Summary: The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is part of the University of Texas at Austin. 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.
What makes kevlar stop a bullet, at the atomic level? The properties of materials emerge from their molecular or atomic structure. Yet many details between the micro and the macro remain a mystery to science. Scientists are actively researching the rational design of targeted supramolecular architectures, with the goal of engineering their structural dynamics and their response to environmental cues. A team of chemists at the University of California, San Diego has now designed a two-dimensional protein crystal that toggles between states of varying porosity and density. This is a first in biomolecular design that combined experimental studies with computation done on supercomputers through an allocation on XSEDE, the Extreme Science And Engineering Discovery Environment, funded by the National Science Foundation. XSEDE awarded the UCSD researchers over a million core hours on the Maverick supercomputer, a dedicated visualization and data analysis resource that uses graphics processing units at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. The research, published in April of 2018 in Nature Chemistry, could help create new materials for renewable energy, medicine, water purification, and more. Study co-authors and chemists Akif Tezcan, Francesco Paesani, and Robert Alberstein of the University of California, San Diego join podcast host Jorge Salazar to discuss the findings.
Scientists have made the best computational modeling yet of mantle plumes. These are hypothesized, mushroom-shaped upwellings of hot rock from deep in the Earth that reach more than a thousand kilometers down. The scientists modeled mantle plumes on the Stampede supercomputer of the Texas Advanced Computing Center through an allocation on XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment funded by the National Science Foundation. And through XSEDE they also took advantage of Science Gateways and of the Campus Champions program at the University of Michigan. With that support they showed, for the first time, details of how mantle plumes form and how they rise from Earth's mantle. What's more, the researchers say their work could guide future experiments with seismic imaging and help get to the bottom of mysteries like the origin of Hawaii's volcanos. The international science team published their results on mantle plumes in January of 2018 in the American Geophysical Union's Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews study authors Ross Maguire and Jeroen Ritsema of the University of Michigan.
Scientists have used big data to catch a big fish genome. Researchers assembled and annotated for the first time the genome of Seriola dorsalis, also known as California Yellowtail, a fish of high value to the sashimi, or raw seafood industry. The science team members were from the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Iowa State University, and the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico. They published their results January of 2018 in the journal BMC Genomics. Assembling and annotating a genome is like building a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle, and the Seriola dorsalis genome had 685 million pieces - its base pairs of DNA - to put together. The researchers were awarded computational allocations from XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment funded by the National Science Foundation. That gave them access to the Blacklight system at the Pittsburg Supercomputing Center to assemble the Seriola dorsalis genome. XSEDE also allocated use of the Stampede1 supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to analyze and annotate the fish genome. What's more, the science team got direct help from workflow experts through the XSEDE Campus Champions program at PSC. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews two scientists and co-authors of the first-ever genomics work - Andrew Severin, Facility Manager; and Arun Seetharam, Associate Scientist. They're both at the Genome Informatics Facility of Iowa State University.
Imagine a new kind of computer that can quickly solve problems that would stump even the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Quantum computers are fundamentally different. They can store information as not only just ones and zeros, but in all the shades of gray in-between. Several companies and government agencies are investing billions of dollars in the field of quantum information. But what will quantum computers be used for? South by Southwest 2018 hosts a panel on March 10th called Quantum Computing: Science Fiction to Science Fact. Experts on quantum computing make up the panel, including Jerry Chow of IBM; Bo Ewald of D-Wave Systems; Andrew Fursman of 1QBit; and Antia Lamas-Linares of the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT Austin. Dr. Lamas-Linares is a Research Associate in the High Performance Computing group at TACC. Her background is as an experimentalist with quantum computing systems, including work done with them at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. She joins podcast host Jorge Salazar to talk about her South by Southwest panel and about some of her latest research on quantum information.
Artificial intelligence - or AI - is helping people make better decisions about how to manage water resources. That’s because scientists are taking the best tools of advanced computing to help make science-based decisions about complex and pressing problems in how to manage Earth’s resources, including water. A science panel on AI and water management meets in Austin, Texas on February 17th at the 2018 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Suzanne Pierce moderates and co-organized the panel. Pierce is a Research Scientist in Dynamic Decision Support Systems and part of the Data Management & Collections Group of the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Suzanne Pierce of TACC about the Intelligent Systems for Geosciences community, of which she is on the steering committee; her panel on AI and water management at the AAAS, and the work TACC is doing to support efforts to bridge advanced computing with Earth science.
