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  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on March 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hello Quantum Vacuum Nice to See You", , “Back action”, , , , , NSF - National Science Foundation, , Quantum radiation pressure noise, Quantum vacuum or ‘"nothingness"   

    From Louisiana State University: “Hello, Quantum Vacuum, Nice to See You” 

    From Louisiana State University

    March 25, 2019

    Elsa Hahne
    LSU Office of Research & Economic Development

    Mimi LaValle
    LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy

    Thomas Corbitt, associate professor at the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, and his team of researchers measure quantum behavior at room temperature, visible to the naked eye, as reported today in the journal Nature.

    Thomas Corbitt in his lab, setting up a complex sequence of lasers.Elsa Hahne/LSU

    Since the historic finding of gravitational waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away was made in 2015, physicists are advancing knowledge about the limits on the precision of the measurements that will help improve the next generation of tools and technology used by gravitational wave scientists.

    Artist’s iconic conception of two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO Credit LIGO-Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State /Aurore Simonnet

    LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Associate Professor Thomas Corbitt and his team of researchers now present the first broadband, off-resonance measurement of quantum radiation pressure noise in the audio band, at frequencies relevant to gravitational wave detectors, as reported today in the scientific journal Nature. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, and the results hint at methods to improve the sensitivity of gravitational-wave detectors by developing techniques to mitigate the imprecision in measurements called “back action,” thus increasing the chances of detecting gravitational waves.

    Corbitt and researchers have developed physical devices that make it possible to observe—and hear—quantum effects at room temperature. It is often easier to measure quantum effects at very cold temperatures, while this approach brings them closer to human experience. Housed in miniature models of detectors like LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, one located in Livingston, La., and the other in Hanford, Wash.), these devices consist of low-loss, single-crystal micro-resonators—each a tiny mirror pad the size of a pin prick, suspended from a cantilever. A laser beam is directed at one of these mirrors, and as the beam is reflected, the fluctuating radiation pressure is enough to bend the cantilever structure, causing the mirror pad to vibrate, which creates noise.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    Localizations of gravitational-wave signals detected by LIGO in 2015 (GW150914, LVT151012, GW151226, GW170104), more recently, by the LIGO-Virgo network (GW170814, GW170817). After Virgo came online in August 2018

    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    Gravitational wave interferometers use as much laser power as possible in order to minimize the uncertainty caused by the measurement of discrete photons and to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. These higher power beams increase position accuracy but also increase back action, which is the uncertainty in the number of photons reflecting from a mirror that corresponds to a fluctuating force due to radiation pressure on the mirror, causing mechanical motion. Other types of noise, such as thermal noise, usually dominate over quantum radiation pressure noise, but Corbitt and his team, including collaborators at MIT, have sorted through them. Advanced LIGO and other second and third generation interferometers will be limited by quantum radiation pressure noise at low frequencies when running at their full laser power. Corbitt’s paper in Nature offers clues as to how researchers can work around this when measuring gravitational waves.

    Thomas Corbitt looks through the custom-built device used to measure quantum radiation pressure noise. Elsa Hahne/LSU

    “Given the imperative for more sensitive gravitational wave detectors, it is important to study the effects of quantum radiation pressure noise in a system similar to Advanced LIGO, which will be limited by quantum radiation pressure noise across a wide range of frequencies far from the mechanical resonance frequency of the test mass suspension,” Corbitt said.

    Corbitt’s former academic advisee and lead author of the Nature paper, Jonathan Cripe, graduated from LSU with a Ph.D. in Physics last year and is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

    “Day-to-day at LSU, as I was doing the background work of designing this experiment and the micro-mirrors and placing all of the optics on the table, I didn’t really think about the impact of the future results,” Cripe said. “I just focused on each individual step and took things one day at a time. [But] now that we have completed the experiment, it really is amazing to step back and think about the fact that quantum mechanics—something that seems otherworldly and removed from the daily human experience—is the main driver of the motion of a mirror that is visible to the human eye. The quantum vacuum, or ‘nothingness,’ can have an effect on something you can see.”

    Pedro Marronetti, a physicist and NSF program director, notes that it can be tricky to test new ideas for improving gravitational wave detectors, especially when reducing noise that can only be measured in a full-scale interferometer:

    “This breakthrough opens new opportunities for testing noise reduction,” he said. The relative simplicity of the approach makes it accessible by a wide range of research groups, potentially increasing participation from the broader scientific community in gravitational wave astrophysics.”

    For more information from LSU Physics & Astronomy, visit http://www.phys.lsu.edu.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Louisiana State University (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly referred to as LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    LSU is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of LSU’s graduate schools, such as the E.J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, LSU is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    LSU’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on March 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Multimessenger Diversity Network: astrophysics joins efforts to broaden participation in STEM", , , , , DOE-U.S. Department of Energy, , , NSF - National Science Foundation, ,   

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration- “The Multimessenger Diversity Network: astrophysics joins efforts to broaden participation in STEM” 

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration

    12 Mar 2019
    Sílvia Bravo

    This past weekend, the first members of the new Multimessenger Diversity Network (MDN) met at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where they were hosted by the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, headquarters of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

    The MDN foundational members are LIGO, VERITAS, and LSST observatories together with IceCube.

    CfA/VERITAS, a major ground-based gamma-ray observatory with an array of four 12m optical reflectors for gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV – TeV energy range. Located at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona, US in AZ, USA, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft)

    The LIGO and IceCube research facilities were built and are operated with support from the National Science Foundation, with contributions from several international agencies. LSST and VERITAS were constructed with funds from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, along with other international agencies. The MDN is an initiative under the umbrella of the INCLUDES National Network, a U.S. statewide program and, along with multimessenger astrophysics, one of the 10 “Big Ideas” for future NSF investments.

    Members of the Multimessenger Diversity Network met face to face for the first time in Madison, WI March 9-10. From left to right: Marcos Santander (IceCube), Jazmine Zuniga-Paiz (MDN student support), Keith Bechtol (LSST), Joey Shapiro Key (LIGO), Jim Madsen (IceCube Ass. Director for Education and Outreach), Segev BenZvi (IceCube), Frank McNally (IceCube), Lauren Corlies (LSST), Amy Furniss (VERITAS), Ellen Bechtol (MDN community manager). Reshmi Mukherjee (VERITAS) and Peter Couvares (LIGO) were not able to join this first meeting.

