Interview on “Superior” Supercomputer

Computational StructureAny university involved in compute-intensive research would love to have a supercomputer at its disposal. Michigan Technological University is one of the fortunate ones to have a super-fast machine accessible by the entire research community on campus. The computer is known as “Superior” and we sat down with Gowtham S., Director of Research Computing at the University, to hear more about it.

insideHPC: The system’s installation just had its one year anniversary. What are some of the current projects that are harnessing all of this power?

Gowtham S.: Modeling the circulation and particle transport in the Great Lakes system, multi scale modeling of advanced materials and structures, nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications, and unsupervised learning in Big Data and social networks are some of the on going projects that use the power of Superior. Here is the complete listing of all 30 projects.

These projects have produced nearly two dozen publications as well, and several proposals are underway for even more projects. That makes us quite happy.

Read the full interview at insideHPC.

This interview refers to seven projects within the College of Sciences and Arts, with research faculty in the Departments of Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics.

  • CS, Laura Brown, Towards a reliable method for comparing large scale machine learning algorithms
  • CS, Ali Ebnenasir, Computational synthesis of self-stabilizing protocols
  • CS, Chaoli Wang, High-performance parallel analysis and visualization of Big Data
  • Chemistry, Loredana Valenzano, Investigations in computational chemistry
  • Physics, Johana Chirinos, Investigations in ultra-high-energy cosmic ray physics
  • Physics, Ranjit Pati, Computational study of charge and spin transport in nano-scale junctions from first-principles
  • Physics, Ravindra Pandey, Computational studies of nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications

Humanities Filmmakers are 2014 Lecturers of the Year

YooperaSenior Lecturer Erin Smith, director of the Humanities Digital Media Zone, and alumna Suzanne Jurva ’82 have been named the Finlandia Foundation National’s Lecturers of the Year for 2014. The filmmaking team produced the documentary, Yoopera!

The film’s title combines the word for UP residents–Yoopers–and the Finnish word for opera–ooppera. The documentary tells the story of the collaboration of Finnish and American talent in the making of “Rockland: the Opera,” an opera that focuses on events around the shooting deaths of two Finnish miners during a labor strike in the UP mining town of Rockland in 1906. “Rockland: the Opera” premiered in Houghton and in Finland in 2011.

“Our film looks at how our small, remote community was able to commission a major opera and build an audience for it through the efforts of community artist Mary Wright and her Story Line Project,” says Smith. “We are just completing a new edit of the film for submission to film festivals and are screening the film at various Finlandia Foundation chapter events around the country this year.”

Jurva, an award-winning filmmaker and Michigan native who now lives in Atlanta, directed and produced the documentary. Smith, who teaches digital media and film at Michigan Tech, is its editor.

From Tech Today.


Former Physics Faculty Robert Mount

Robert MountProfessor Emeritus Robert H. “Bob” Mount, a longtime member of the physics faculty, passed away July 2 at his home in Hancock. He was 86 years old.

Mount came to Michigan Tech in 1954 from Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., where he was employed as the chief geologist. He retired from the University in 2000. For much of his career, he taught introductory physics courses. “His 46 years of service is the second-longest in department history—the longest being James Fisher,” said physics professor Bryan Suits.

His colleagues remember Mount as health conscious. “His extensive early-morning exercise routine was very important to him,” Suits said. “He would retire early so he could get up at 3 or 4 a.m. to do his workout. Hence, he often passed when it came to attending the department’s evening events—they were past his bedtime.”

Read more at Tech Today.


Sue Bagley Honored by Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology

Sue Bagley
Sue Bagley

Susan T. Bagley, professor professor emerita of environmental microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received the Charles Porter Award from the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB).

This award recognizes longtime members for outstanding, sustained service to the society for seven or more years. Bagley has over 35 years’ experience as an environmental microbiologist, working in academia and government on microbial-based treatment of air, waterborne and industrial organic wastes; microbial production of bio-based fuels; and mutagenicity and toxicity of environmental pollutants.

