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  • richardmitnick 4:13 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DEll EMC Stampede 2 supercomputer, NSF, ,   

    From NSF: “Stampede2 forges new frontier in advanced computing” 

    National Science Foundation

    July 28, 2017

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) today realized the initial phase of its $30 million investment to upgrade the nation’s computational research infrastructure through the dedication of Stampede2, one of the most powerful supercomputing systems in the world. Based at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin, this strategic national resource will serve tens of thousands of researchers and educators across the U.S.

    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

    “Building on the success of the initial Stampede system, the Stampede team has partnered with other institutions as well as industry to bring the latest in forward-looking computing technologies combined with deep computational and data science expertise to take on some of the most challenging science and engineering frontiers,” said Irene Qualters, director of NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.

    Stampede2 is the newest strategic supercomputing resource for the nation’s research and education community, enabling scientists and engineers across the U.S., from multiple disciplines, to answer questions at the forefront of science and engineering. Importantly, Stampede2 leverages NSF’s existing investments in computational and data science, as well as user services, allowing academic researchers access to capabilities beyond the reach of a single institution while complementing other national high-performance computing infrastructure.

    Further, Stampede2 builds upon the initial Stampede system, also funded by NSF, which processed more than eight million successful jobs and delivered over three billion core hours of computation since it became operational in 2013.

    Stampede2 will offer more than twice the overall memory, storage capacity, bandwidth and system performance of the initial Stampede system. Yet Stampede2 will consume only half as much power and occupy just half the physical space of its predecessor. Innovations in how the supercomputer is cooled also resulted in efficiencies: Stampede2 is connected to a chilled water system that cools more cost-effectively and with less impact to the power grid than the standard air-conditioned approach.

    Once additional hardware and processors are added in the summer, Stampede2 will be able to process jobs at 18 petaflops, or 18 quadrillion mathematical operations per second, at peak performance. When Stampede2 is fully operational later this fall, the system will have roughly the processing power of 100,000 desktop computers; this increased speed and power will allow scientists and engineers to tackle larger, more complex problems that were not previously possible.

    Computational scientists and engineers pursuing a wide range of applications — from researchers who conduct large-scale simulations and data analyses on large swaths of the system, to those who interact with the system through web-based community platforms — will access Stampede2 through the NSF-supported eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).

    Researchers have already started using the system to conduct large-scale scientific studies. Some preliminary findings from early user projects include:

    Tumor identification from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data at The University of Texas at Austin.
    Real-time weather forecasting at the University of Oklahoma that has helped direct storm-chaser trucks.
    Earthquake predictions for the Southern California region at the University of California, San Diego that achieved a fivefold performance improvement over previously reported results.
    Teams from Stephen Hawking’s cosmology research laboratory at Cambridge University, leveraging Stampede2, achieved unprecedented comparisons of previously performed simulations with gravitational wave data observed by the NSF-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

    Several leading universities are collaborating with TACC to enable Stampede2, including Clemson University, Cornell University, Indiana University, The Ohio State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. They are joined by industry partners Dell EMC, Intel Corporation and Seagate Technology, who are providing cyberinfrastructure expertise and services for the project.

    Stampede2 is expected to serve the scientific community through 2021, supporting tens of thousands of researchers during this period. An additional NSF award for $24 million was recently granted to cover upcoming operations and maintenance costs for the system.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    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 12:55 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The National Science Foundation and making..., , , NSF, NSF is committed to continued engagement with the maker community, NSF's early investments in fundamental technologies and techniques have helped to enable the maker movement   

    From NSF: “The National Science Foundation and making…” 

    National Science Foundation

    Making offers the opportunity to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and processes, including collaboration, communication and iterative design. Credit: Matthew Berland, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Sarah Bates
    (703) 292-7738

    June 20, 2017

    Discoveries often begin with the initiative of a student, a young person, an educator, an entrepreneur, or anyone with the drive to make something new. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds science and engineering research and technological innovation built on the creativity and imagination of individuals such as these.

    Now, modern-day tinkerers of do-it-yourself technology, known as makers, are driving a new era of American innovation. Makers cross all age, background and skill levels, from early childhood through adulthood. They have in common the determination to see their ideas come to life.

    Making has a wide appeal. Making allows people to follow their own interests, to create something uniquely theirs, and to apply the knowledge they have gained to produce products that meet societal needs. Making offers the opportunity to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and processes, including collaboration, communication and iterative design.

    NSF’s early investments in fundamental technologies and techniques have helped to enable the maker movement.

    For example, NSF strategic investments in additive manufacturing and computer science enabled many of the innovations underlying 3-D printing, computer-aided design, geometric modeling and embedded systems.

    3-D printing alone is a keystone of making. With desktop 3-D printers, students and learners of all ages can experience firsthand the challenges and opportunities of manufacturing.

    NSF also has a history of support for education within its investments in engineering research centers and science and technology centers. Education programs include out-of-school activities and challenges that engage students and teachers in the manufacturing process.

