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Primeur weekly 2018-02-12

Quantum computing

New controls scale quantum chips ...

Controlling quantum interactions in a single material ...

Light controls two-atom quantum computation ...

Focus on Europe

TANGO project releases the Beta version of #TANGOToolbox to facilitate the effort of coding when targeting various hardware architectures ...

Nominations open for PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC 2018 ...

Optalysys and The Earlham Institute achieve over 90% energy savings in breakthrough project applying optical processing for DNA sequence alignment ...

Middleware

Sylabs emerges from stealth to bring Singularity container technology to enterprise performance computing ...

Dell EMC expands server capabilities for software-defined, edge and high-performance computing ...

Hardware

Virtual reality helps explore the GPS of the mind ...

HiPerGator is the number 3 most powerful computer at a U.S. public university ...

Supermicro expands edge computing and network appliance portfolio with new high density SoC solutions ...

Supermicro introduces Silicon Valley's first 3-Megawatt clean energy automated rack integration facility ...

One Stop Systems introduces highest bandwidth, 5th generation NVMe ion accelerator flash storage array ...

Applications

University of Illinois researcher recognized with ACM Fellowship for contributions to parallel programming ...

After the storm: Simulating and visualizing extreme weather with XSEDE ...

XSEDE's Maverick helps explore next generation solar cells and LEDs ...

Optimized solutions for treating bone fractures will soon be reality ...

UMass Amherst computer science experts in artificial intelligence join IBM's AI Horizons Network ...

AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second ...

University of Chicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars ...

Portland State University joins nationwide program to develop brain-inspired computing ...

The Cloud

Ampere launches to accelerate hyperscale Cloud computing innovations ...

Oracle Cloud growth driving aggressive global expansion ...

Leading Cloud providers join with NSF to support data science frontiers ...

Smartly containing the Cloud increases computing efficiency, according to first-of-its-kind study ...

After the storm: Simulating and visualizing extreme weather with XSEDE

Brian Jewett, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.30 Jan 2018 Urbana-Champaign - Brian Jewett, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Illinois, used to be a storm chaser. Or perhaps storm "racer" is a better term: On cold winter days when others were bundling up or staying home, he would head out to the Peoria airport in anticipation of a snowstorm. If he stayed ahead of the snow, he and the "PLOWS" team - short for ProfiLing Of Winter Storms - were piloted skyward in an NSF-funded ex-Navy plane to take radar and cloud-probe measurements that could give forecasters a better foundation for snow predictions. If, however, snow hit the runway before he did, he was out of luck: de-icing the plane upset the aircraft's sensitive scientific instruments, so takeoff post-snowfall was out of the question.

Of course, flying through the snow isn't all Brian Jewett does - and he'd be the first to tell you that those airbound adventures are a lot safer than they sound: "There's no white-knuckle element" he insists. Brian Jewett spends most of his time on solid ground, studying both tornadoes and winter storms. And when he's not gathering data in the field, he's working with resources and experts from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), a nationwide collection of advance digital resources and support lead by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at Illinois, to analyze, simulate, and visualize severe storms.

One of Brian Jewett's current projects involves simulating a catastrophic tornado from 2011 - the Joplin, MO, tornado, which struck on May 22, 2011, and left over 150 dead. With so much of the science of weather focused on using the present to predict the future, it may seem strange to look back at the unchangeable past. Brian Jewett suggests, however, that modelling storms that have already struck allows scientists to enhance their knowledge in meaningful ways, improving our understanding of how and why tornadoes strike. Take the Joplin tornado, which occurred when two small storms merged with a larger storm. Would there have been a tornado without that merger?

Using simulations, Brian Jewett and Kevin Van Leer, whose Master's thesis at Illinois developed from his work studying Joplin, can answer that question. By altering the conditions in their model, they discovered that if the small storms had been weaker, there would have been no tornado - but, unexpectedly, if they hadn't existed at all, the twister would have found another way to form. And it's not just weather that can be altered in simulations: When modelling a Chicago snowstorm, the PLOWS team decided to figure out the effect Lake Michigan had on the snow - by removing it from the model entirely.

In the old days, according to Brian Jewett, scientists had to search through hundreds of real storm records trying to determine the consequences of specific conditions on the progression of a particular storm. Now, they can use models. For Brian Jewett, XSEDE makes all these simulations possible. Brian Jewett remembers questioning whether the work he needed done could be accomplished on a local computer cluster - but the answer was no. "These are big problems, scaling to bigger and bigger problems", he stated. "And they're computationally intensive. We really do need XSEDE."

