OSC Completes Successful Summer Education Programs

OSC (Ohio Supercomputer Center) concluded its 2003 summer education programs with successful results. This season’s programs offered unique learning opportunities for many groups, from college professors and high school teachers to graduate, high school, and even middle-school students. This year was particularly successful in helping OSC fulfill its mission to help others learn high performance computing.

YWSI 2003
Targeted to middle-school girls, YWSI was held on July 27-August 2 to promote skills and careers in computers, math, and science. This year, eighteen girls from 10 Ohio counties and seven teachers attended OSC’s YWSI camp; 22 girls and five teachers attended YWSI at Kent State University.

Young Women’s Summer Institute (YWSI) is a response to girls’ lack of interest in math and science and women’s low participation in the science and technology fields. YWSI helps girls develop an interest in these subjects by allowing them to investigate practical, interesting scientific projects on Ohio watersheds using the latest computer technology. The program introduces girls to exciting careers and job opportunities in computers, math, and science.

All 18 girls said they learned a great deal at this year’s YWSI and most would recommend the program to their friends. One girl commented in her final program evaluation, “All my life, I’ve learned about science through a chalkboard, pencil and paper, but in this program, I’ve learned about science through computers. It was a great experience.”

More information on YWSI is available at http://www.osc.edu/ywsi.

SI 2003: A Prime Year for Computing
OSC’s Summer Institute, held on July 13-25 on The Ohio State University (OSU) campus, is designed for Ohio's high school freshmen and sophomores to experience firsthand the dynamic fields of high performance computing (HPC) and networking. SI2003: A Prime Year for Computing set a record with four female participants out of 12 participating in the institute, including one former YWSI student.

Working with kids their own age and with similar interests, students explored everything from computational chemistry to mechanical engineering all while applying newly learned programming and visualization skills. This year, student teams delved into the advanced computation projects of artificial intelligence, parallel processing, and virtual reality markup language (VRML).

“Summer Institute 2003 far exceeded my expectations due to enthusiastic students, dedicated high school teachers, and trained OSC staff all working together to use world-class supercomputers on immensely impressive science and 3D visualization projects,” said Dr. David Ennis, Summer Institute Director.

To make the experience especially relevant to the students, OSC invited experts from the science, HPC and networking communities to speak with the students about relevant topics and careers in science. Two expert speakers included Klaree Boose,
Research Assistant at the OSU Chimpanzee Center, and Dr. Kris Selgren, an OSU Physics Professor. Students also embarked on field trips to the OSU Biodynamics Lab and the Center for Automotive Research to expand their understanding of how HPC can be applied.

More information about Summer Institute is available at http://www.osc.edu/si.

OSC Graduate Student Workshop and Conference
OSC’s Graduate Student Workshop and Conference, sponsored by the OSC HPC Division and organized by Dr. David Ball, Cleveland State University Chemistry Professor, was held on August 7-8. The workshop and conference introduced Ohio graduate students to OSC’s computational resources and capabilities. It also provided students with an opportunity to exchange information about their research projects. This two-day event included several workshops, as well as competitive oral and poster research presentations. Six Ohio colleges and universities were represented at the conference.

Michael Tallhamer, a graduate student at Cleveland State University’s Department of Chemistry and Physics, received the 2003 OSC Graduate Conference Student Achievement Award. His research project focused on the computational investigation of tetrahydrobiopterin’s role in the electron transfer of nitric oxide synthase. His research involves understanding how electrons move around in nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that promotes the formation of nitric oxide (NO) in the body.

Tallhamer said this year’s graduate conference was by far one of the best conferences he’s attended. “It not only allowed me to interact with researchers from various fields, including my own, but also made me aware of the variety of tools that OSC has made available to researchers in need of high-speed computational resources,” he said.

The National Computational Science Institute (NCSI) was held on June 16-22 at OSC. This regional workshop offered one-week training to help attendees incorporate modeling and visualization tools into their current curriculums.

The Shodor Education Foundation created NCSI to expand the regional workshops known as the Shodor Computational Science Institute (SCSI). During a series of workshops at more than 18 partner sites across the country, NCSI introduced the use of computational science, numerical models, and data visualization tools.

NCSI trainers conducted the workshop at OSC for faculty to learn about computational science tools and techniques across the curriculum and extend their experience with modeling tools. This workshop helped faculty investigate the capabilities, tools and course module development process in a more hands-on environment. Participants were instructed on a variety of models, software, and supporting materials that can be directly incorporated into new learning experiences for undergraduate students.

Workshop attendees received free curriculum materials and software, consultation on implementing computational science at their institutions, and year-round support from NCSI staff. In addition, they received free lodging and meals, stipend to use at their home institutions, and limited travel scholarships.

More information on NCSI workshops is available at http://www.computationalscience.net/.

“The NCSI workshop is intended to help undergraduate faculty transform their teaching from standard lectures to hand-on modeling of the subjects and systems they study,” said Steve Gordon, OSC Deputy Director. “Students find that approach both more engaging and a more effective way to learn.”