Some scientists think there might be light at the end of the tunnel in the hunt for better semiconductor materials for solar cells and LEDs. That’s according to an August 2017 study that used supercomputer simulations with graphics processing units to model nanocrystals of silicon. Solar cells have a problem with heat. Photovoltaics on solar panels lose some energy as heat in when they convert sunlight to electricity. The reverse holds true for LED lights, which convert electricity into light. Scientists call the heat loss in LEDs and solar cells non-radiative recombination. And they’ve struggled to understand the basic physics of this heat loss, especially for materials with molecules of over 20 atoms. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Benjamin Levine, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University. Dr. Levine models the behavior caused by defects in materials, such as doping bulk silicon to transform it into semiconductors in transistors, LEDs, and solar cells. Levine and has used over 975,000 compute hours on the Maverick supercomputer, a dedicated visualization and data analysis resource architected with 132 NVIDIA Tesla K40 "Atlas" GPUs for remote visualization and GPU computing to the national community. XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment funded by the National Science Foundation, provided the allocation.
Some secrets of our skeletons might be found in the silky webs of golden orb weaver spiders, according to experiments guided by supercomputers. Scientists don’t yet understand the details of osteogenesis, or how bones form. A study found that silica combined with engineered silk derived from the dragline of golden orb weaver spider webs could be fine-tuned to activate genes in human stem cells that initiated biomineralization, a key step in bone formation. The study appeared September 2017 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The authors used supercomputers through and allocation from XSEDE, the Xtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, funded by the National Science Foundation. Stampede at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and Comet at the San Diego Supercomputing Center helped scientists model the protein folding of integrin, an essential step in the intracellular pathways that lead to osteogenesis. This research will help larger efforts to cure bone disorders such as osteoporosis or calcific aortic valve disease. Joining host Jorge Salazar of TACC on the podcast to talk about the bone formation study are Zaira Martín-Moldes of the Kaplan Lab at Tufts University and Davoud Ebrahimi at the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Black holes make for a great space mystery. They're so massive that nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole once it gets close enough. A great mystery for scientists is the evidence of powerful jets of electrons and protons that shoot out of the top and bottom of some black holes. Yet no one knows how these jets form. Computer code called Cosmos now fuels supercomputer simulations of black hole jets and is starting to reveal the mysteries of black holes and other space oddities. Cosmos code developer Chris Fragile joins host Jorge Salazar on the TACC podcast. Fragile is a professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department of the College of Charleston. Also featured on the podcast is Damon McDougall, a Research Associate in the HPC Applications at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, also appointed jointly at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences of the University of Texas at Austin. McDougall spoke more about XSEDE Extended Collaborative Support Services.
How do you make a building that can stand up to an earthquake? A summer camp at TACC smoothed the way for high school students to learn about the science behind building design for earthquakes. It's called Code @ TACC DesignSafe. The summer camp was funded by DesignSafe, a national program supported by the National Science Foundation. DesignSafe is a web-based research platform of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure Network that helps engineers build safer structures that can better withstand natural hazards such as earthquakes and windstorms. The Code @ TACC DesignSafe Camp students were given a project under budget to design their own custom building models outfitted with sensors that recorded their movement as they were shaken under laboratory conditions based on historical earthquake data. TACC Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Joon-Yee Chuah, Outreach Coordinator at the Texas Advanced Computing Center; Chunxiao Ge, a physics and biology teacher at the Colorado River Collegiate Academy of Bastrop ISD; and Patty Hill, an algebra teacher at Kealing Middle School at Austin ISD.
On July 28, 2017 The Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas at Austin dedicated a new supercomputer called Stampede2. Funded by a 30 million dollar award to TACC from the National Science Foundation, Stampede2 is the most powerful supercomputer at any academic institution in the U.S. Stampede2 will be used during its four-year lifecycle for scientific research and serve as a strategic national resource to provide high-performance computing capabilities to the open science community. TACC Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviewed Greg Fenves, President of UT Austin, to discuss Stampede2 and the importance of supercomputers to the university. Greg Fenves: Stampede2 is a fabulous technology. But technology ultimately comes from people's ideas. And what we've been able to do at the University of Texas and with the Texas Advanced Computing Center is bring some of the smartest people to work with our partners, Dell and Intel, to create fabulous new technology that can then be deployed and is now being deployed to take an unprecedented look at these tough challenges that we face as a society.