    The two-day workshop was designed to discuss the vision, goals, and expected outcomes of the network and included ample room for group-wide discussion as well as small group working time. At the end of the meeting, Amy Furniss, assistant professor at California State University, East Bay and representative from VERITAS, reflected, “The potential of MDN is tremendous. Getting everybody in the same room for two days, it became clear that we have so much we can learn from each other and do together in the field to make progress.”

    MDN representatives are poised to become diversity engagement fellows in their collaborations and observatories. This weekend’s meeting included a talk on community management from Lou Woodley, center director at the AAAS Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement. The CSCCE will offer further training to MDN members at the next in-person meeting of the network in July. Ultimately, MDN representatives will be liaisons between the different observatories and collaborations as well as promoters of collaborative efforts to broaden participation in the field. Segev BenZvi, assistant professor at the University of Rochester and a representative from IceCube, said, “Through MDN, we have an opportunity to promote multimessenger astronomy as an inclusive field. My hope is that the group can build up resources on successful (and unsuccessful) practices to improve equity and diversity, and make it very easy for members of our field to emulate the successes.”

    The MDN, a need and an opportunity

    Multimessenger astrophysics is coming into its own as a network of networks: scientific collaborations with members all around the world, working in experiments funded by agencies in dozens of countries and hosted by facilities in exciting and sometimes remote places on Earth and in space.

    During the last few years, some of the most important results in astrophysics and astronomy have come from collaborative multimessenger research. Now, this successful collaboration can also be the origin of transformative initiatives to broaden participation in astrophysics, physics, and astronomy.

    With support from the NSF INCLUDES program, IceCube invited other observatories to launch this network. After the kick-off meeting in Madison, the MDN will be looking for new partners in neutrino, gravitational-wave, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray astronomy along with astrophysics. Experiments exploring the universe with lower energy electromagnetic radiation are also welcome. As with science outcomes, every new partner adds valuable insights and expertise to the field.


    Astrophysics observatories are led and run by huge international teams, with great diversity in terms of cultures and geographical origins. However, as with many scientific disciplines, they lack diversity in terms of other demographic indicators, like gender and race, that have been shown to be sources of inequality.

    Increasing diversity and inclusion in multimessenger astronomy is not an easy endeavor. One challenge the multimessenger community faces is connecting with underrepresented communities who do not see suitable role models within these collaborations. The Multimessenger Diversity Network brings together several collaborations in the field to share knowledge, experiences, and practices around broadening participation and to develop shared resources and receive training. After a weekend of insightful discussions, Ellen Bechtol, outreach specialist at WIPAC and the MDN community manager, said, “It was great meeting everyone face to face. I think we all feel enthusiastic about our next steps and I look forward to what we will accomplish together.”

    The next steps of the MDN are continued monthly virtual meetings, a face-to-face meeting and training session with AAAS in July, and collaboration toward a white paper summarizing a long-term strategy for this new INCLUDES network, so that it becomes an enduring multimessenger collaborative effort.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, exploring the background of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves; their energies far exceed those produced by accelerator beams. IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometer of ice.

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated

    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated

  • richardmitnick 11:33 am on October 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , AO-Adaptive Optics, , , NSF - National Science Foundation, University of California   

    From Keck Observatory: “W. M. Keck Observatory Awarded NSF Grant To Develop Next-Generation Adaptive Optics System” 

    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level, with Subaru and IRTF (NASA Infrared Telescope Facility). Vadim Kurland

    From Keck Observatory

    Adaptive optics (AO) measures and then corrects the atmospheric turbulence using a deformable mirror that changes shape 1,000 times per second. Initially, AO relied on the light of a star that was both bright and close to the target celestial object. But there are only enough bright stars to allow AO correction in about one percent of the sky. In response, astronomers developed Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics using a special-purpose laser to excite sodium atoms that sit in an atmospheric layer 60 miles above Earth. Exciting the atoms in the sodium layers creates an artificial “star” for measuring atmospheric distortions, which allows the AO to produce sharp images of celestial objects positioned nearly anywhere in the sky. CREDIT: W. M. Keck Observatory/Andrew Richard Hara.

    Nearly two decades after pioneering the technology on large telescopes, W. M. Keck Observatory is once again pushing the boundaries in the field of adaptive optics (AO) after receiving a powerful boost of support.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Observatory funding through their Mid-Scale Innovations Program to build a next-generation AO system on the Keck I telescope. Called Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA), this futuristic technology will deliver significantly sharper images of the universe over nearly 100 percent of the night sky.

    “This is an exciting leap forward in our quest to overcome the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmosphere,” said Principal Investigator Peter Wizinowich, chief of technical development at Keck Observatory. “Having worked toward this project for over a decade, I am pleased to see this funding come to fruition, thanks to the NSF and also to our community’s commitment to maintaining Keck Observatory’s leadership in the cutting-edge science enabled by adaptive optics.”

    KAPA is designed to investigate some of modern astronomy’s greatest mysteries, including the following KAPA key science projects:

    1.Constrain theories of dark matter, dark energy, and cosmology using gravitational lensing of distant galaxies and quasars – Project Lead Tommaso Treu, UCLA Professor of Physics and Astronomy
    2.Test General Relativity and understanding supermassive black hole interactions in the extreme environment of the Galactic Center – Project Leads Andrea Ghez, UCLA Professor of Physics and Astronomy and director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group, and Mark Morris, UCLA Professor of Physics and Astronomy and member of the UCLA Galactic Center Group
    3.Study the evolution of galaxies’ metal-content and dynamics over cosmic time using rare, highly magnified galaxies – Project Leads Shelley Wright, UC San Diego Assistant Professor of Physics, and Claire Max, director of the University of California Observatories
    4.Find and study newly formed planets around nearby young stars via direct imaging and spectroscopy – Project Leads Michael Liu, Astronomer at University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy, and Dimitri Mawet, Caltech Associate Professor of Astronomy

    The KAPA leadership team also includes UC Berkeley Assistant Professor Jessica Lu as Project Scientist and Keck Observatory Senior Engineer Jason Chin as Project Manager.