    NSF supports a wide range of making, from community engagement to education and workforce development, to research on learning, to manufacturing and commercialization.

    NSF funds making-related activities across fields.
    NSF invests millions of dollars in making-related activities and research each year.
    NSF partners with academic institutions, other federal agencies and industry to promote access to making tools, spaces, collaborators, mentors and advisors, and to study the impact on learning.
    NSF adheres to a public access policy, fostering the democratization of knowledge and resources, a core tenet of making.

    The maker movement offers new opportunities for NSF to support STEM education, student retention, broadening participation, democratization of manufacturing, and new paths for innovations.NSF-funded projects continue to:

    spur innovation across a broad range of technologies, leading to the creation of small businesses.
    provide a better understanding of who participates in making, in what contexts, how and why.
    study the outcomes of making and participation in making, including the development of metrics and instrumentation.
    enhance the understanding and practice of how making can foster STEM learning.
    seek to understand how making can be leveraged to broaden participation in all areas and types of STEM interests and careers.

    NSF is committed to continued engagement with the maker community. NSF continues to:

    Highlight opportunities to support research and education in these and other topics across the agency, building on the significant investments that it has already made.
    Catalyze conversations between researchers and practitioners, including representatives from organizations such as community maker spaces, engineering schools, libraries and museums, and manufacturers.
    Award making-related grants, including those to:
    Leverage existing relationships with universities and industry to encourage integration of maker activities and spaces into the school curriculum and in out-of-school environments.
    Develop technologies and kits that promote student engagement in design, advanced manufacturing and STEM.
    Broaden participation in making by individuals from underrepresented groups.
    Develop an evidence-driven knowledge base about effective learning outcomes.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    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 1:35 pm on March 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Ellie White, , NSF, , WV Public Broadcasting   

    From GBO via WV Public Broadcasting: “W.Va. Family Fights to Save Green Bank Observatory” 


    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA
    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA


    Green Bank Observatory


    West Virginia Public Broadcasting

    Anne Li

    Ellie White of Barboursville, West Virginia, and her family launched a campaign called Go Green Bank Observatory convince the National Science Foundation to not divest from Green Bank Observatory.
    Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

    Nestled in the hills in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, is the Green Bank Telescope. At 485 feet tall and about 300 feet across, it’s the largest fully-steerable telescope in the world, and it belongs to Green Bank Observatory.

    Since the observatory opened in 1957, researchers have used the facility to make several discoveries, like organic prebiotic molecules — the building blocks of life. The Green Bank Telescope is also one of only two radio telescopes in the world searching for signs of intelligent life in space.

    Breakthrough Listen

    Breakthrough Listen is the largest ever scientific research program aimed at finding evidence of civilizations beyond Earth. The scope and power of the search are on an unprecedented scale:

    The program includes a survey of the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth. It scans the center of our galaxy and the entire galactic plane. Beyond the Milky Way, it listens for messages from the 100 closest galaxies to ours.

    The instruments used are among the world’s most powerful. They are 50 times more sensitive than existing telescopes dedicated to the search for intelligence.

    The radio surveys cover 10 times more of the sky than previous programs. They also cover at least 5 times more of the radio spectrum – and do it 100 times faster. They are sensitive enough to hear a common aircraft radar transmitting to us from any of the 1000 nearest stars.

    The GBT plays a key role in the Breakthough Listen project, and roughly 20% of the time available on the GBT is dedicated to this research.

    Breakthrough Listen is also carrying out the deepest and broadest ever search for optical laser transmissions. These spectroscopic searches are 1000 times more effective at finding laser signals than ordinary visible light surveys. They could detect a 100 watt laser (the energy of a normal household bulb) from 25 trillion miles away.

    Listen combines these instruments with innovative software and data analysis techniques.

    The initiative will span 10 years and commit a total of $100,000,000.

    More information on Breakthrough Listen is available at https://breakthroughinitiatives.org/Initiative/1

    But today, the telescope and the facility that supports it are under federal review — with the possibility of losing funding or being dismantled.

    In the face of that threat, one West Virginia family hopes to convince the powers that be of the facility’s value to science, education and the small town in which the telescope resides.

    “It’s almost like a tiny metropolitan city in the middle of rural West Virginia,” said Ellie White, a 16-year-old from Barboursville, West Virginia. “That kind of resource is invaluable for kids across the state and across the country, who are going to be tomorrow’s innovators, engineers, scientists, politicians, artists.”

    White’s family volunteered to start a campaign called Go Green Bank Observatory to rally support from across the country and show the National Science Foundation, which used to almost completely fund the observatory, that Green Bank Observatory is worth keeping. In 2012, the NSF published a portfolio review that recommended at least partially divesting from several observatories around the country that no longer have as large of a scientific impact as they used to. Green Bank Observatory was on that list.

    Proposed operational changes for Green Bank Observatory range from continuing to partially fund its operations to shutting down its research operations and turning it into a technology park, or completely tearing it down.

