"This highly competitive programme is a great way for new researchers to explore complex scientific problems they may not otherwise be able to incorporate into their research. Access to funding, Blue Waters, and point of contact expertise will provide these fellows with the opportunity to accelerate their investigations and expand their research goals. Who knows, maybe they will even graduate sooner", stated Bill Kramer, Blue Waters director. "The Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship program has proven to be extremely valuable to the previous two cohorts of fellows and I am excited to see what this third cohort will accomplish."
Feedback about the fellowship programme has been extremely positive from current and past students and their advisors. One advisor of a 2015/2016 graduate fellow stated, "we're able to go in a very different direction now because it's almost unprecedented to run the kind of biogeochemical model that we want to run at this resolution. That's going to turn out to provide the dataset that other researchers will use." According to one of the fellows in the current (second) cohort, the fellowship and access to Blue Waters is "definitely letting me tackle science questions that I couldn't if I didn't have this fellowship".
Since its inception, the fellowship programme has been tracked and assessed by an independent evaluation team lead by Lizanne DeStefano the Executive Director at Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing. According to Dr. DeStefano, "the impact data suggest that the Blue Waters Fellows programme is transformational, producing a new generation of scientists who are experts in both their discipline and in the use of high performance computing. Their research not only offers significant contributions to the disciplinary knowledge base, but produces computational tools which elevate the research capacity of the files as a whole."
The 2016-2017 fellows are the following:
The fellows will receive a year of support to advance their research, including a tuition allowance and a substantial stipend, an allocation on Blue Waters, and funds to support travel to the annual Blue Waters Symposium. In three years, this fellowship programme will have awarded more than $1.3 million and over 50 million core equivalent hours to support graduate research.
Blue Waters is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and is the fastest supercomputer on a university campus, with more aggregate memory and data capabilities than any other openly available resource. Scientists and engineers across the country use the computing and data power of Blue Waters to tackle a wide range of challenging problems, from predicting the behaviour of complex biological systems to simulating the evolution of the cosmos. Blue Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.
The next call for applications for the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship programme will be in the fall of 2016.