    In keeping with Keck Observatory’s guiding principle of sharing important new knowledge, all scientific data will be publicly released to ensure the U.S. community is provided with a valuable scientific legacy.

    “This revolutionary system will significantly expand Keck Observatory’s scientific reach,” said Co-Principal Investigator Andrea Ghez, director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group.

    Andrea Ghez, UCLA Galactic Center Group

    SO-2 Image UCLA Galactic Center Groupe via S. Sakai and Andrea Ghez at Keck Observatory

    “KAPA will also serve as an intellectual springboard for the coming generation of extremely large telescopes. We are developing KAPA in partnership with the Thirty Meter Telescope, Giant Magellan Telescope, and European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) so they can be well-prepared when the time comes to build their own AO instrumentation.”

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    Next-generation technology like KAPA will require next-generation expertise. As such, the KAPA team is also placing a priority on the broader impact goals of education and workforce development.

    Young scientists and engineers will be recruited to help develop KAPA and the KAPA science programs. The project will engage:

    four Hawaii college student interns from the Akamai Workforce Initiative program
    four graduate and post-doctoral students from the Keck Visiting Scholars Program
    four KAPA post-doctoral scholars

    All students and young researchers will receive mentoring and hands-on work experience. The KAPA team will also launch a new summer school focused on astronomy technology and instrumentation for about 25 undergraduate and graduate students every summer over the course of the five-year project.

    “We need more people trained in instrumentation, in particular women and other groups underrepresented in the field,” said Lisa Hunter, director of the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the KAPA team. “This project will launch an innovative new effort to build a more diverse instrumentation workforce.”

    “We are excited by this opportunity to keep Keck Observatory at the forefront of high angular resolution science and to continue to advance the state-of-the-art in adaptive optics,” said Hilton Lewis, director of Keck Observatory. “Sharing our knowledge with the next generation of scientists and engineers is very important to us, for it is they who will continue the vital work of utilizing and continuing to develop the most scientifically-productive AO system in the world.”

    AO is a technique used to correct the distortion of astronomical images caused by the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. This is done using lasers to create an artificial star anywhere in the sky, fast sensors to measure the atmospheric blurring, and a deformable mirror to correct for it – all done about 1000 times per second. The goal is to study the finest detail possible by largely removing the blurring effect of the atmosphere. It allows ground-based telescopes to match and even exceed the performance of space-based telescopes at much more modest costs.

    To further improve the clarity of these images, the KAPA project will upgrade the current system by replacing key components: the Keck I laser, the computer that calculates the real-time corrections, and the camera that measures the atmospheric turbulence. The laser beam will be divided into three laser guide stars to fully sample the atmosphere above the telescope using a technique called laser tomography.

    The project also includes upgrades to a near-infrared tip-tilt sensor to improve sky coverage and a technique called point spread function reconstruction that will optimize the value of the science data obtained with the accompanying science instrument (an integral field spectrograph and imager called OSIRIS).

    The KAPA project launched in September and is expected to be completed in 2023.


    W. M. Keck Observatory is a distinguished leader in the field of adaptive optics (AO), a breakthrough technology that removes the distortions caused by the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Keck Observatory pioneered the astronomical use of both natural guide star (NGS) and laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS AO) on large telescopes and current systems now deliver images three to four times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. Keck AO has imaged the four massive planets orbiting the star HR8799, measured the mass of the giant black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, discovered new supernovae in distant galaxies, and identified the specific stars that were their progenitors. Support for this technology was generously provided by the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, Change Happens Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, NASA, NSF, and W. M. Keck Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.

    Keck UCal

  • richardmitnick 2:16 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments, NSF - National Science Foundation, NSF announces new awards for quantum research and technologies, NSF's Quantum Leap, RAISE-EQuIP, RAISE-TAQS   

    From National Science Foundation: “NSF announces new awards for quantum research, technologies” 

    From National Science Foundation

    $31 million in awards will explore applications of quantum mechanics, advance next-generation sensing, computing, modeling and communication.

    The new awards add to NSF’s position as a leading federal funder of quantum research, a role that includes support for advancing the technology necessary for secure quantum communications, establishing the first-ever fully connected, practical quantum computer, and bringing together academic and private sector mentors to train the next generation of quantum scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/ NSF

    September 24, 2018
    Sarah Bates, NSF
    (703) 292-7738
    email: sabates@nsf.gov

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $31 million for fundamental quantum research that will enable the United States to lead a new quantum technology revolution. The awards are announced as NSF joins other federal agencies and private partners at a White House summit on quantum information science today.

    “The quantum revolution is about expanding the definition of what’s possible for the technology of tomorrow,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “NSF-supported researchers are working to deepen our understanding of quantum mechanics and apply that knowledge to create world-changing applications. These new investments will position the U.S. to be a global leader in quantum research and development and help train the next generation of quantum researchers.”

    The new awards add to NSF’s position as a leading federal funder of quantum research, a role that includes support for advancing the technology necessary for secure quantum communications, establishing the first-ever fully connected, practical quantum computer, and bringing together academic and private sector mentors to train the next generation of quantum scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.

    NSF joins the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to lead the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science. The committee will coordinate a national agenda on quantum information science and technology.

    Next-generation technologies

    Many of today’s technologies rely on the interaction of matter and energy at extremely small scales. Quantum mechanics studies nature at such scales — at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair — allowing researchers to observe, manipulate and control the behavior of particles. Next-generation technologies for communication, computing and sensing will exploit interactions among particles in quantum systems, offering the promise of dramatic increases in accuracy and efficiency.

    NSF-funded researchers will explore new ways to detect photons, build bio-inspired circuits, develop light-based communication systems and more. The new awards support multi-disciplinary research through two efforts.

