2008 Research Report

In a lush valley on the border of Switzerland and France, more than 1,000 physicists, engineers, and technicians from 30 countries are working to answer questions about the fundamental nature of matter.

In the science and engineering community, three computer-programming languages, MATLAB, Mathematica and Python, are among the most popular. Called high-level languages, they let researchers focus on solving problems by cloaking the basic, yet necessary, coding that computers require.

The sea-ice melt that last summer opened the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic for the first time since satellite records began in 1978 may signal a significant climatic shift that has serious economic and ecological implications for wildlife, natural resources and world politics.

An Ohio State University statistics expert used the powerful machines of the Ohio Supercomputer Center to design a program that identifies traffic accident hotspots on Ohio’s roadways. Christopher Holloman, Ph.D., produced color-coded computer models to tell state troopers where fatal and injury accidents, especially those from speeding and drunk driving, are most likely to occur.

In the near future, the world’s fastest supercomputers will incorporate millions of processing elements, a substantial increase in scale over the high performance computing systems in use at leading research centers today. At the same time, however, the rates at which users can access data storage devices, such as hard disks, are not increasing at the same rate.

By using the same technique that recently revealed two planets more than 5,000 light years away from Earth, Ohio State University researchers could again potentially uncover new celestial bodies.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate, Advanced Radar Waveforms & Processing Branch recently installed a remote testing facility to gather data for radio frequency (RF) tomography technology.

The sounds of war, when accurately captured and processed, shed their cacophonous echoes and leave a trail of unique, acoustical fingerprints. Much like sonar detects and classifies underwater resonance, acoustic signal processing sensors capture sounds in the air.

A researcher specializing in indentifying biomarkers for childhood obesity may wish for the insights made possible through the use of a powerful nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer situated on the other side of the state.

The Department of Defense, like many companies and organizations, have leveraged the advances in supercomputing to compute increasingly complex and large computational problems. File sizes have equally expanded with the growth in computing power, especially if the files contain very large sets of data.

OSC advanced materials research icon Advanced Materials

Scientists are developing hypersonic aircraft that can travel at speeds beyond Mach 5 (3,800 mph) and travel from New York to London in less than an hour. In military applications, flight above Mach 8 will be needed for effective homeland security. Several technical obstacles remain, however. 

The stalwart computing power of the Ohio Supercomputer Center recently played an integral role in a groundbreaking discovery by Cornell University scientists. 

Janet E. Del Bene, Ph.D., professor emeritus of chemistry at Youngstown State University, has relied on the Ohio Supercomputer Center since its inception in 1987 for her research in quantum theoretical chemistry.

Composite laminates — engineered materials made from two or more distinct properties — can be found everywhere, from asphalt-concrete roads to the shell of the space shuttle.

Materials are fundamental to all forms of technology; the examples are all around us.

Ohio State University chemists and their colleagues have created a new material that overcomes two of the major obstacles to solar power: it has an absorption spectrum that closely matches that of the solar spectrum, and it generates long-lived excited electrons that should allow solar cells to generate electricity more efficiently.

Spintronics – short for spin-based electronics – may soon provide tinier, faster and more robust components for small electronic devices and computers. The spintronics approach stores electronic data through magnetic properties caused by the spinning of electrons, in addition to the fundamental electrical charge of electrons that is used by more conventional computers.

Somnath Ghosh, Ph.D., a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at The Ohio State University, believes that to develop new materials, it is paramount for researchers to understand material characteristics at the atomic level, especially when designing and fabricating nanostructures.

OSC biological sciences research icon Biological Sciences

The story unfolds all too frequently. Parents, worried about their baby’s fever and severe abdominal pain, visit the emergency room — then learn their precious child has neuroblastoma, a debilitating pediatric cancer. As little as two years ago, all children with neuroblastoma received the exact same treatment: Chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, surgery and radiation.

Stacie Traylor delivered her tiny baby five weeks prematurely because of complications from gestational diabetes. Concerned doctors at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, informed Stacie that little Emilie had suffered a collapsed lung.

As the Knowledge Center for caGrid, researchers at The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center are using their expertise to develop software infrastructure and hardware resources that may speed cancer research discoveries.

Rice serves as the staple food for more than half the world’s population, especially in tropical Latin America, and East, South and Southeast Asia. Additionally, rice is used in products such as straw and rope, paper, wine, crackers, beer, cosmetics, packing material − even toothpaste.

A treatment, or perhaps even cure, for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or autism could lie in managing a specific family of proteins that control messages sent to the brain.

As the expression goes, the devil is in the details. Fortunately, Ohio State University Professor Michael Freitas and his team have developed a way to leverage one of cancer’s evil tell-tale signs: Changes in the weight of specific proteins, measured out to the third decimal place. Dr.

Ohio ranks first in the Midwest and fourth-best nationally in the biosciences, according to a 2008 Business Facilities Magazine report. And, while Ohio annually produces more than 18,000 bioscience graduates, the labor needs of the industry remain unmet, especially in the growing specialty of bioinformatics.

The average person rarely considers the antithesis of life-sustaining oxygen. The molecule can, in certain situations, become an aggressive, toxic chemical. At the center of this about-face are oxygen-based radicals − generally called reactive oxygen species (ROS) − that have an unpaired electron.

The next generation of surgeons — many who grew up playing video games — are using real-time, interactive computer simulations to learn delicate surgical techniques required for operations on the human skull.

Ohio State’s Graphics and Visualization Research Group embodies the proverb that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” These researchers specialize in scientific visualizations — the science of translating data analysis into cutting-edge renderings.

OSC research landscape Research Landscape

As a political scientist, Professor Luke Keele’s expertise in applying statistical techniques to social sciences serves him well.

For years, experts have predicted that ubiquitous videoconferencing was just ahead. Now, several videoconferencing trends — including improved quality, reduced cost and the economy — have fueled demand.

Over the past few decades, developing countries have increasingly used microfinance, the practice of making small loans to the working poor. TrickleUp, Kiva.org, and more than 3,6000 microfinance institutions worldwide offer hope for a more cost-effective method of empowering the poor. However, until now, little academic research has looked at the loans’ actual impacts.

Do no harm. In the effort to manage the forest habitats of the endangered Indiana bat, naturalists must always, always, first consider the impact on this nocturnal mammal. Bats perform a vital ecological role, feeding entirely on flying insects; a single bat can consume thousands of mosquitoes each night.

As a computational linguist, Ohio State University Professor Chris Brew merges computer science with the scientific study of language and communication.

Researchers need look no further than the Ohio Supercomputer Center for a convenient way to access the MATLAB Parallel Computing Toolbox and ParaM, two versions of Parallel MATLAB technologies.

Psychologists increasingly wrestle with how to model one of the most sophisticated processing units of all — the human brain. In the cognitive sciences, models are very diverse; they can range from closedform equations with a few parameters to simulation-based models with many parameters.

The vast fresh-water Amazon floodplain plays an important role in climate changes, biogeochemical fluxes, wetlands ecology and flood hazards. Yet, scientists really don’t know exactly how much water courses through the world’s largest river.