology Case Study walks the student through the process of building a communicable disease transmission model.

One learner wrote: “For the final project, I am assuming the role of a member of the team responsible to combat COVID-19 from India and I have to decide on what should be our strategy to fight coronavirus in India, be it the extension of a lockdown or any other important decision related to this pandemic.”

In another project, a learner assuming the role of a Wuhan pathologist wrote that they must “decide what the Chinese government’s strategy against coronaviruses” should be.

Learners addressing today’s most pressing societal concerns, such as COVID-19, exemplifies the transformative potential of open-access, digital, and distance education made possible by a MOOC.

Across the board, the MOOC has received tremendously positive reviews, with an overall course rating of 5 out of 5 stars. One learner, in particular, wrote in their course review: “I really enjoyed this course! It got me prepared to study for an entry into a career working with computers!!” Another learner simply stated: “Fantastic, loved it!”

The developers of this MOOC are drawn from the School of Public Health, the College of Engineering, the School of Education and MICDE. Problem Solving using Computational Thinking is available in Coursera through Michigan Online. To learn more please visit online.umich.edu/courses/problem-solving-using-computational-thinking/.

U-M Tobacco Center, CAsToR, accepting applications for scholarships to enroll in short U-M summer courses

By | Educational, Funding Opportunities

The Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations (CAsToR) is accepting applications for scholarships to participate in a short course on tobacco simulation modeling, EPID730 Simulation Modeling of Tobacco Use, Health Effects and Policy Impacts,  or in the course EPID 793 Complex Systems Modeling for Public Health Research, to be offered during the University of Michigan Summer Session in Epidemiology (SSE) Program in 2020. Note that the courses will now be offered in an online format only.

New deadline to apply: 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday April 15, 2020

Additional details on both courses can be found here: sph.umich.edu/umsse/courses/1week.html.  A tentative course syllabus for EPID 730 can be found in this google doc. See the full RFA here. Please contact Katie Zarins (kmrents@umich.edu) with questions.

New MOOC in Computational Thinking has launched!

By | Educational, Feature, Happenings

The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering and the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation have partnered to launch a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled Problem Solving using Computational Thinking. The idea for this MOOC arose from the team’s recognition of the ubiquity of computation. However, the developers were equally keen to distinguish this offering from MOOCs on programming, and to instead highlight how broader computational thinking also makes its presence felt in somewhat unexpected domains. The MOOC is organized in a series of real-world examples that includes how, using computational thinking, it is possible to help plan and prepare for a flu season, track human rights violations or monitor the safety of crowds. The process of computational thinking that this MOOC focuses on ranges from problem identification, through abstraction to evaluating solutions. Problem Solving using Computational Thinking seeks to introduce students and teachers to the systematic thinking needed to conceptualize a problem with the intent of eventually using some computational tools to solve it.

The developers of this MOOC are drawn from the School of Public Health, the College of Engineering, the School of Education and MICDE. Problem Solving using Computational Thinking is available in Coursera through Michigan Online. To learn more please visit online.umich.edu/courses/problem-solving-using-computational-thinking/.

MICDE announces 2019-2020 fellowship recipients

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

The Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE) is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 MICDE Fellowship recipients. They were chosen to receive this honor because of their exceptional academic record and the outstanding promise of their research in computational sciences. Fellows are working on a wide range of groundbreaking problems, including the strategic interaction of parties and electors in democratic elections (S. Baltz, Political Science), the effects of disruption of synaptic signaling on neuronal structures (M. Budak, Biophysics),  and on the development of robust, efficient, and scalable algorithms for multidisciplinary design optimization applications applied to the design of the next generation of fuel-efficient aircrafts (A. Yildirim, Aerospace). The fellowships, which carry a $4,000 stipend, are meant to augment other sources of funding and are available to students in our three educational programs. Visit our fellowship page to learn more about the program and the fellows.