    $25 million for exploratory quantum research as part of the Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (TAQS) effort.
    $6 million for quantum research and technology development as part of the RAISE-Engineering Quantum Integrated Platforms for Quantum Communication (EQuIP) effort.

    Some of the supported research teams will study new possibilities about the behavior of quantum states. Others will investigate new ways to stabilize quantum systems, making them more useful for technological applications. Both efforts support training of the future quantum workforce.

    RAISE-TAQS: Innovative, interdisciplinary research

    The RAISE-TAQS awards will support 25 projects for innovative approaches, experimental demonstrations and transformative advances that will help lead to systems and proof-of-concept validations in quantum sensing, communication, computing and simulations.

    The NSF RAISE-TAQS effort is at the intersection of multiple disciplines and is designed to encourage scientists to pursue exploratory, cutting-edge concepts. It is meant to build a strong community of team participants who have demonstrated a readiness to examine a broad range of scientific and engineering topics related to quantum technologies.

    RAISE-EQuIP: Frontiers of quantum engineering

    The RAISE-EQuIP awards will support eight projects to push the frontiers of engineering in quantum information science and technology. Researchers will explore integrated approaches that go beyond the individual devices and components to enable scalable quantum communication systems.

    The RAISE-EQuIP effort is intended to demonstrate proof-of-concept technologies that encompass novel devices, circuits, information processing techniques and integration platforms in a quantum communication system. The new awards address several research challenges, including revolutionary approaches for generation and processing of quantum signals.

    NSF’s Quantum Leap

    NSF has been a driver of quantum technology research and quantum information science for decades. Of the 231 NSF-funded Nobel Laureates, 31 were honored for advancing quantum research.

    The research community is currently at a point of inflection on quantum science, thanks to recent advances in technology and instrumentation capabilities across disciplines. NSF is committed to supporting research that advances this important area of science, as well as new collaborative efforts. The Quantum Leap and Growing Convergence Research are two of NSF’s “10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments“.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

  • richardmitnick 1:30 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NSF - National Science Foundation, , OOI-Ocean Observatories Initiative, , Regional Cabled Array, , ,   

    From University of Washington: “NSF awards contract to carry OOI into the next decade and beyond” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    September 19, 2018
    Hannah Hickey

    The seafloor cable extends off the coast of Oregon and allows real-time communication with the deep sea. University of Washington

    The National Science Foundation announced that it has awarded a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations a five-year, $220 million contract to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

    The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with direction from the NSF and guidance from the OOI Facilities Board, will include the University of Washington, Oregon State University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


    The OOI is an advanced system of integrated, scientific platforms and sensors that measure physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the sea surface in key coastal and open-ocean sites of the Atlantic and Pacific. as designed to address critical questions about the Earth–ocean system, including climate change, ecosystem variability, ocean acidification, plate-scale seismicity, submarine volcanoes and carbon cycling with the goal of better understanding the ocean and our planet. All OOI data are freely available online.

    Each institution will continue to operate and maintain the portion of OOI assets for which it is currently responsible: the UW will operate the Regional Cabled Array that extends across the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and overlying ocean; OSU will operate the Endurance Array off the coast of Washington and Oregon; WHOI will operate the Pioneer Array off the Northeast U.S. coast and the Global Arrays in the Irminger Sea off the southern tip of Greenland and at Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska; and Rutgers will operate the cyberinfrastructure system that ingests and delivers data for the initiative. In addition, WHOI will serve as the home of a new OOI Project Management Office.

    “We at NSF are proud of our continuing investment in 24/7 streaming data from the ocean and coupled Earth systems,” said William Easterling, NSF assistant director for geosciences. “From underwater volcanoes to ocean currents, OOI enables cutting-edge scientific discoveries and makes big data accessible to classrooms at all levels. These data are key to addressing everyday challenges, such as better storm predictions and management of our coastal resources.”

    The OOI officially launched in 2009, when the NSF and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership signed a cooperative agreement to support the construction and initial operation of OOI’s cabled, coastal and global arrays. The launch represented the culmination of work begun decades earlier, when ocean scientists in the 1980s envisioned a collection of outposts in the ocean that would gather data around the clock, in real- and near-real time for years on end, and enhance the scientific community’s ability to observe complex oceanographic processes that occur and evolve over time scales ranging from seconds to decades, and spatial scales ranging from inches to miles.

    An arm of the ocean robot ROB Jason installs a seafloor fluid sampler on the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Cabled Array in summer 2017.UW/OOI-NSF/WHOI, V17

    The OOI currently supports more than 500 autonomous instruments on the seafloor and on moored and free-swimming platforms that are serviced during regular, ship-based expeditions to the array sites. Data from each instrument is transmitted to shore, where it is freely available to users worldwide, including members of the scientific community, policy experts, decision-makers, educators and the general public.

    The UW operates the largest single piece of the OOI, the Regional Cabled Array: cables from Newport, Oregon, that bring high power and high-bandwidth internet to an observatory that spans the seafloor and water above. The equipment was built and installed by the UW starting in 2011 and became fully operational in 2016. It includes more than 140 instruments and six tethered robots laden with instruments that collect data from about 9,500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface to the near-surface environments.

    Two UW undergraduates help graduate student Theresa Whorley (left) work on instruments retrieved from the seafloor during a summer 2017 maintenance cruise.Mitch Elend/University of Washington/V17

    The new grant will fund refresh and maintenance of the Regional Cabled Array infrastructure, data evaluation, and five annual cruises. The main hardware will continue to be maintained and upgraded by the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, and will continue to incorporate sensors from local companies Sea-Bird Scientific of Bellevue and Paroscientific of Redmond.

    Just before its official commissioning, the Regional Cabled Array in April 2015 captured first-of-its-kind data of an underwater volcanic eruption that included more than 8,000 earthquakes over a 24-hour period, a roughly 7-foot collapse of the seafloor and more than 30,000 explosive events. The data evolution of the eruption was the focus of several papers [Science]. One of those authors is now using real-time observations to predict that the underwater volcano’s next eruption, which also will be monitored, will occur in early 2022.

