Photo caption: Dr. Rahul Gomes, assistant professor of computer science, talks with student researcher Avi Devy Mohan about their 2021 research, which was a collaborative project with Mayo Clinic Health System.
In late January, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire received an award from the National Science Foundation, which will offer opportunities for students to combine high-performance computing with multidisciplinary undergraduate research.
This NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant is titled “Advancing high-performance computing opportunities in undergraduate research at UW-Eau Claire to meet challenges of multidisciplinary computational science,” and it will connect all associated projects to the power of the university’s supercomputing cluster, the Blugold Center for High-Performance Computing, established in spring 2021.
The grant award, totaling $385,762, will allow UW-Eau Claire to host 10 undergraduate students for 10-week collaborative research programs each summer from 2022-24. Special consideration for acceptance will be given to historically excluded groups in two-year colleges, where research opportunities are limited.
Dr. Rahul Gomes, assistant professor of computer science at UW-Eau Claire and the principal investigator on the grant, explains the increasingly critical role that high-performance computing (HPC) plays in many areas of scientific research and how this grant will help UW-Eau Claire leverage its tremendous capabilities in this arena.
“Over the past decade, we have witnessed significant growth in HPC activities in education and research across all disciplines,” Gomes says. “Investing in HPC and continuing to incorporate it in undergraduate research will further position UW-Eau Claire to train future scientists across many STEM fields to their full potential.”
Dr. Sudeep Bhattacharyay, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is co-principal investigator on this grant. He explains that by recruiting students at two-year colleges to apply for research positions, UW-Eau Claire can improve the diversity of STEM fields.
“UW-Eau Claire traditionally offers a rich research environment with strong mentor-mentee bonding,” Bhattacharyay says. “Through this 10-week program, students will have hands-on training in cutting-edge HPC-based research tools designed to meet the challenges of multidisciplinary computational sciences. We hope the research experience will encourage them to pursue four-year degrees in STEM disciplines. Finally, we feel that these efforts would establish UW-Eau Claire as a pioneer in the Chippewa Valley to promote a diverse STEM workforce of 21st-century scientists.”
The first round of REU projects will run from June 6-Aug. 12; the application deadline is March 18.
The project topic areas for summer 2022 include:
- Machine learning and computer vision.
- Infrared spectroscopic tissue imaging.
- Social media analytics.
- Quantum-chemical simulation.
- Computer simulation of electrode materials.
- Stellar astrophysics.
- Vegetation mapping with UAV and GIS.
- Multiscale modeling of complex biomolecular structures.
Each student participant in the REU program will receive a stipend of $6,000 and will be provided food and on-campus housing for the 10 weeks at no charge.
In addition to unparalleled collaborative research experience, the REU program will include:
- Workshops related to high-performance computing, computational science, ethics and responsible conduct of research, and laboratory safety.
- Seminars in topics such as undergraduate research, scientific writing, career planning and diversity.
- Guest speaker presentations and field trips.
- Social events.
All currently enrolled college students at two- or four-year institutions who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply to these UW-Eau Claire REU experiences. In hopes of increasing diversity in the STEM fields, applicants from historically marginalized groups and first-generation college students are especially welcome.
To find details about the faculty and projects, and to complete an application, visit the UW-Eau Claire REU website.