Ohio High School Students to Embark on Two-Week Expedition Into the World of High Performance Computing and Networking at OSC

Columbus, Ohio -- July 9, 1998 -- The few have been chosen.

Sixteen students from across Ohio will soon take a two-week journey called "Adventures in Virtual Worlds" during the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Summer Institute, July 13-24 at the supercomputer center.

The program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, gives academically-outstanding high school freshman and sophomores a rare opportunity to step into the world of high performance computing and networking.

"The mission of the Summer Institute program is trifold," said Charlie Bender, OSC director. "Students learn how to use the Center's computing resources, and gain an understanding of the important role high performance computing and networking plays in science, industry, engineering and the arts. What's more, they learn a lot about working collaboratively as a team."

Teamwork is at the heart of OSC's Summer Institute, according to Bender. Students receive hands-on experience working in a research team environment, an environment commonly seen in science and engineering firms around the country. The students will be divided into teams to solve various challenging computational problems.

One team will use OSC's Silicon Graphics Power CHALLENGE supercomputer to model air flow through cylindrical pipes. Meanwhile, another group will create and analyze models of a bridge using the Center's Cray T94 supercomputer. The students will use a mathematical modeling method commonly used by scientists and engineers to analyze complex objects, the Finite Element Method. The students will then create a computer-generated simulation that represents the true characteristics of the bridge. They also will examine how their results could be applied by an industry to design safer, more structurally-sound bridges.

The first week of the program focuses on learning and enhancing programming skills necessary for the students to use the Center's equipment and to complete their team projects. It's week two of the institute that is the most intensive, however, because the students must apply what they learned during week one to complete their projects.

But OSC's Summer Institute is not just about intensive classes and hard work, Bender noted. It's also about fun and getting a glimpse into the future of high performance computing and networking.

"These students have a rare opportunity to hear about issues in the field that might impact their future, before they become common knowledge," Bender said. "They also get to see how technology is applied in industry with visits to METATEC and the Ohio State University Nuclear Reactor Laboratory."

For more information on SI 1998, go to http://www.osc.edu/SI.

The OSC Summer Institute program is sponsored by The Ohio State University and OSC. OSC is a state-supported resource serving Ohio's higher education community. The Center offers computing resources on a peer-review basis to faculty and students who are doing research in several disciplines including medicine, business, economics, engineering, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. OSC encourages collaboration between Ohio universities and industries to develop networking applications such as visualization and virtual environments. The Center's networking program provides Internet access to the majority of Ohio's colleges and universities, and state government agencies.