27, No. 1, July 5, 2007
Fellows embark on diverse projects with NCSA
Eleven researchers from the UI and six scholars from other institutions will receive fellowships enabling them to work closely with staff members at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
“NCSA’s fellowships enable researchers to address their most challenging research questions with the assistance of our expert staff and the benefit of our expertise in information technology, high-performance computing, data analysis and other critical areas,” said NCSA director Thom Dunning. “Our mission is to advance discovery by empowering our collaborators.”
Summer fellowships provide financial support, including local housing and travel expenses, for researchers from other institutions, while UI faculty members can receive up to $36,000 for collaborative projects.
2007-2008 UI faculty fellows:
- Michael Aref, nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering, seeks to improve diagnostic imaging of tumors and will work with Volodymyr Kindratenko, a researcher in NCSA’s Innovative Systems Laboratory, to explore the hardware and software that will provide the rapid computation needed in a clinical setting.
- Roy Campbell, computer science, and Guy Garnett, School of Music, are interested in combining their efforts to develop tools to create virtual worlds with NCSA’s expertise in collaborative computing and cyberenvironments. The goal is to develop a framework for building 3-D virtual environments for the sciences, education and the arts.
- Caroline A. Haythornthwaite, library and information sciences, will work with NCSA’s Michael Welge and Xavier Llora to develop techniques and tools to analyze the “communal conversation” created through e-mail, bulletin boards, chat and blogs.
- Praveen Kumar, civil and environmental engineering, will collaborate with NCSA’s Peter Bajcsy to explore the requirements for and begin development of cyberinfrastructure for remote sensing informatics. The goal is to enable scientific investigations, modeling, prediction and decision support for a variety of earth system and environmental science disciplines, such as hydrology, climatology and ecology.
- Todd Martinez, chemistry, wants to create tools for molecular dynamics simulations and analysis that can be shared, for free, with the research community. He and his team will work with NCSA’s Sudhakar Pamidighantam, who is involved in the GridChem project, which helps chemistry researchers tap grid-computing power.
- Arif Masud, civil and environmental engineering, will tackle the life-threatening problem of how clots form in blood as it flows through the human body. Blood clots and strokes cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year. Working with Nahil Sobh, the leader of NCSA’s Performance Engineering and Computational Methods group, Masud hopes to improve the code he has developed to computationally model clot formation.
- Wayne Pitard, religious studies, collaborates with the University of Southern California on InscriptiFact, an image database application that makes high-resolution images of ancient inscriptions from the Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds available by means of the Web. NCSA and the Illinois Center for Computing in Arts, Humanities and Social Science will help the project expand to include 100,000 images and more sophisticated data analysis tools.
- Michael Shaw, business administration, plans to apply high-performance computing in the business realm, exploring business analytics, decision support and risk analysis. He will work with NCSA’s Bob Wilhelmson and Welge.
- Saurabh Sinha, computer science, will analyze the recently sequenced honey bee genome in an effort to understand the molecular basis of the bee’s social behavior. Comparing genomic information requires vast computing power, so NCSA will assist Sinha with adapting genomics tools to take advantage of cluster and grid computing systems and will provide expertise in data management and analysis.
- Sheng Zhong, bioengineering, will collaborate with NCSA’s Eric Jakobsson in an effort to better understand the mechanism that gives embryonic stem cells such potential for the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Zhong also plans to develop a package of tools for biophysical modeling that could be made available to other researchers.
For more information, go to fellowships.ncsa.uiuc.edu.