    “At one of the meetings, an NSF officer said: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ That’s what we’re seeing,” said UW principal investigator and oceanography professor Deborah Kelley. “The real-time capability and power supply are key because they let us have a permanent, 24/7 presence on the seafloor and throughout the water column and we are now able to respond to events in near-real time. We have significant expansion capabilities and are excited to continue gathering fundamental measurements in the ocean.”

    The number of instruments attached to the observatory is growing. William Wilcock, a UW professor of oceanography, has received two NSF grants that include funding for a new instrument now monitoring seismic activity and deformation of the seafloor, and another geophysical instrument to be installed next year on the underwater volcano, Axial Seamount. An award from Germany’s national research agency resulted in the installation this past summer of two high-resolution sonars to image methane gas plumes that are bubbling up from the seafloor at a highly active area called Southern Hydrate Ridge.

    “We are looking at some of the most biologically productive and geologically active regions in the world, and we’ve never had so many co-registered sensors in these dynamic environments. With these data, collected on time scales from seconds to years, we hope to discover important links about how the ocean works and evolves,” Kelley said.

    “We now have the capability to examine in real time the impacts of large storms and low-oxygen events on ocean biology and chemistry, offshore earthquakes and underwater eruptions, and to share these data and discoveries with a global community of users.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

  • richardmitnick 12:42 pm on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NSF - National Science Foundation, NSF INCLUDES takes major step forward with new awards,   

    From National Science Foundation: “NSF INCLUDES takes major step forward with new awards” STEM 

    From National Science Foundation

    Alliances, Coordination Hub represent next stages of program to improve US STEM ecosystem.

    A researcher from the American Chemical Society, one of this year’s NSF INCLUDES award recipient institutions, at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Credit: Biomedical Communications — St. Jude’s Research Hospital

    September 6, 2018
    Rob Margetta, NSF
    (703) 292-2663
    email: rmargett@nsf.gov

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued new awards that represent the next major step for its NSF INCLUDES program — the development of a national network to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by broadening participation in those disciplines.

    The U.S. innovation economy increasingly requires skilled STEM workers — scientists, engineers, technicians and people with STEM backgrounds — to maintain the nation’s status as a global leader. Researchers have identified persistent challenges that limit the access of underrepresented populations to quality STEM education and opportunities for STEM employment. The NSF INCLUDES approach builds on a growing body of scientific research suggesting that complex problems — such as overcoming the barriers many groups face in accessing STEM opportunities — are best addressed through structured, collaborative partnerships focused on finding solutions through common goals and shared metrics.

    “NSF INCLUDES was conceived as a sustained effort, a recognition that a problem as complex as the need to broaden participation in STEM requires a long-term, collaborative approach,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “After laying the groundwork through pilot projects, NSF INCLUDES is taking a significant step toward creating a national network with these new awards.”

    The awards will support the first five NSF INCLUDES Alliances and the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub. These new entities will develop partnerships among stakeholders across the public, private and academic sectors, share promising practices for broadening participation and other useful data, contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through research, and establish a framework for supporting communications and networking among partners.

    The NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub will facilitate the activities needed to build and maintain a strong NSF INCLUDES National Network, including communications, technical assistance and efforts aimed at increasing visibility. While the Alliances provide support for their partners to coordinate and expand, the Coordination Hub will function as a backbone organization for the entire NSF INCLUDES national network.

    For decades, NSF and its partners have sought to create opportunities in STEM for all U.S. residents, ensuring that no matter who they are or where they come from, they have access to education and employment. NSF INCLUDES, one of the foundation’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment, seeks to enhance collaboration among those working to broaden participation in STEM, to strengthen existing relationships, bring in new partners and provide resources and support to enhance their work.

    “NSF INCLUDES addresses populations largely missing in the current science and engineering enterprise,” Córdova said. “Their inclusion is essential in helping the U.S. maintain its position as the world’s leader in innovation. Through NSF INCLUDES, we are funding researchers and others who have great proposals that would move the needle.”

    The new awards are listed below:

    Coordination Hub

    NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub: SRI International, Timothy Podkul


    NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Expanding the First2 STEM Success Network: Associated Universities Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Sue A. Heatherly; West Virginia University Research Corporation, Gay B. Stewart; Higher Education Policy Commission, Jan Taylor; Fairmont State College, Erica Harvey; High Rocks Educational Corporation, Sarah Riley

    NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions: University of Texas at El Paso, Ann Q. Gates

    NSF INCLUDES Alliance: STEM Core Expansion: Saddleback College, Jim Zoval; University of Colorado at Boulder, Sarah M. Miller

    NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Inclusive Graduate Education Network: American Physical Society, Theodore Hodapp; University of Southern California, Julie Posselt; Rochester Institute of Tech, Casey W. Miller; American Chemical Society, Joerg Schlatterer

    NSF INCLUDES Alliance: National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty (NAIDSF): Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Howard J. Gobstein; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Robert D. Mathieu; University of California-Los Angeles, Erin Sanders; University of Texas at El Paso, Benjamin C. Flores; University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc., Suzanne E. Barbour; Iowa State University, Craig A. Ogilvie

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Accelerate the translation of fundamental research to practical applications, , , I-Corps-Innovation Corps Node, MIT-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NSF - National Science Foundation   

    From MIT News: “MIT selected as ninth NSF Innovation Corps Node; set to serve the New England region” 

    MIT News
    MIT Widget

    From MIT News

    September 4, 2018
    Kimberly Allen
    Email: allenkc@mit.edu
    Phone: 617-253-2702
    MIT News Office

    Image: Christopher Harting

    New MIT innovation hub helps take scientific discoveries from lab to marketplace and supports national innovation ecosystem.

    MIT has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Node, and awarded $4.2 million in order to develop programs and resources that will accelerate the translation of fundamental research to practical applications.

    NSF I-Corps Nodes are critical in supporting regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure, and research. The program aims to improve the quality of life and increase the economic competitiveness of the United States.

    Grantees of the NSF’s I-Corps program learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and gain skills in entrepreneurship through training in customer discovery. The program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond university laboratories and accelerates the economic and societal benefits of basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization.

