2016 Research Report

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In 2016, the Ohio Supercomputer Center arrived at another crossroads. We began installation of the most powerful supercomputer in the history of the center. We swapped out almost all of our storage and other infrastructure, essentially rebuilding OSC’s production infrastructure from the ground up.

In late 2015, an engineering services provider developed a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) app that allows college students on Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) teams to perform aerodynamics simulations on Ohio Supercomputer Center systems and get wind tunnel-like data for development of their race cars.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center is much more than a dark room full of glittering, powerful hardware, a fact that our clients discover the moment they request an account to perform whatever research they need done.

A melting pot of eye-opening scientific research projects immersed attendees of the December 2015 Statewide Users Group (SUG) meeting at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC).

In 2016, OSC brought on board the largest supercomputer in its history. Its name pays tribute to renowned Olympic sprinter, beacon for racial equality and youth advocate James C. “Jesse” Owens.

OSC advanced materials research icon Advanced Materials

Bharat Bhushan, Ph.D., was on sabbatical at Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne, Switzerland in 2005 when a transformation began.

After reading an article in a trade magazine on the lotus leaf’s water repellant properties, Bhushan’s industrial research launched down a greener, livelier new path.

To enable the rational design of future materials, such as batteries that could more safely and efficiently power electric cars, a research group at The Ohio State University is developing an innovative modeling approach to reveal the details of the microscopic structure and dynamics in microphase-separated polymer electrolytes.

One of the grand challenges in materials science is discovering exactly how materials form glasses.

David Simmons, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of Akron’s Department of Polymer Engineering is trying to understand at the fundamental level the relationship between the molecular structure and the way a material forms a glass.

Alfred Nobel, namesake of the Nobel Prizes, was originally known for inventing dynamite, though not fondly, as he found out. When his brother died, a newspaper erroneously reported Alfred’s death. The obituary chided him for his invention that, especially at that time, often proved deadly.

OSC biological sciences research icon Biological Sciences

In less than 10 years, the way genetic data has been collected has sped up in a major way. Previously, collecting data from a species was done one gene at a time, on an individual-by-individual basis, but new sequencing technologies allow researchers to process hundreds of thousands of genes at a time.

Sometimes numbers can be startling.

For instance, natural rubber is used in 50,000 commercial products, including 400 medical devices, because of its unique properties with regard to resilience, elasticity, abrasion and impact resistance, efficient heat dispersion and malleability at cold temperatures. It’s a critical raw material that developed countries simply can’t live without.

A critical first step oncologists must take after finding a patient has breast cancer is to look for overexpressed hormone receptors in the cancer cells. This determines the type of therapy that will be used to most effectively combat the disease.

The difference between hearing and a lifetime of silence sometimes lies in the integrity of tiny inner ear proteins. Before Marcos Sotomayor, Ph.D., began studying these proteins, very little was known about hearing at the molecular level.

Energy

When considering an electric vehicle, many motorists encounter a paradox: they would be willing to make the leap if there were more support infrastructure for them. Conversely, investors might loosen the purse strings to fund electric vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations, if more people drove them.

The Dunietz Group at Kent State University is researching key processes in material science at a very fundamental level. The computational group led by Barry Dunietz, Ph.D., provides molecular-level insight into charge-transfer processes through various molecular interface to understand the structure effects on the motion of electrons.

In the summer of 2012, the federal government handed the auto industry a major technological challenge by setting a fuel-economy goal of 54.5 miles per gallon as the industry standard by 2025.

By comparison: In 2012, the standard was 29.7 mpg, which was raised to 35.5 mpg in 2016.

Consumption of energy is increasing worldwide due to the steady increase in the human population and the long-term growth of the international economy. A group of researchers at a northwestern Ohio science lab have been leveraging Ohio Supercomputer Center services to investigate solar-based fuel production as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

Environment

The clouds above our heads provide some of the biggest uncertainties in weather prediction, but a better understanding of their layers could unlock answers.

A research team at Bowling Green State University has been employing Ohio Supercomputer Center systems to better understand the photochemistry of halogenated hydrocarbons. Their study will contribute to a general understanding of solvent environmental effects on chemical reactions and, perhaps, to the ability to control chemical reaction pathways using ultrafast laser techniques.

Antarctica is more than five million square miles of vast, frozen ice and rock marked by bone-freezing temperatures, high winds, no running water and few signs of life. But what it lacks in accommodations, it makes up for in something important to the rest of the world: Information.

Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D., gets priceless reactions when he shares a fun fact from his studies: There are over 50 million viruses in one mouthful of ocean water. Before you cancel your beach trip, these viruses infect microbes, not humans. Sullivan’s lab at The Ohio State University studies and catalogs these viruses, using data processing from the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

OSC industrial engagement icon Industrial Engagement

Advanced Numerical Solutions (ANSOL) is proof the industrial engagement efforts of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) are quite beneficial to the “little guy.”

Nimbis Services Inc., a charter partner of the AweSim industrial engagement initiative led by the Ohio Supercomputer Center, has been delving into access complexities and producing, through innovative e-commerce solutions, an easy approach to modeling and simulation resources for small and medium-sized businesses.

The performance of semiconductor devices such as solar cells, detectors, etc., depends strongly on the properties of materials used in their fabrication. Deep understanding of these properties and the ability to tune them is critical for the development of new generations of advanced photovoltaics and electronics.

When your business is manufacturing valves, predictable and controlled fluid flow is essential. So when Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc. encountered a proportional valve that wasn’t delivering consistent performance, they knew they needed to take a closer look at the issue.

OSC research landscape Research Landscape

When life-threatening weather events loom, forecasters warn citizens days, even weeks, beforehand so they can take action. It seems to work: We clear supermarket shelves, board up windows and even evacuate to higher ground ahead of the impending tempest to avoid danger.

Blind to bias in its threat to human life is another force of nature – epidemics.

Within the Ohio State University’s Computational Memory Lab, Per Sederberg, Ph.D., studies the successes and failures of human memory. Part of his work includes developing computational models to link neural activity and behavior to guide experimental work.

While it’s a chore most parents dread, properly installing a car seat is one of the most important things they can do to protect their child. Yun Seok Kang, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Injury Biomechanics Research Center (IBRC) at The Ohio State University, is working toward making child restraint systems (CRS) even safer.

How do we as individuals learn from our social networks? From whom within our communities is it best to learn? And what makes some communities more innovative than others?