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Drones Could Be Cheaper Alternative in Delivering Vaccines

Unmanned aerial vehicles could also improve vaccination rates in low- and middle-income countries

June 21, 2016

Unmanned drone delivery of vaccines may save money and improve vaccination rates in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new computer simulation by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC).

Delivery of vaccines by drones may be quicker and cheaper than by land-based methods limited by road conditions and the need for costly fuel and maintenance, according to the HERMES advanced computer model. The researchers reported their findings today in the journal Vaccine.

“When we're considering changes such as introducing drone delivery to a system as dynamic as a vaccine supply chain we might see unexpected consequences, not all of which are positive,” says Leila Haidari, public health applications manager at PSC and coauthor in the paper. “Computational modeling gives us the ability to assess the potential impacts of the change and inform our decision making.”

Read more about the study.

Read more about the HERMES supply chain model.

PSC Joins OpenHPC Framework

June 16, 2016

In partnership with PSC and other organizations the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today is announcing technical, leadership and member investment milestones for OpenHPC, a Linux Foundation project to develop an open source framework for High Performance Computing (HPC) environments.

While HPC is often thought of as a hardware-dominant industry, the software requirements needed to accommodate supercomputing deployments and large-scale modeling requirements is increasingly more demanding. An open source framework like OpenHPC promises to close technology gaps that hardware enhancements alone can’t address. Because open source software has proven its ability to reliably test and maintain operating conditions, it is quickly becoming the de facto software choice for the world’s most complex environments – meteorology, astronomy, engineering and nuclear physics, and big data science, among others.

In addition to PSC, organizations supporting the OpenHPC open source framework and serving as founding members of the project are Altair, Argonne National Laboratory, ARM, Atos, Avtech Scientific, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, CEA, Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (Indiana University), Cineca Consorzio Interuniversitario, Cray, Inc., Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), Lenovo, Los Alamos National Security (LANS), ParTec Cluster Computing Center, RIKEN, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), SGI, SUSE, and Univa.

Read more.

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Celebrates 30th Anniversary

June 8, 2016

On June 9, 2016, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) celebrates its 30th anniversary. The beginning of PSC’s fourth decade will see the center with two new supercomputers—the National Science Foundation-funded Bridges system, already operational and due for completion this fall, and an Anton 2 molecular dynamics simulation system, provided at no charge by D. E. Shaw Research and with operational funding from the National Institutes of Health to be hosted at PSC also beginning in the Fall.

The City of Pittsburgh cited PSC’s contributions to the region’s academic achievements and economy in a ceremony on June 7, proclaiming the 9th “PSC Day” in the city. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Senate and House have similarly recognized PSC’s contributions to the state.

Read more: PSC Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Opening Bridges

Early Success on PSC's Game-Changing Computational System

May 31, 2016

Scientists have reported progress in fields such as genomics, public health, chemistry, machine learning and more in the first two months of use for PSC’s new supercomputer, Bridges. As of May 26, PSC had allocated time for 245 projects on Bridges, with many more expected.

Read more: Early Success on Bridges

Kindling the Kindlers

Carnegie Science Award Recognizes PSC STEM Education Programs

March 30, 2016

PSC has received the 2016 Carnegie Science Center Award for Leadership in STEM Education. The award recognized three PSC staff members: Pallavi Ishwad, Hugh Nicholas and Alexander Ropelewski.

The Science Center established its annual awards in 1997 to recognize individuals and organizations in western Pennsylvania that have made outstanding contributions in science and technology. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Award "recognizes an individual, team or organization that demonstrates leadership in building literacy in science, technology, engineering and math."

"We're thrilled to see Hugh, Alex and Pallavi's work recognized by the STEM Leadership award," says Cheryl Begandy, PSC's director of education, outreach and training. "Their work does more than educate students in bioinformatics; by increasing awareness of this discipline, it helps prepare young people—and our workforce—for the 21st Century."

PSC's Bioinformatics Education Team has developed and implemented bioinformatics curriculums at the graduate, undergraduate and high school levels.

Read more: PSC STEM Education Program Wins Carnegie Science Award

Stitching Thought Together

PSC Powers Harvard’s, Allen Institute’s 3D-Reconstruction of Excitatory Visual Neuron Wiring

March 28, 2016

Why It’s Important:

One of the mysteries of brain function is how we make sense of the jumble of images that confront our eyes. Neuroscientists have discovered that most individual nerve cells in the brain respond to specific elements in the visual environment. For example, a nerve cell may fire in response to vertical lines—another, in response to horizontal or slanted lines. Researchers suspected that the mammalian cortex amplifies this signal by having nerve cells that respond to similar elements excite each other. This mutual excitation may help those elements stand out and prime the network for their further processing. But scientists had no anatomical evidence that this actually happens.

Read more: PSC Helps Reconstruct Visual Connections in Brain

YWCA Recognizes PSC's Cheryl Begandy for Leadership in Sci-Tech

March 15, 2016

Cheryl Begandy, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's director of education, outreach and training, has received the 2016 YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Women Leadership Award for Science & Technology.

Awards will be presented at the 34th Annual Tribute to Women Leadership Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 26 at noon.

Read more.

Anton 2 Supercomputer at PSC Will Increase Speed and Size of Molecular Simulations

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016

A $1.8-million National Institutes of Health grant to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) will make a next-generation Anton 2 supercomputer developed by D. E. Shaw Research (DESRES) available to the biomedical research community. A specialized system for modeling the function and dynamics of biomolecules, the Anton 2 machine at PSC will be the only one of its kind publicly available to U.S. scientists. The grant also extends the operation of the Anton 1 supercomputer currently at PSC until the new Anton 2 is deployed, expected in the Fall of 2016.

Read more: Anton 2 Will Increase Speed, Size of Molecular Simulations

$5-million Collaborative Grant Establishes NSF-funded Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

Jan. 15, 2016

The security of the more than $7 billion in research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be significantly bolstered, thanks to a $5-million grant awarded to Indiana University, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a collaborative effort to create the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

Read more: $5-million NSF Grant Funds Cybersecurity Center of Excellence