She has received research funding from a wide range of governmental, industrial and foundation sources and has coauthored more than 85 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and reports. Most of these studies have involved multidisciplinary collaborations with faculty and students. She taught introductory courses in microbiology plus applied and industrial microbiology and microbial physiology for senior undergraduate and graduate students.

Bagley has been a SIMB member since 1997 and has served in a range of positions, including president, editor-in-chief of SIMB News, and chair of the Nominations, Planning, and Annual Meeting and Exposition Program Committees. In addition, she has been a member of the Finance, Publications, and other Annual Meeting and Exposition Program committees.

She is a senior editor and co-chair of the Presidential Committee on Diversity, working to establish a standing SIMB Diversity Committee. She has also chaired numerous Annual Meeting sessions. Outside of SIMB, she serves the American Society for Microbiology as editor-in-chief of the MicrobeLibrary, a member of the Education Board and the Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology and as coordinator of the new Speakers’ Bureau, encouraging undergraduates to consider careers industrial microbiology and biotechnology.

From Tech Today.



Michigan Tech Employee Service Recognition Event

On Wednesday, May 14, faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service to Michigan Tech.

Within the College of Sciences and Arts, the following employees were recognized.

25 Years
Lois Blau, Chemistry

30 Years
Diane Shoos, Humanities
Karen Kangas, College of Sciences and Arts
Robert Kolkka, Mathematical Sciences

40 Years
Bradley Baltensperger, Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Retirees
Steven Seidel, Computer Sciences
Susan Bagley, Biological Sciences

Read more at Tech Today.


Michigan Tech Spring 2014 Commencement

Commencement 2014The next generation
Michigan Tech holds commencement

Nearly 1,000 graduates were honored at Michigan Technological University’s Spring Commencement Saturday with 747 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, 203 master’s degrees and 38 Ph.D.s.

Student speaker Collin Doerr-Newton, a sound design major who was chosen to speak after submitting and reciting his speech to a panel, likened Michigan Tech to a piece of music.

Leland D. Melvin, a former astronaut and associate administrator for education at NASA, shared his journey to space with the graduates as the featured speaker.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Meagan Stilp.


Air Force and Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets Take Oath of Office

ROTC Oath 2014Taking the oath
7 Army, 13 Air Force offices commissioned

Each of the seven Army ROTC cadets was introduced by Lt. Col. Adam Melnitsky, Battalion Commander and professor of military science at Michigan Tech.

Lt. Col. Michael Brothers also introduced each of the 13 graduating Air Force ROTC cadets, making sure to share an embarrassing story when possible.

After the oath of office, each cadet exchanged his or her first salute with a service member then handed over a silver dollar – a tradition dubbed the “Silver Dollar Salute” dating back to before the U.S. Armed Forces were organized.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Meagan Stilp.


Wallace Wins Faculty Service Award

Charles Wallace
Charles Wallace

The Faculty Distinguished Service Award Committee has announced Charles “Chuck” Wallace, associate professor and interim department chair, Department of Computer Science, as the 2014 recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Service Award for his outreach activities in the community.

“I congratulate Chuck on this well-deserved recognition and add my thanks,” said Max Seel, provost. “This type of extensive continuous outreach is well beyond the normal service expectations of a faculty member.”

Read more at Tech Today, by Danny Messinger.


Kathleen Halvorsen Wins Research Award

Kathleen Halvorsen
Kathleen Halvorsen

Kathleen Halvorsen, whose scholarship bridges social and policy sciences relating to climate change, has been chosen to receive Michigan Technological University’s 2014 Research Award.

Professor Alex Mayer, who nominated Halvorsen for the award, called her “a major force in joining social science with natural science and engineering disciplines.” She is a professor in both the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

“[H]er most noteworthy contributions are advancing research into biologically derived fuels, fostering interdisciplinary research and spearheading Michigan Tech’s environmental and energy policy graduate programs,” Mayer said. “Professor Halvorsen has shown a remarkable ability to bring literally dozens of colleagues together to craft proposals and lead projects which advance science and international collaborations across continents.”

Read more at Tech Today, by Marcia Goodrich.