    “It has become more critical than ever for university research to feed innovation that benefits society, especially in tackling the world’s biggest problems. MIT is excited to take a leadership role in advancing this initiative to increase the translation of fundamental research into technologies put into practical use, and to accelerate the time from idea to commercialization,” says MIT Provost Martin Schmidt, who serves as the principal investigator on the award.

    Since the NSF I-Corps program was created in 2011, more than 1,200 teams, from 248 universities in 47 states, have completed the national NSF curriculum. So far, this has resulted in the creation of more than 577 companies that have collectively raised more than $400 million in follow-on funding.

    “NSF-funded I-Corps Nodes work cooperatively to create a sustainable national innovation ecosystem that further enhances the development of technologies, products, and processes that benefit society. We are thrilled to welcome another I-Corps Node into the ecosystem to foster ideas in the New England region, and to further support national innovation and entrepreneurial excellence,” says Barry W. Johnson, division director of industrial innovation and partnerships at the NSF.

    The $4.2 million award to MIT, spanning five years, will allow the Institute to lead the New England Regional Innovation Node (NERIN). NERIN, headquartered at MIT, will contribute to the NSF National Innovation Network as the ninth regional I-Corps Node, and will be instrumental in assisting researchers across the region, with its dense concentration of universities and world-class research.

    NERIN’s activities will include a variety of short training programs offered across the region, as well as the ability to qualify for application to the prestigious NSF National I-Corps Teams program, which provides an immersive seven-week innovation experience. NERIN will also collaborate with key organizations in the regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that can provide support and resources to help advance these scientific and technological breakthroughs to achieve societal impact. NERIN plans to add academic partners as it grows.

    “The NSF I-Corps program is about the genesis of ideas and emergence of opportunities, the birth of new organizations, their evolution into new companies, and the transformation of scientists into leaders. It is also about providing the foundation for future innovation by others,” says Roman M. Lubynsky, who will serve as the executive director of NERIN.

    NERIN intends to develop programs and resources that will result in increased partnerships between academia and industry. It will reach and influence researchers across New England to consider practical applications arising from fundamental research and to initiate the exploration of getting their inventions and discoveries to the marketplace.

    The NSF I-Corps program was established in 2011, and connects scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    MIT Campus

  • richardmitnick 10:32 am on December 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Computation combined with experimentation helped advance work in developing a model of osteoregeneration, Genes could be activated in human stem cells that initiate biomineralization a key step in bone formation, NSF - National Science Foundation, , Silk has been shown to be a suitable scaffold for tissue regeneration, Silky Secrets to Make Bones, Stampede1, , ,   

    From TACC: “Silky Secrets to Make Bones” 

    TACC bloc

    Texas Advanced Computing Center

    December 19, 2017
    Jorge Salazar

    Scientists used supercomputers and fused golden orb weaver spider web silk with silica to activate genes in human stem cells that initiated biomineralization, a key step in bone formation. (devra/flickr)

    Some secrets to repair our skeletons might be found in the silky webs of spiders, according to recent experiments guided by supercomputers. Scientists involved say their results will help understand the details of osteoregeneration, or how bones regenerate.
    A study found that genes could be activated in human stem cells that initiate biomineralization, a key step in bone formation. Scientists achieved these results with engineered silk derived from the dragline of golden orb weaver spider webs, which they combined with silica. The study appeared September 2017 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials and has been the result of the combined effort from three institutions: Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nottingham Trent University.

    XSEDE supercomputers Stampede at TACC and Comet at SDSC helped study authors simulate the head piece domain of the cell membrane protein receptor integrin in solution, based on molecular dynamics modeling. (Davoud Ebrahimi)

    SDSC Dell Comet supercomputer

    Study authors used the supercomputers Stampede1 at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and Comet at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego through an allocation from XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, funded by the National Science Foundation. The supercomputers helped scientists model how the cell membrane protein receptor called integrin folds and activates the intracellular pathways that lead to bone formation. The research will help larger efforts to cure bone growth diseases such as osteoporosis or calcific aortic valve disease.

    “This work demonstrates a direct link between silk-silica-based biomaterials and intracellular pathways leading to osteogenesis,” said study co-author Zaira Martín-Moldes, a post-doctoral scholar at the Kaplan Lab at Tufts University. She researches the development of new biomaterials based on silk. “The hybrid material promoted the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells, the progenitor cells from the bone marrow, to osteoblasts as an indicator of osteogenesis, or bone-like tissue formation,” Martín-Moldes said.

    “Silk has been shown to be a suitable scaffold for tissue regeneration, due to its outstanding mechanical properties,” Martín-Moldes explained. It’s biodegradable. It’s biocompatible. And it’s fine-tunable through bioengineering modifications. The experimental team at Tufts University modified the genetic sequence of silk from golden orb weaver spiders (Nephila clavipes) and fused the silica-promoting peptide R5 derived from a gene of the diatom Cylindrotheca fusiformis silaffin.

    The bone formation study targeted biomineralization, a critical process in materials biology. “We would love to generate a model that helps us predict and modulate these responses both in terms of preventing the mineralization and also to promote it,” Martín-Moldes said.

    “High performance supercomputing simulations are utilized along with experimental approaches to develop a model for the integrin activation, which is the first step in the bone formation process,” said study co-author Davoud Ebrahimi, a postdoctoral associate at the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Integrin embeds itself in the cell membrane and mediates signals between the inside and the outside of cells. In its dormant state, the head unit sticking out of the membrane is bent over like a nodding sleeper. This inactive state prevents cellular adhesion. In its activated state, the head unit straightens out and is available for chemical binding at its exposed ligand region.

    “Sampling different states of the conformation of integrins in contact with silicified or non-silicified surfaces could predict activation of the pathway,” Ebrahimi explained. Sampling the folding of proteins remains a classically computationally expensive problem, despite recent and large efforts in developing new algorithms.