2019-2020 MICDE Fellows (from left to right) Guodong Chen (Aero), Suyash Tandon (ME), Jiale Tan (Epidemiology), Fuming Chang (ClaSp), Kelly Broen (Epidemiology), Bradley Dice (Physics), Liz Livingston (ME), Will Weaver (EEB), Yuan Yao (ME), Samuel Baltz (Pol Sci), Joe Hollowed (Physics), Minki Kim (ME), Allison Roessler (Chem), Chongxing Fan(ClaSp), Maral Budak (Biophysics), Saibal De (Math), Xian Yu (IOE), Jiaming Zhang (Physics). [Not pictured: Thomas Waltmann (Physics), Anil Yildirim (Aero), and Jessica Conrad (IAM)]

AWARDEES

Samuel Baltz, Political Science
Kelly Broen, Epidemiology
Maral Budak, Biophysics
Fuming Chang, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
Guodong Chen, Aerospace Engineering
Jessica Conrad, Applied & Interdisciplinary Mathematics
Saibal De, Applied & Interdisciplinary Mathematics
Bradley Dice, Physics
Chongxing Fan, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
Joseph Hollowed, Physics
Minki Kim, Mechanical Engineering
Elizabeth Livingston, Mechanical Engineering
Allison Roessler, Chemistry
Jiale Tan, Epidemiology
Suyash Tandon, Mechanical Engineering
Thomas Waltmann, Physics
William Weaver, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Yuan Yao, Mechanical Engineering
Anil Yildirim, Aerospace Engineering
Xian Yu, Industrial & Operations Engineering
Jiaming Zhang, Physics

Research Opportunity, Mechanical Engineering, TREE Lab – Summer 2019

By | Educational, Research, SC2, SC2 jobs

Dr. Bala Chandran’s Research Group, Mechanical Engineering, TREE Lab

Dr. Bala Chandran is seeking a highly motivated graduate (doctoral or masters) student interested in
doing research in the broad area of understanding radiative heat transfer in granular and
suspension flows via computational modeling for applications of high-temperature
energy storage and catalysis applications. Applicants are expected to have a sound
knowledge of fluid/continuum mechanics and the fundamentals of heat-transfer;
experience in complex fluids or multiphase flows is desirable, though not essential.
Applicants should be interested in the computational aspects of this project to develop
and write code.

Qualifications

  • Strong analytical and computational skills, and intellectual independence (i.e.,
    able to read books and papers and learn by oneself; able to apply theoretical
    knowledge to practical situations)
  • Relevant course work and experience related to
    • Undergraduate level fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, heat transfer,
      radiation, numerical methods and programming, computational fluid/solid
      mechanics
    • Graduate level courses on any/all of the above topics will be a plus point
  • Excellent professional and work ethic
  • Team player that is ready to interface with people developing experiments on
    this project

Application Procedure

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Prof. Bala Chandran
(rbchan@umich.edu) all the following documents AS SOON AS POSSIBLE:

  1. A 2-page CV with references listed
  2. Unofficial academic transcript
  3. 1 one-page (maximum) statement of interest that explains why you are best suited for working on the proposed research topic and indicates how you meet the required project criteria.
  4. Slides (maximum 5) that showcase your research experience and contributions

PhD student opening in Global Ocean Modeling and Scientific Computing

By | Educational, SC2 jobs

A PhD student is sought for a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded project in Global Ocean Modeling and Scientific Computing. The student will work with Professor Brian Arbic at the University of Michigan (U-M), Dr. Phillip Wolfram and Dr. Andrew Roberts of DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, and other DOE scientists. The student will be admitted to the PhD program of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and will attain a joint PhD in U-M’s Program in Scientific Computing.

Project Description

The project involves insertion of tides into the ocean component of the DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). The ocean component is based upon the Model Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) code, which uses a finite-element mesh to focus attention on coastal regions. With the addition of tidal forcing, the model will be an ideal tool with which to quantify the changes likely to occur in coastal areas over the next 50-100 years. The student will be strongly encouraged to spend significant time in Los Alamos, working alongside DOE scientists. The project is ideal for students who wish to apply the tools of scientific computing to societally relevant problems, in a university-DOE partnership with significant networking and travel opportunities. The project will increase the number of professionals familiar with both oceanography and computational science, an identified need in several federal ocean modeling centers including Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Application Procedure

  • Applicants must have strong quantitative and programming skills. Backgrounds in mathematics, computer science, physics, and related fields will be given highest consideration.
  • The preferred start date is January 1, 2020, but a start date of September 1, 2020 is also possible.
  • Students interested in applying to work with Professor Arbic should email their CV, unofficial transcript and cover letter, combined into a single PDF file to: Arbic-Ocean-Modeling-PhD@umich.edu. Questions about the project may also be sent to this email address.
  • In addition, an application to the PhD program in Earth and Environmental Sciences is required. See the Department website for application information. The application deadline to start in January 2020, is September 15, 2019. The application deadline for Fall 2020 is January 7, 2020.