    “This is one of the difficult things the NSF has to do,” said Edward Ahjar, an astronomer at the NSF. “All of our facilities do great science, and that’s why we fund them. But when we start having less and less money to spread around, then we have to prioritize them. Which are doing the most important science now? Which are lower ranked?”

    The Fight to Keep Green Bank Observatory Open

    Last fall, Go Green Bank Observatory encouraged fans to speak at two public scoping meetings where Ahjar and other representatives from the NSF would be present to hear the public’s input about the divestment process.

    About 350 people filled the seats of an auditorium at the observatory. Several in attendance were affiliated with West Virginia University, which since 2006 has received more than $14.5 million in grant dollars for research related to the Green Bank Telescope.

    “When I started applying for graduate school, WVU was one of my top choices,” said Kaustubh Rajwade, a graduate student from India in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at WVU. “The only reason I came here was so I could use the Green Bank Telescope.”

    Others, like Buster Varner, a local fire chief, were more concerned about Green Bank Observatory’s role in the community as a de facto community center, where people can hold meetings and classes.

    “Whenever we had a catastrophe, we can go to Mike,” Varner said, referring to Mike Holstine, the business manager at Green Bank Observatory. “I don’t know much about this science, and there’s a lot of people here who does and that’s great. But I do not want anything to happen to this facility, period.”

    The NSF once almost completely funded Green Bank Observatory’s operations. But Holstine said that especially in the past five years, the observatory saw a need to diversify its sources of funding — in part because outside organizations and researchers expressed a willingness to pay for time on the telescope, but also due to the clear indicators that the observatory needed to rely less on the NSF.

    Green Bank Observatory employs between 100 and 140 people — more than half of whom are from Pocahontas County — depending on the time of year. The money also helps the observatory maintain its own infrastructure in an isolated and rural area.

    “You kind of need to think of us as a town, a self-contained town,” Holstine explained. “We have our own roads. We have our own water system. We have our own wastewater system. We take care of our own buildings. We mow our own grass; we cut our own trees. We have to plow snow in the winter.”

    A Future Without Green Bank Observatory

    For White, the Observatory isn’t only worth keeping because of its accomplishments — but also because of its efforts to train the next generation of scientists. When she was younger, White was convinced she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. But since playing among the telescopes as a child, she has gone on to work on projects under the mentorship of astronomers and graduate students from all over the world.

    She’s not the only teen who’s been impacted by the observatory’s work; through the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, more than 2,000 high school students have worked with the Green Bank Observatory through a partnership with West Virginia University since 2007.

    “Just generally being here, you learn something every day. It’s like learning a new language through immersion,” White said.

    The NSF will reach its decision about the Green Bank Observatory’s fate by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. At 16 years old, White hopes to get her doctorate in astrophysics and one day find full employment at the observatory. If it shuts down, White said, she might have to look for employment out of state.

    See the full article here .

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    Mission Statement

    Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.


    60 years ago, the trailblazers of American radio astronomy declared this facility their home, establishing the first ever National Radio Astronomy Observatory within the United States and the first ever national laboratory dedicated to open access science. Today their legacy is alive and well.

  • richardmitnick 11:21 am on March 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), NSF,   

    From NSF: “NSF announces new Long-Term Ecological Research sites off Alaska, New England coasts” 

    National Science Foundation

    March 1, 2017

    Scientists will expand research on ocean food webs in ecosystems that include recreational and commercial fisheries.

    Scientists at the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site conduct research off the coast of Alaska.

    National Science Foundation (NSF) grants will support two new Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. Scientists will conduct research along the Northeast U.S. continental shelf and in the northern Gulf of Alaska, regions known for productive fisheries and abundant marine resources.

    The new LTER sites were each awarded $5.6 million over five years, adding to 25 existing LTER sites in ecosystems including the open ocean, coral reefs, deserts and grasslands. The complex food webs in these regions are affected by human activities, short-term environmental variability and long-term ecosystem changes.

    “The new LTER sites will bring new locations, technologies and scientists to the challenge of understanding our coastal oceans,” says Rick Murray, director of NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “The sites are in areas where there’s much recreational and commercial fishing, and both sites are in the midst of significant environmental changes.”

    Murray adds that “research at the new sites will matter to everyone who eats U.S. seafood, is involved in coastal industries, or depends on the coastal oceans in any way. That includes all of us, through the oceans’ importance in weather and climate and a long list of other ‘ecosystem services’ the sea provides.”

    Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), along with scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Wellesley College and the University of Rhode Island, will lead the Northeast U.S. Shelf LTER site.

    Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in collaboration with researchers at Western Washington University, Oregon State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, will manage the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site.

    Northeast U.S. Shelf LTER site

    Scientists have documented environmental changes in the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. Northeast coast, but they’ve lacked an understanding of the links among the ocean environment, plankton food webs and fish stocks. That has limited their ability to predict how this ecosystem will respond to environmental change. Research at the new LTER site will fill that gap.