    The derived silk–silica chimera they studied weighed in around a hefty 40 kilodaltons. “In this research, what we did in order to reduce the computational costs, we have only modeled the head piece of the protein, which is getting in contact with the surface that we’re modeling,” Ebrahimi said. “But again, it’s a big system to simulate and can’t be done on an ordinary system or ordinary computers.”

    The Computational team at MIT used the molecular dynamics package called Gromacs, a software for chemical simulation available on both the Stampede1 and Comet supercomputing systems. “We could perform those large simulations by having access to XSEDE computational clusters,” he said.

    “I have a very long-standing positive experience using XSEDE resources,” said Ebrahimi. “I’ve been using them for almost 10 years now for my projects during my graduate and post-doctoral experiences. And the staff at XSEDE are really helpful if you encounter any problems. If you need software that should be installed and it’s not available, they help and guide you through the process of doing your research. I remember exchanging a lot of emails the first time I was trying to use the clusters, and I was not so familiar. I got a lot of help from XSEDE resources and people at XSEDE. I really appreciate the time and effort that they put in order to solve computational problems that we usually encounter during our simulation,” Ebrahimi reflected.

    Computation combined with experimentation helped advance work in developing a model of osteoregeneration. “We propose a mechanism in our work,” explained Martín-Moldes, “that starts with the silica-silk surface activating a specific cell membrane protein receptor, in this case integrin αVβ3.” She said this activation triggers a cascade in the cell through three mitogen-activated protein kinsase (MAPK) pathways, the main one being the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) cascade.

    Proposed mechanism for hMSC osteogenesis induction on silica surfaces. The binding of integrin αVβ3 to the silica surface promotes its activation, that triggers an activation cascade that involves the three MAPK pathways, ERK, p38, but mainly JNK (reflected as wider arrow), which promotes AP-1 activation and translocation to the nucleus to activate Runx2 transcription factor. Runx2 is the finally responsible for the induction of bone extracellular matrix proteins and other osteoblast differentiation genes. B) In the presence of a neutralizing antibody against αVβ3, there is no activation and induction of MAPK cascades, thus no induction of bone extracellular matrix genes and hence, no differentiation. (Davoud Ebrahimi)

    She added that other factors are also involved in this process such as Runx2, the main transcription factor related to osteogenesis. According to the study, the control system did not show any response, and neither did the blockage of integrin using an antibody, confirming its involvement in this process. “Another important outcome was the correlation between the amount of silica deposited in the film and the level of induction of the genes that we analyzed,” Martín-Moldes said. “These factors also provide an important feature to control in future material design for bone-forming biomaterials.”

    “We are doing a basic research here with our silk-silica systems,” Martín-Moldes explained. “But we are helping in building the pathway to generate biomaterials that could be used in the future. The mineralization is a critical process. The final goal is to develop these models that help design the biomaterials to optimize the bone regeneration process, when the bone is required to regenerate or to minimize it when we need to reduce the bone formation.”

    These results help advance the research and are useful in larger efforts to help cure and treat bone diseases. “We could help in curing disease related to bone formation, such as calcific aortic valve disease or osteoporosis, which we need to know the pathway to control the amount of bone formed, to either reduce or increase it, Ebrahimi said.

    “Intracellular Pathways Involved in Bone Regeneration Triggered by Recombinant Silk–Silica Chimeras,” DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201702570, appeared September 2017 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The National Institutes of Health funded the study, and the National Science Foundation through XSEDE provided computational resources. The study authors are Zaira Martín-Moldes, Nina Dinjaski, David L. Kaplan of Tufts University; Davoud Ebrahimi and Markus J. Buehler of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Robyn Plowright and Carole C. Perry of Nottingham Trent University.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

    TACC Lonestar Cray XC40 supercomputer

    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

    TACC HPE Apollo 8000 Hikari supercomputer

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

    TACC DELL EMC Stampede2 supercomputer

  • richardmitnick 9:49 am on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NSF - National Science Foundation, , ,   

    From University of Texas at Austin: “UT Is Now Home to the Fastest Supercomputer at Any U.S. University” 

    U Texas Austin bloc

    University of Texas at Austin

    October 27, 2017
    Anna Daugherty

    The term “medical research” might bring to mind a sterile room with white lab coats, goggles, and vials. But for cutting-edge researchers, that picture is much more high-tech: it’s a room filled with row after row of metal racks housing 300,000 computer processors, each blinking green, wires connecting each processor, and the deafening sound of a powerful machine at work. It’s a room like the one housing the 4,000-square-foot supercomputer Stampede2 at The University of Texas’ J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

    TACC Lonestar Cray XC40 supercomputer

    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

    TACC HPE Apollo 8000 Hikari supercomputer

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

    TACC DELL EMC Stampede2 supercomputer

    At peak performance, Stampede2, the flagship supercomputer at UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), will be capable of performing 18 quadrillion operations per second (18 petaflops, in supercomputer lingo). That’s more powerful than 100,000 desktops. As the fastest supercomputer at any university in the U.S., it’s a level of computing that the average citizen can’t comprehend. Most people do their computing on phones the size of their hands—but then again, most aren’t mining cancer data, predicting earthquakes, or analyzing black holes.

    Funded by a $30 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Stampede2 replaces the original Stampede system, which went live in 2013. Designed to be twice as powerful while using half the energy of the older system, Stampede2 is already being used by researchers around the country. In June 2017, Stampede2 went public with 12 petaflops and was ranked as the 12th most powerful computer in the world. Phase two added six petaflops in September and phase three will complete the system in 2018 by adding a new type of memory capacity to the computer.

    For researchers like Rommie Amaro, professor of chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, a tool like Stampede2 is essential. As the director of the National Biomedical Computation Resource, Amaro says nearly all of their drug research is done on supercomputers.

    Most of her work with the original Stampede system focused on a protein called p53, which prevents tumor growth; the protein is mutated in approximately half of all cancer patients. Due to the nature of p53, it’s difficult to track with standard imaging tools, so Amaro’s team took available images of the protein to supercomputers and turned them into a simulation showing how the 1.6 million atoms in p53 move. Using Stampede, they were able to find weaknesses in p53 and simulate interactions with more than a million compounds; several hundred seemed capable of restoring p53. More than 30 proved successful in labs and are now being tested by a pharmaceutical company.