Our technology is becoming more personal and wearable. Everything from fitness trackers, to sleep trackers, to heart rate headphones aim to keep vital information about us at our fingertips. In June of 2017 TACC hosted a summer camp for high school students to learn how to make and program their own custom wearable technology. It's called Code @ TACC Wearables. The Code @ TACC Wearables Camp guided 27 high school students from the Austin area in how to fashion wearable circuits that responded to things like light and temperature and were connected to the Internet of Things. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Joonyee Chuah, Outreach Coordinator at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.
Welcome to a retrospective look at a few of the science highlights of the Stampede supercomputer, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the U.S. for open science research between 2013-2017. Funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted by The University of Texas at Austin, the Stampede system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center achieved nearly 10 quadrillion operations per second. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Peter Couvares, staff scientist at LIGO; University of California Santa Barbara physicist Robert Sugar; and Ming Xue, Professor in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and Director of the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms. Stampede helped researchers make discoveries across the full spectrum of science, including insight into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's; the insides of stars and the signals of gravitational waves; natural disaster prediction of hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados; and more efficient engineering in projects such as designing better rockets and quieter airplanes. Through nearly all of its service, Stampede was ranked in the Top 10 most powerful computers in the world, and it was the flagship system of the National Science Foundation's Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, which provides academic researchers access to technologies and expertise that drive U.S. innovation and open new frontiers for discovery.
In 2017, the Stampede supercomputer, funded by the National Science Foundation, completed its five-year mission to provide world-class computational resources and support staff to more than 11,000 U.S. users on over 3,000 projects in the open science community. But what made it special? Stampede was like a bridge that moved thousands of researchers off of soon-to-be decommissioned supercomputers, while at the same time building a framework that anticipated the eminent trends that came to dominate advanced computing. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Dan Stanzione, Executive Director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center; Bill Barth, Director of High Performance Computing and a Research Scientist at the Texas Advanced Computing Center; and Tommy Minyard, Director of Advanced Computing Systems at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.
On June 11 through 16 of 2017, TACC hosted a week-long summer camp called Code @TACC Robotics, funded by the Summer STEM Funders Organization under the supervision of the KDK Harmon Foundation. Thirty-four students attended. Five staff scientists at TACC and two guest high school teachers from Dallas and Del Valle also gave the students instruction. The students divided themselves into teams each with specific roles of principal investigator, validation engineer, software developer, and roboticist. They assembled a robotic car from a kit and learned how to program its firmware. The robotic cars had sensors that measured the distance to objects in front, and they could be programmed to respond to that information by stopping or turning or even relaying that information to another car near it. Teams were assigned a final project based on a real-world problem, such as what action to take when cars arrive together at a four-way stop. Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Joonyee Chuah, outreach coordinator at the Texas Advanced Computing Center; and Katrina Van Houten, teacher, Del Valle High School.
Podcast host Jorge Salazar interviews Xian-He Sun, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology. What if scientists could realize their dreams with big data? On the one hand you have parallel file systems for number crunching. On the other, you have Hadoop file systems, made for cloud computing with data analytics. The problem is that one doesn't know what the other is doing. You have to copy files from parallel to Hadoop. Doing that is so slow it can turn a supercomputer into a super slow computer. Computer scientists developed in 2015 a way for parallel and Hadoop to talk to each other. It's a cross-platform Hadoop reader called PortHadoop, short for portable Hadoop. The scientist have since improved it, and it's now called PortHadoop-R. It's good enough to start work with real data in the NASA Cloud library project. The data are used for real-time forecasts of hurricanes and other natural disasters; and also for long-term climate prediction. A supercomputer at TACC helped the researchers develop PortHadoop-R. The system is called Chameleon, a cloud testbed funded by the National Science Foundation. Chameleon is a large-scale, reconfigurable environment for cloud computing research co-located at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and also at the University of Chicago. Chameleon allows researchers 'bare-metal access,' the ability to change and adapt the supercomputer's hardware and customize it to improve reliability, security, and performance. Sun's PortHadoop research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology Program (AIST). Feature Story: www.tacc.utexas.edu/-/reaching-for-…-with-chameleon Music Credits: Raro Bueno, Chuzausen freemusicarchive.org/music/Chuzausen/