    The NSF Northeast U.S. Shelf LTER site spans the continental shelf across an area connecting the WHOI-operated Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory with the Pioneer Array, part of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. The Pioneer Array, a group of moorings and other instruments, is located off the coast of southern New England where coastal waters meet the open ocean.

    These instruments collect continuous data and, along with samples retrieved by scientists aboard ships, will become integral parts of ecological models of the changing Atlantic ecosystem.

    “This is an exciting opportunity to develop a much more detailed understanding of the ocean,” says WHOI biologist Heidi Sosik, principal investigator of the project. “We want to know how different pathways in the food web may shift seasonally or with environmental change. Ultimately, we hope this knowledge can help promote science-based stewardship of marine ecosystems and be applied to the ocean beyond the waters of the Northeast.”

    Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site

    Two decades of research along Alaska’s Seward Line — a series of ocean sampling stations extending from Resurrection Bay near Seward, Alaska to the continental slope 150 miles offshore — are the foundation of the new NSF Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site.

    “We’ve monitored Prince William Sound and the continental shelf long enough to know where many of the important features are,” says Russ Hopcroft, a scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the principal investigator of the new LTER site. “But until now, we haven’t been able to study the processes and mechanisms in-depth behind what we’ve been observing.”

    The new LTER site will allow researchers to make observations across a larger geographic region. It will also give scientists an opportunity to undertake studies aboard the NSF research vessel Sikuliaq, operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Researchers at the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER site will study the gulf’s waters, which support the well-known fish, crabs, seabirds and marine mammals of Alaska.

    The scientists say that the addition of the Northern Gulf of Alaska site to the LTER network will lead to a better understanding of an ecosystem with many of the nation’s largest fisheries.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    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 1:00 pm on January 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NSF, NSF On the block,   

    From Nature: “Legendary radio telescope hangs in the balance” 

    Nature Mag

    10 January 2017
    Alexandra Witze

    US National Science Foundation looks to slash funding for Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory.

    Grapevine, Texas

    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA
    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA

    Researchers hope that there is a way to stop the iconic Arecibo Observatory from closing down.

    It is the radio telescope that hunts killer asteroids, probes distant cosmic blasts and decades ago sent Earth’s most powerful message to the stars. Yet the storied Arecibo Observatory, an enormous aluminium dish nestled in a Puerto Rican sinkhole, might soon find itself out of the science game.

    The US National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the observatory, wants to offload the facility to free up money for newer ones. In the coming weeks, it will ask for ideas about how Arecibo might be managed if the NSF reduces its current US$8.2-million annual contribution. By May, the agency plans to release a final environmental-impact statement, a federally mandated analysis of the effects of various scenarios — from continuing to run Arecibo to mothballing or even demolishing its iconic dish. Soon after that, the NSF will decide which path to take.

    Arecibo advocates are not going to let the telescope die without a fight. On 4 January, they pressed their case at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Grapevine, Texas — arguing that Arecibo is putting out some of the best science it has ever done, and that the NSF is moving too quickly to divest itself of an astronomical treasure.

    “Arecibo definitely has a future,” says Francisco Cordova, the observatory’s director. “Though it will be a different future.”

    Arecibo is playing a key part in illuminating the mystery of fast radio bursts, which are emerging as a completely new class of celestial phenomenon. And at the astronomy meeting, observatory scientists revealed a previously unknown contributor to the Universe’s cosmic microwave background glow — cold electrons — plus a pair of pulsars that has surprisingly erratic radio emissions.

    “It is still a state-of-the-art observatory,” says Nicholas White, senior vice-president for science at the Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, Maryland, which helps to manage Arecibo for the NSF.

    NSF officials agree. But they say they need money for new projects such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is under construction in Chile (see ‘On the block’). A 2012 review of the NSF’s astronomy portfolio recommended cutting support for some of its smaller and older facilities. Although Arecibo was not among them, the report recommended that the NSF evaluate the facility’s status later in the decade.

    SOAR, Southern Astrophysical Research; WIYN, Wisconsin–Indiana–Yale–National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

    Some of the observatories targeted in the review have found potential partners: New Mexico State University in Las Cruces is leading an effort to take over the Dunn Solar Telescope in Sunspot, New Mexico. Others remain in limbo, including the 100-metre radio telescope in Green Bank, West, where university partners have offered limited help.

    In October, the NSF released a draft environmental impact statement for Arecibo that outlines how various management options would affect everything from endangered plants to local tourism. The NSF would prefer to find collaborators to shoulder most of the cost of operating the observatory for science purposes. But the draft statement includes the possibility of shuttering the facility, and even details which explosive would be needed to dismantle the 305-metre-wide dish.

    NSF officials included this bleak option to satisfy federal rules that require them to describe the environmental impact of all possible outcomes. “We specifically leaned towards making things look a bit more drastic,” says James Ulvestad, head of the NSF’s astronomy division.