    “The first Stampede gave us really outstanding, breakthrough research for cancer,” Amaro says. “And we already have some really interesting preliminary data on what Stampede2 is going to give us.”

    And it’s not just the medical field that benefits. Stampede has created weather phenomena models that have shown new ways to measure tornado strength, and produced seismic hazard maps that predict the likelihood of earthquakes in California. It has also helped increase the accuracy of hurricane predictions by 20–25 percent. During Hurricane Harvey in August, researchers used TACC supercomputers to forecast how high water would rise near the coast and to predict flooding in rivers and creeks in its aftermath.

    Aaron Dubrow, strategic communications specialist at TACC, says supercomputer users either use publicly available programs or create an application from the mathematics of the problem they are researching. “You take an idea like how cells divide and turn that into a computer algorithm and it becomes a program of sorts,” he says. Researchers can log into the supercomputer remotely or send their program to TACC staff. Stampede2 also has web portals for smaller problems in topics like drug discovery or natural disasters.

    For Dan Stanzione, executive director at the TACC, some of the most important research isn’t immediately applied. “Basic science has dramatic impacts on the world, but you might not see that until decades from now.” He points to Einstein’s 100-year-old theory of gravitational waves, which was recently confirmed with the help of supercomputers across the nation, including Stampede. “You might wonder why we care about gravitational waves. But now we have satellite, TV, and instant communications around the world because of Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves 100 years ago.”

    According to Stanzione, there were nearly 40,000 users of the first Stampede and an approximate 3,500 projects completed. Similar to Stampede, the new Stampede2 is expected to have a four-year lifespan. “Your smartphone starts to feel old and slow after four or five years, and supercomputers are the same,” he says. “They may still be fast, but it’s made out of four-year-old processors. The new ones are faster and more power efficient to run.” The old processors don’t go to waste though—most will be donated to state institutions across Texas.

    In order to use a supercomputer, researchers must submit proposals to an NSF board, which then delegates hours of usage. Stanzione says there are requests for nearly a billion processor hours every quarter, which is several times higher than what is available nationwide. While Stanzione says nearly every university has some sort of supercomputer now, the U.S. still lags behind China in computing power. The world’s top two computers are both Chinese, and the first is nearly five times more powerful than the largest in the states.

    Regardless, Stampede2 will still manage to serve researchers from more than 400 universities. Other users include private businesses, such as Firefly Space Company in nearby Cedar Park, and some government users like the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Stanzione says all work done on Stampede2 must be public and published research.

    “Being the leader in large-scale computational sciences and engineering means we can attract the top researchers who need these resources,” he says. “It helps attract those top scholars to UT. And then hopefully once they’re here, it helps them reach these innovations a little faster.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Texas Arlington Campus

    In 1839, the Congress of the Republic of Texas ordered that a site be set aside to meet the state’s higher education needs. After a series of delays over the next several decades, the state legislature reinvigorated the project in 1876, calling for the establishment of a “university of the first class.” Austin was selected as the site for the new university in 1881, and construction began on the original Main Building in November 1882. Less than one year later, on Sept. 15, 1883, The University of Texas at Austin opened with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students — and a mission to change the world. Today, UT Austin is a world-renowned higher education, research, and public service institution serving more than 51,000 students annually through 18 top-ranked colleges and schools.

  • richardmitnick 6:40 am on August 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CAST, NSF - National Science Foundation, ,   

    From U Arkansas: “NSF Continues Support for Program in Spatial Archaeometry” 

    U Arkansas bloc

    University of Arkansas

    Aug. 30, 2017
    Rachel Opitz,
    Spatial Archaeometry Research Collaborations
    Center For Advanced Spatial Technologies

    [Finally something good to say about the NSF.]

    Researchers Katie Simon and Jennie Sturm use the SIR 3000 with 400 MHz antennas to map an iron metalworking site in western Oman. Photo Submitted

    The National Science Foundation has renewed funding for the Spatial Archaeometry Research Collaborations program, an initiative through the University of Arkansas, Dartmouth College and the University of Glasgow that acts as a national hub for geospatial research in archaeology.

    The $158,762 grant allows the SPARC program to continue to provide research and technical expertise to archaeological research projects working with a variety of technologies, including 3-D survey and modeling, geospatial analysis and visualization, and geophysical and airborne remote-sensing. In 2017-2018 the SPARC team plans to focus on analytical and publication projects.

    The SPARC program was created by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies and the Archaeo-Imaging Laboratory with a $250,000 grant from the NSF in 2013. The program offers direct support to archaeological projects through awards in fieldwork, data and analytics, and publication. In addition to collaborating on research projects directly, SPARC helps researchers learn about the latest technologies and their archaeological applications through residencies at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies or through online resources and periodic webinars.

    For many decades, space has been viewed as one of the central dimensions of archaeological study, from artifacts to landscapes, and SPARC supports a wide variety of collaborators and projects around the world. Researchers at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies have collaborated on 29 projects worldwide, including working with the Cameron Monroe, University of California-Santa Cruz, to document and study the standing architecture and sub-surface archaeology at San Souci in Haiti; with Nick Carter and colleagues at Harvard University to analyze relationships between terrain, routeways, and evolving settlement patterns in the Five Lands region during the Classic period of Maya culture history; and with Krysta Ryzewski, Wayne State University, and John Cherry, Brown University, to use airborne lidar to map potential cultural landscape features and other anomalies in the Centre Hills region of Montserrat.

    A full list and complete descriptions of recent awards can be found on the SPARC website.

    About the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies: The Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies is a multidisciplinary center for spatial research and technology housed within the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. Established in 1991, CAST offers students, faculty, and the public opportunities to learn about the various applications of geographic information systems. CAST investigators span the social and physical sciences with expertise in the measurement and analysis of spatially referenced, multi-scalar data and processes, and are funded primarily through external sponsorships. More information about CAST can be found at http://cast.uark.edu/. For ongoing news, follow CAST on Facebook and Twitter.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Arkansas campus

    The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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