Brian Jewett and his team utilize the Stampede and Stampede2 supercomputers and the Ranch mass storage system housed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in Austin. Brian Jewett believes the ability to work with computing resources at XSEDE's scale is highly valuable for future scientists; that's why he teaches two courses - Introduction to Computational Geosciences and, at the graduate level, Numerical Fluid Dynamics - that introduce students to XSEDE resources like Jetstream, a Cloud environment hosted by TACC and Indiana University, and the very same supercomputers Brian Jewett conducts his research on. "The idea is to expose them to supercomputer centre resources, so they'll know what questions to ask" when conducting their own research with powerful computing resources.

In addition to compute resources, Brian Jewett works with two kinds of experts through XSEDE's Extended Collaborative Support Services (ECSS). David O'Neal of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center has helped Brian Jewett and his students run their systems efficiently, particularly when it comes to parallelization.

"XSEDE has done their own benchmarking", on optimal parallelization practices, Brian Jewett noted, and David O'Neal brings that understanding to Brian Jewett's project. David O'Neal also helps Brian Jewett store outputs in a cost-effective manner - something Brian Jewett says scientists normally consider a hassle - which then allows Brian Jewett to interact with his data at a more detailed level. Now, Brian Jewett is also working with Dave Bock, a visualization expert at NCSA, to better understand the lead-up to the Joplin tornado. Bock is a "visualization wizard", according to Brian Jewett, who previously worked with NCSA's Advanced Visualization Lab to bring his and Kevin Van Leer's Joplin simulations to life in 2016. This time around, he has additional data - in part thanks to David O'Neal - that will help fine-tune the process. "We're going to find out new things this way", Brian Jewett predicted.

Flying through snowstorms is undoubtedly exhilarating, but modern computing capabilities make the power and possibility of computer simulations just as exciting - and a fair bit warmer. "XSEDE is a fabulous resource", Brian Jewett stated, adding that today's technology makes scientists wonder what leaps of understanding might have been achieved earlier if brilliant people like Ted Fujita - namesake of the Fujita scale for measuring tornado intensity - had had access to resources like those offered by XSEDE. "He had such partial data", Brian Jewett said of Ted Fujita. "What if he had had supercomputers?"

Profiling of Winter Storms is supported by the National Science Foundation through award AGS-1247404.
Source: National Center for Supercomputing Applications - NCSA

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2018-02-12

Quantum computing

New controls scale quantum chips ...

Controlling quantum interactions in a single material ...

Light controls two-atom quantum computation ...

Focus on Europe

TANGO project releases the Beta version of #TANGOToolbox to facilitate the effort of coding when targeting various hardware architectures ...

Nominations open for PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC 2018 ...

Optalysys and The Earlham Institute achieve over 90% energy savings in breakthrough project applying optical processing for DNA sequence alignment ...

Middleware

Sylabs emerges from stealth to bring Singularity container technology to enterprise performance computing ...

Dell EMC expands server capabilities for software-defined, edge and high-performance computing ...

Hardware

Virtual reality helps explore the GPS of the mind ...

HiPerGator is the number 3 most powerful computer at a U.S. public university ...

Supermicro expands edge computing and network appliance portfolio with new high density SoC solutions ...

Supermicro introduces Silicon Valley's first 3-Megawatt clean energy automated rack integration facility ...

One Stop Systems introduces highest bandwidth, 5th generation NVMe ion accelerator flash storage array ...

Applications

University of Illinois researcher recognized with ACM Fellowship for contributions to parallel programming ...

After the storm: Simulating and visualizing extreme weather with XSEDE ...

XSEDE's Maverick helps explore next generation solar cells and LEDs ...

Optimized solutions for treating bone fractures will soon be reality ...

UMass Amherst computer science experts in artificial intelligence join IBM's AI Horizons Network ...

AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second ...

University of Chicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars ...

Portland State University joins nationwide program to develop brain-inspired computing ...

The Cloud

Ampere launches to accelerate hyperscale Cloud computing innovations ...

Oracle Cloud growth driving aggressive global expansion ...

Leading Cloud providers join with NSF to support data science frontiers ...

Smartly containing the Cloud increases computing efficiency, according to first-of-its-kind study ...