    Gravitational-wave astronomers are among those who are unhappy about the idea of Arecibo going offline. The international NANOGrav consortium uses about 850 hours of Arecibo time each year to discern how ripples in space-time affect radio pulsars. Between Arecibo and Green Bank, the team is just now reaching the sensitivity at which it should be able to detect gravitational waves. “We’re so close,” says Xavier Siemens, an astrophysicist at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. “Losing Arecibo would mean losing US leadership in the field.”

    Arecibo also has a unique role in stimulating public interest in science, says Edgard Rivera-Valentín, a planetary radar specialist at the observatory. Like many Puerto Ricans, he first visited Arecibo as a child, on a family trip. “It just blew me away,” he says. “I knew pretty much then that I wanted to do astronomy.”

    The NSF pays for roughly two-thirds of Arecibo’s $12-million annual budget. Half of that comes from its astronomy division and half from its atmospheric and geospace sciences division, which uses Arecibo to study Earth’s ionosphere. The remainder comes from NASA, which tracks near-Earth asteroids from Arecibo and would probably keep doing so if other collaborators stepped in to make up for NSF cutbacks.

    Arecibo’s current operating contract ends in March 2018. After that, new approaches to make ends meet could include charging scientists hourly rates to use the observatory, instead of having them apply for time through federal agencies. “This is where the rubber hits the road,” says White.

    See the full article here .

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    Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. Nature also provides rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public.

  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on October 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NSF,   

    From esnet: “National Science Foundation & Department of Energy’s ESnet Launch Innovative Program for Women Engineers” 




    Women in Networking @SC (WINS) Kicks off this week in Salt Lake City!

    (Left to Right) Julia Locke (LANL), Debbie Fligor (SC15 WINS returning participant, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Jessica Schaffer (Georgia Tech), Indira Kassymkhanova (LBNL), Denise Grayson (Sandia), Kali McLennan (Univ. of Oklahoma), Angie Asmus (CSU). Not in photo: Amber Rasche (N. Dakota State) and Julie Staats (CENIC).

    The University of Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and The Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) together with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Science Network (ESnet) today announce the official launch of an Networking at SC (WINS) program.

    Funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and directly from ESnet, the program funds eight early to mid-career women in the research and education (R&E) network community to participate in the 2016 setup, build out and live operation of SCinet, the Supercomputing Conference’s (SC) ultra high performance network. SCinet supports large-scale computing demonstrations at SC, the premier international conference on high performance computing, networking, data storage and data analysis and is attended by over 10,000 of the leading minds in these fields.

    The SC16 WINS program kicked off this week as the selected participants from across the U.S., headed to Salt Lake City, the site of the 2016 conference to begin laying the groundwork for SCinet inside the Salt Palace Convention Center. The WINS participants join over 250 volunteers that make up the SCinet engineering team and will work side by side with the team and their mentors to put the network into full production service when the conference begins on November 12. The women will return to Salt Lake City a week before the conference to complete the installation of the network.

    “We are estimating that SCinet will be outfitted with a massive 3.5 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth for the conference and will be built from the ground up with leading edge network equipment and services (even pre-commercial in some instances) and will be considered the fastest network in the world during its operation,” said Corby Schmitz, SC16 SCinet Chair.”

    The WINS participants will support a wide range of technical areas that comprise SCinet’s incredible operation, including wide area networking, network security, wireless networking, routing, network architecture and other specialties.

    Several WINS participants hard at work with their mentors configuring routers & switches

    “While demand for jobs in IT continues to increase, the number of women joining the IT workforce has been on the decline for many years,” said Marla Meehl, Network Director from UCAR and co-PI of the NSF grant. “WINS aims to help close this gap and help to build and diversify the IT workforce giving women professionals a truly unique opportunity to gain hands-on expertise in a variety of networking roles while also developing mentoring relationships with recognized technical leaders.”

    Funds are being provided by the NSF through a $135,000 grant and via direct funding from ESnet supported by Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) in DOE Office of Science. Funding covers all travel expenses related to participating in the setup and operation of SCinet and will also provide travel funds for the participants to share their experiences at events like The Quilt Member Meetings, Regional Networking Member meetings, and the DOE National Lab Information Technology Annual Meeting.

    “Not only is WINS providing hands-on engineering training to the participants but also the opportunity to present their experiences with the broader networking community throughout the year. This experience helps to expand important leadership and presentations skills and grow their professional connections with peers and executives alike,” said Wendy Huntoon, president and CEO of KINBER and co-PI of the NSF grant.”

    The program also represents a unique cross-agency collaboration between the NSF and DOE. Both agencies recognize that the pursuit of knowledge and science discovery that these funding organizations support depends on bringing the best ideas from people of various backgrounds to the table.

    “Bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to any team in any field has been proven to lead to more creative solutions to achieve a common goal,” says Lauren Rotman, Science Engagement Group Lead, ESnet. “It is vital to our future that we bring every expert voice, every new idea to bear if our community is to tackle some of our society’s grandest challenges from understanding climate change to revolutionizing cancer treatment.”