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer and is supportive of the needs of dual career couples. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply

Women in HPC launches mentoring program

By | Educational, General Interest, HPC, News

Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) has launched a year-round mentoring program, providing a framework for women to provide or receive mentorship in high performance computing. Read more about the program at https://womeninhpc.org/2019/03/mentoring-programme-2019/

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.

The University of Michigan has been recognized as one of the first Chapters in the new Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) Pilot Program. Read more about U-M’s chapter at https://arc.umich.edu/whpc/

New campus-wide access to MATLAB

By | Educational, General Interest, News

U-M is offering a new, campus-wide license for MATLAB, Simulink, and companion products. All faculty, researchers, and students are eligible to download and install these products, including toolboxes such as:

  • Bioinformatics Toolbox
  • Control System Toolbox
  • Curve Fitting Toolbox
  • Data Acquisition Toolbox
  • Image Processing Toolbox
  • Instrument Control Toolbox
  • Optimization Toolbox
  • Parallel Computing Toolbox
  • Signal Processing Toolbox
  • Simscape
  • Simscape Multibody
  • Simulink Control Design
  • Stateflow
  • Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox
  • Symbolic Math Toolbox.

Access free, self-paced training to get started in less than 2 hours:  MATLAB Onramp.

Commercial use of MathWorks products is not covered by our TAH license, so if you are using a commercial license, please continue to do so. 

Read more…

Most CSCAR workshops will be free for the U-M community starting in January 2019

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

Beginning in January of 2019, most of CSCAR’s workshops will be offered free of charge to UM students, faculty, and staff.

CSCAR is able to do this thanks to funding from UM’s Data Science Initiative.  Registration for CSCAR workshops is still required, and seats are limited.

CSCAR requests that participants please cancel their registration if they decide not to attend a workshop for which they have previously registered.

Note that a small number of workshops hosted by CSCAR but taught by non-CSCAR personnel will continue to have a fee, and fees will continue to apply for people who are not UM students, faculty or staff.

U-M approves new graduate certificate in computational neuroscience

By | Educational, General Interest, Happenings, News

The new Graduate Certificate in Computational Neuroscience will help bridge the gap between experimentally focused studies and quantitative modeling and analysis, giving graduate students a chance to broaden their skill sets in the diversifying field of brain science.

“The broad, practical training provided in this certificate program will help prepare both quantitatively focused and lab-based students for the increasingly cross-disciplinary job market in neuroscience,” said Victoria Booth, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, who will oversee the program.

To earn the certificate, students will be required to take core computational neuroscience courses and cross-disciplinary courses outside of their home departments; participate in a specialized interdisciplinary journal club; and complete a practicum.

Cross-discplinary courses will depend on a student’s focus: students in experimental neuroscience programs will take quantitative coursework, and students in quantitative science programs such as physics, biophysics, mathematics and engineering will take neuroscience coursework.

The certificate was approved this fall, and will be jointly administered by the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) and the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).

For more information, visit micde.umich.edu/comput-neuro-certificate. Enrollment is not yet open, but information sessions will be scheduled early next year. Please register for the program’s mailing list if you’re interested.

Along with the Graduate Certificate in Computational Neuroscience, U-M offers several other graduate programs aimed at training students in computational and data-intensive science, including:

  • The Graduate Certificate in Computational Discovery and Engineering, which is focused on quantitative and computing techniques that can be applied broadly to all sciences.
  • The Graduate Certificate in Data Science, which specializes in statistical and computational methods required to analyze large data sets.
  • The Ph.D in Scientific Computing, intended for students who will make extensive use of large-scale computation, computational methods, or algorithms for advanced computer architectures in their doctoral studies. This degree is awarded jointly with an existing program, so that a student receives, for example, a Ph.D in Aerospace engineering and Scientific Computing.