OSC's Ralph Regula School of Computational Science receives prestigious award for innovative minor program

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov 18, 2008) — 

The Krell Institute today presented the 2008 Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Sciences award to Steven I. Gordon and the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science, an initiative of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, for its innovative baccalaureate minor program.

“The Ralph Regula School serves as an excellent model for combining resources from several colleges to enable large numbers of students to include computational science in their education,” Charles D. Swanson of the Krell Institute said in an earlier award letter.

The Ralph Regula School is a statewide virtual school that focuses on education programs on the application of computer modeling and simulation to science and engineering. The minor program is coordinated through the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science, in collaboration with the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio Supercomputer Center, Ohio Learning Network and Ohio’s colleges and universities.

“This award further confirms what prominent federal committees and panels have cited – that a workforce skilled in computational science is key to global competitiveness in science and engineering,” said Steve Gordon, director of the Ralph Regula School.

“While previous investments in computational science have been primarily targeted at the solution of what are called ‘grand scientific challenges,’ we are now training students to apply computational science technologies to the challenges facing business and industry,” said Gordon. “With the computing resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and graduates from educational programs like this, we are helping to make Ohio and the United States world leaders in the application of computational science.”

Computational science describes the application of computing – especially supercomputing – to the solution of complex scientific and engineering problems. Computational scientists in academia and business use computers to create mathematical models that help them simulate and understand complicated mechanical and natural processes, improve their designs, and get products to market faster and less expensively.

One well-known example of computational science is modern weather forecasting, where vast amounts of data are combined with sets of mathematical formulas in a computer program called a weather model to develop forecasts. These forecasts are far more accurate and timely than were possible before computer modeling was available.

Another important example is the use of computer models to simulate and test new products prior to manufacturing. The use of "virtual prototypes" sharply reduces or even eliminates the slow and expensive process of building and testing physical prototypes.

The Krell Institute award consists of a $1,000 cash prize and a certificate was presented at the education award ceremony of the SC08 conference for high performance computing in Austin, Texas. The award honors innovation, educational impact and breadth in the development and implementation of educational materials for computational engineering and science (CES). It also promotes and enhances undergraduate education in CES.

The goal of the Krell Institute, located in Ames, Iowa, has been to provide superior technical resources, knowledge and experience in managing technology-based education and information programs. Krell is involved in the areas of developing the workforce, communicating science, bringing people together and innovating with technology. 

In 2007, a $250,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant bolstered a multi-institutional collaboration for the Ralph Regula School undergraduate minor in computational science. OSC and three Ohio community colleges also received a three-year, $695,000 NSF award to create a statewide associate degree program in computational science.

(EDITORS: For more information on the Ralph Regula School and a full list of the courses being offered, visit www.osu.edu/rrscs)


Celebrating over 20 years of service, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides reliable cyberinfrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.