    2016 WINS Participants are:

    Denise Grayson, Sandia National Labs (Network Security Team), DOE-funded
    Julia Locke, Los Alamos National Lab (Fiber and Edge Network Teams), DOE-funded
    Angie Asmus, Colorado State (Edge Network Team), NSF-funded
    Kali McLennan, University of Oklahoma (WAN Transport Team), NSF-funded
    Amber Rasche, North Dakota State University (Communications Team), NSF-funded
    Jessica Shaffer, Georgia Institute of Tech (Routing Team), NSF-funded
    Julia Staats, CENIC (DevOps Team), NSF-funded
    Indira Kassymkhanova, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (DevOps and Routing Teams), DOE-funded

    The WINS Supporting Organizations:
    The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

    The Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER)

    THe Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Created in 1986, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance network built to support unclassified science research. ESnet connects more than 40 DOE research sites—including the entire National Laboratory system, supercomputing facilities and major scientific instruments—as well as hundreds of other science networks around the world and the Internet.

  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on September 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BHSU Underground Campus (BHUC) at SURF, NSF,   

    From SURF: “Program gives students unique experience” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    September 7, 2016
    Kimberly Talcott, Black Hills State University

    Left to right: Dana Harvey, Joseph Barnes, Patrisse Vasek, Madeline Alisa Valentin, Pauline Dredger, Kingsley Vincent Chow. Credit: Black Hills State University

    Talk about a great summer gig. For 10 weeks, Dana Harvey learned all about modern research methods and tools through a National Science Foundation (NSF) program: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

    “I got to see what it is like to really work in a lab,” said Harvey, a physics major at Davidson College in North Carolina. “It was a great experience. I learned a lot and got to do some cool research.” Harvey was one of six students who participated in this year’s program. The students each worked with a mentor throughout the program.

    In April, Black Hills State University (BHSU) received a grant of more than $250,000 from the NSF to support students participating in undergraduate science research at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab). The funds will be used over three years to provide 21 college-level students a 10-week hands-on research experience.

    The program director, Brianna Mount, an assistant research professor at BHSU, said the program gives student researchers opportunities to engage in research related to some of the most important physics experiments of our time—searching for dark matter and investigating properties of the neutrino—as well as research in other scientific fields, specifically chemistry and biology.

    “Students will use this experience as a spring-board toward pursuing a career in science. This will help students prepare for graduate school or careers in astrophysics, microbiology and environmental chemistry,” said Mount.

    The program also helps students become proficient in both day-to-day lab procedures and data analysis. They develop their abilities to communicate science through speaking and writing as well, said Mount.

    Students supported by the grant funds lived on campus and worked with BHSU faculty mentors at the BHSU Underground Campus (BHUC) at Sanford Lab in Lead. The BHUC is a unique, world-class research space for scientists from institutions around the globe, enabling discovery in many disciplines. The BHUC also works with researchers from the Berkeley Low-Background Facility, which gives additional opportunities to the REU students.

    “BHSU is taking full advantage of the new infrastructure at the BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab,” said Rod Custer, former BHSU provost. “Over the past eight years, BHSU students and researchers have become increasingly involved in underground projects, and we continue to share that knowledge with students across the country through this work with the National Science Foundation. This is a very prestigious grant and BHSU is excited about the unique research opportunities for students from across the nation.”

    In addition to working on their summer research projects, students worked with BHSU faculty and staff on career mentoring, including professional development sessions on selecting graduate schools and applying for jobs in scientific industries.

    Students participating in the BHSU undergraduate research experience include:

    Kingsley Vincent Chow, Diabolo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

    Madeline Alisa Valentin, Augustana University, Sioux Falls

    Joseph Barnes, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kan.

    Patrisse Vasek, Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.

    Dana Harvey, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C.

    Pauline Dredger, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

    See the full article here .

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    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE

  • richardmitnick 8:29 am on August 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NSF,   

    From TACC: “National Science Foundation Awards $110 Million for XSEDE 2.0 Program” 

    TACC bloc

    Texas Advanced Computing Center

    Today, the National Science Foundation announced a $110 million, five-year award to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 18 partner institutions, including the Texas Advanced Computing Center at The University of Texas at Austin, to continue and expand the activities undertaken through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, a cornerstone of the nation’s cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.


    XSEDE accelerates open scientific discovery by enhancing the productivity and capability of researchers, engineers, and scholars, and broadening their participation in science and engineering. It does so by making advanced computational resources easier to use, integrating existing resources into new, powerful services, and building the community of users and providers.

    “XSEDE 2.0 will continue to expand access to NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure resources and services available to the science and engineering community across the nation,” said Irene Qualters, division director for the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) at NSF. “The nation’s discovery and innovation enterprise requires a dynamic and highly interoperable ecosystem, anticipating and responding to new instruments, new computing capabilities, new research communities, and new expertise. XSEDE 2.0 is a critical human component in NSF’s advanced computing infrastructure strategy, seeking to enable the broad and deep use of computational and data-intensive research to advance knowledge in all fields of study.”

    The project is a central feature of NSF-supported cyberinfrastructure and aligns with the strategic objectives of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) – a whole-of-government effort that fosters a coordinated Federal strategy in high-performance computing (HPC) research and deployment. XSEDE 2.0 aligns with NSCI, particularly by holistically expanding the capabilities and capacity of a robust and enduring national HPC ecosystem and contributing the learning and workforce development necessary to prepare our current and future researchers and the critical technical experts needed to support the research enterprise.

    “As the role of computational and data science in advancing scientific and engineering frontiers has grown, it has produced a significant increase in the demand for supporting infrastructure,” said John Towns, executive director for Science and Technology at NCSA and principal investigator for XSEDE. “The XSEDE 2.0 project recognizes that investment in physical infrastructure must be complemented by investment in software and human services.”

    Cyberinfrastructure refers to the advanced instruments, computing systems, data tools, software, networks, and people that collectively improve the research productivity of the nation’s computational scientists and engineers, enabling breakthroughs not otherwise possible. Critically important to cyberinfastructure is the increasingly dynamic interplay between these resources and human developers and users. XSEDE 2.0 constitutes a virtual organization that provisions complex distributed infrastructure, support services, and technical expertise.

    TACC is a key partner in the XSEDE project offering HPC resources, diverse domain and visualization experts, scalable cloud environments, data analytics, and replicated storage. Stampede, TACC’s flagship system, is the largest, most capable system for academic research in the U.S. In addition, TACC leads the XSEDE User Portal, a web interface that allows users to monitor and access XSEDE resources, manage jobs on those resources, report issues, and analyze and visualize results.

    TACC also leads XSEDE’s Community Engagement and Enrichment (CEE) program, which focuses on user services and engaging a new generation of diverse computational researchers. In addition to education, training and outreach activities, CEE connects to campus research computing communities to help researchers access both local and national resources.

    “XSEDE is focused on diversity and inclusion to develop the next generation of advanced digital researchers and to foster innovative collaborations for scientific discoveries,” said Kelly Gaither, TACC’s director of visualization and co-principal investigator for XSEDE. “Diversity reflects the educational, cultural, gender, and experiential makeup of our users, our students and our collaborators; inclusion reflects the quality of the experience that XSEDE provides once they are there.”

    XSEDE was first established in 2011, and the award announced today provides a continuity of services valuable to its large user community, in particular the coordination of resources and people that make the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem so effective.

    Last year, XSEDE provided computational and data services to more than 6,000 scientists, engineers and students, and supported more than 20,000 users through its web portal. Over the past four years, users have acknowledged support by XSEDE and its related computational resources in roughly 14,000 publications.

    Among these XSEDE-supported studies were efforts that confirmed the discovery of gravitational waves, developed high-resolution maps of the Arctic, uncovered the structure of HIV, and helped prevent injuries from car accidents.

    Among its critical functions, XSEDE 2.0 will:

    Manage and deliver a set of common and coordinated services for a portfolio of supercomputers and high-end visualization and data-analysis resources across the country to address increasingly diverse scientific and engineering challenges;
    Manage the allocation process by which researchers access advanced computing resources, including continuing to improve and innovate this process in alignment with new research access workflows and new resources;
    Build on the XSEDE tradition of outstanding user services, and engage a new generation of diverse computational researchers; in addition to education, training, and outreach activities, connect to campus HPC communities, to help researchers access both local and national resources;
    Offer extended collaborative support services, which pairs XSEDE computational or software engineering experts with domain scientists to advance a project or develop a tool needed to advance research; and
    Continue to improve and operate an integrated HPC capability of national scale, providing “one-stop-shop” experience for users across the XSEDE-coordinated cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.

    For nearly four decades, NSF has supported the nation’s scientific community by providing nationwide access to advanced computing resources and services beyond the reach of individual academic institutions. This access has enabled transformative research in such diverse areas as particle physics, cosmology, biology, nanotechnology, ecological modeling, economics and civil engineering.

    Students and researchers interested in obtaining access to advanced digital resources and support from XSEDE 2.0 can learn more and register here.

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

    Maverick supercomputer

    Dell Wrangler supercomputer

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

  • richardmitnick 11:02 am on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NSF, ,   

    From TACC: “NSF Awards $15 Million to Create Science Gateways Community Institute” 

    TACC bloc

    Texas Advanced Computing Center

    July 29, 2016
    Faith Singer-Villalobos


    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a collaborative team led by researchers at six different institutions a $15 million, five-year grant to establish a Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI) to accelerate the development and application of highly functional, sustainable science gateways that address the needs of researchers across the full spectrum of NSF directorates.

    The institute is a partnership led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center, in collaboration with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin; Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina; Indiana University; University of Notre Dame; Purdue University; and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

    As the lead partner for the Scientific Software Collaborative, TACC will receive almost $3 million to oversee a component-based, open-source, extensible framework for gateway design, integration, and services, including gateway hosting and capabilities for external developers to integrate their own software into Institute offerings. TACC will also be participating in other aspects of the project including Community Engagement and Extended Developer Support.

    “Science Gateways make use of familiar web-based interfaces to make it easier to employ advanced computing resources for science and engineering. TACC is excited to be part of the first Institute that empowers gateway developers to more quickly and effectively build powerful web gateways for innovation and discovery,” said Maytal Dahan, co-principal investigator (PI) for the Science Gateways Community Institute, Portal & Gateway Infrastructure Manager at TACC, and who leads the User Information and Online Interfaces area of XSEDE. “The goal is to help researchers focus on the science they want to accomplish, and not the technologies they need to get there.”

    The Institute’s goal is to increase the number, ease of use, and effective application of gateways for the greater research and engineering community, resulting in broader gateway use and more widespread engagement in science by professionals, citizen scientists, students, and more. The project will officially get underway starting this summer.

    A science gateway is a community-developed set of tools, applications, and data services and collections that are integrated through a web-based portal or suite of applications. Such gateways provide scientists access to many of the tools used in cutting-edge research – telescopes, seismic shake tables, supercomputers, sky surveys, undersea sensors, and more – and connect often diverse resources in easily accessible ways that save researchers and institutions time and money.

    “Gateways foster collaborations and the exchange of ideas among researchers and can democratize access, providing broad access to resources sometimes unavailable to those who are not at leading research institutions.” said Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, SDSC associate director and PI for the entire project.

    TACC already participates in the development of a wide variety of Science Gateways such as DesignSafe, a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build a software platform, data repository, and tools that will help the U.S. design more resilient buildings, levees and other public infrastructure that could protect lives, property and communities. The goal of the institute is to enable new and existing Gateway projects such as DesignSafe to get the resources, services and support they need to be successful.

    Wilkins-Diehr also is co-PI of the NSF-funded eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program, one of the most advanced collections of integrated digital resources and services in the world. In her role with XSEDE, Dahan is excited to leverage her management and software engineering expertise to the Science Gateways Institute.

    “In XSEDE, we have observed tremendous growth in terms of the number of gateway users, the number of processing hours used on HPC resources and the number of published research papers using gateways in the last couple of years,” said Wilkins-Diehr. “We see the services offered by SGCI dovetailing nicely with those offered by XSEDE. In the XSEDE Extended Collaborative Support (ECSS) program, our primary focus is supporting developers of existing gateways with their back-end connections to XSEDE resources. SGCI frees us up to offer services developing front ends – both for projects that use supercomputers and those that do not.”

    Multiple Partnerships, Multiple Components
    In early 2015, the NSF identified science gateways as one of two focus areas for the implementation phase of its Software Institute program. Through a $500,000 award, a team led by Wilkins-Diehr developed a strategic plan for a much larger Science Gateways Institute as part of that Software Institute program’s conceptualization phase.

    The Institute’s five-component design is the result of several years of studies, including many focus groups and a 5,000-person survey of the research community, including NSF principal investigators, campus CIOs and CTOs, and others. Those component areas include:

    An Incubator, to provide shared expertise in business and sustainability planning, cybersecurity, user interface design, and software engineering practices. This area will be led by Michael Zentner (Purdue University).
    Extended Developer Support, to provide expert developers for up to one year to projects that request assistance and demonstrate the potential to achieve the most significant impacts on their research communities. Led by Marlon E. Pierce (Indiana University).
    The Scientific Software Collaborative, to oversee a component-based, open-source, extensible framework for gateway design, integration, and services, including gateway hosting and capabilities for external developers to integrate their own software into Institute offerings. Led by Maytal Dahan (TACC).
    Community Engagement and Exchange will provide a forum for communication and sharing experiences among gateway developers – within the NSF, across federal agencies, and internationally. Led by Katherine A. Lawrence (University of Michigan) with support from Sandra Gesing (University of Notre Dame).
    Workforce Development will increase the pipeline of gateway developers with training programs, including special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented minorities, and by helping universities form gateway support groups. Led by Linda B. Hayden (Elizabeth City State University).

    The work is funded via NSF award number is ACI-1547611 and more information about SGCI is available here.

    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.

  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on June 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016 Week of Making, NSF,   

    From Rutgers: 2016 Week of Making 



    In honor of the 2016 Week of Making, the NSF has awarded five different grants for early-concept programs. Each of these grants is $300,000 over a course of two years. Researchers at Rutgers Newark were awarded one of these grants.

    “Researchers at Rutgers University Newark will investigate the developmental origins of making in children’s play through the development of a Mobile Maker Center that can be brought to local science museums, parks, play centers, zoos or libraries to study children’s interactions with specially designed physical objects and computer-designed simulations.”

    Read more here.

    Source: 2016 Week of Making


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