PSC News in Brief - Spring 2019


PSC Supplies Computation to Large Hadron Collider Group

PSC is supplying computation for the world’s most powerful particle collider. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) scientists working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, in collaboration with the Open Science Grid, have begun analyzing data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) using PSC’s Bridges system. The work is driven by a vast upgrade to the LHC’s computational capabilities that scientists expect to need by 2026. In that year, the latest enhancement of the collider—the “High-Luminosity LHC,” or HL-LHC—comes online. The HL-LHC will increase the intensity of the collider, located at the CERN laboratory on the border between France and Switzerland, to 10 times that of its original design.

Data from the CMS and ATLAS detectors helped generate headlines in 2012—and a 2013 Nobel Prize—by identifying the long-sought Higgs boson, which gives mass to elementary particles. Scientists don’t know what the more powerful LHC will discover. At the very least, it will provide an opportunity to measure the properties of the Higgs boson in detail and thus test the standard model of particle physics to great precision. But this model is believed to be incomplete, and the HL-LHC will provide an opportunity for the discovery of new particles and new interactions.

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PSC Receives Best-Ever Six 2018 HPCwire Awards

PSC topped its best-ever performance of last year by receiving six 2018 HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards. Trade publication HPCwire presented the awards at the 2018 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC18), in Dallas, Texas.

PSC received Readers’ Choice Awards for:

  • Best Use of AI (Machine Learning/Deep Learning) – for CMU’s Libratus poker-playing AI
  • Best Use of HPC Application in Life Sciences – with CMU and Pitt, for the Brain Image Library
  • Best Use of HPC in Physical Sciences – for Northwestern University’s “high-pressure materials genome”
  • Best Use of High-Performance Data Analytics – for Weill Cornell Medicine’s genomic and transcriptomic work in the NASA Twins Study
  • Best HPC Collaboration (Academia/Government/Industry) – for the University of Delaware’s long time-scale simulations of HIV viral maturation

And an Editors’ Choice Award for:

  • Top HPC-Enabled Scientific Achievement – with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, XSEDE, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the Open Science Grid (OSG), for simulations underlying the localization of cosmic neutrinos by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

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Microsoft Supports PSC’s GCode Workshops

Thanks to $40,000 in grants from Microsoft Corporation, middle- and high-school girls, particularly those of color, again got a chance to try their hand at programming applications for mobile devices at PSC. The grants supported five GCode (“Girls Code”) workshops, which included both instruction and hands-on experience.

PSC established the GCode program in 2016 as a way to entice more girls to consider studies and careers in coding and computer science. The goal of GCode is to expose young women to key programming concepts in a way that engages them and builds their interest in continuing their education in CS/IS and to introduce them to career opportunities in related technology fields.

PSC Receives $289K for Expansion of Genome Biology Research

PSC received $289K in NSF funding for its work as part of the National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS). The independent grant accompanies an additional $962,613 in NSF funding to NCGAS at Indiana University. Together the two sites will continue the center’s work aiding discovery and innovation in biological sciences that use genomic methods.

The renewal of the three-year grants will support NCGAS’s ongoing and expanding activities, including bioinformatics consulting, education and outreach programs on genome analysis and assembly, and long-term archival storage for genome biologists. The center currently serves researchers across the United States, enabling the analysis and utilization of currently available genomic information. NCGAS leverages Bridges, PSC’s converged HPC, Big Data and AI system, as well as other systems in the NSF-funded XSEDE ecosystem, to enable increasingly large and complex genome and metagenome analyses.

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PSC & University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) Build Infrastructure for Human Tissue Atlas

A collaboration of Pittsburgh institutions will play a key role in enabling biologists to explore the human body in exquisite detail. By flipping among digital maps of different features revealed by modern molecular biology and imaging techniques, scientists will be able to chart a path through human health and disease using massive datasets that would otherwise be too complex to navigate. PSC and the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) at Pitt’s School of Medicine are undertaking the work as part of $54 million in funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP).

NIH will support PSC and Pitt DBMI with an initial $598,000 to integrate, host and provide secure access to high resolution, 3D biomolecular tissue data along with tools and services for searching, analyzing and visualizing these as maps. HuBMAP will help scientists gain insight into health, disease and aging. Initial funding covers a nine-month setup phase of what is expected to be a four-year program scaling up to full production, followed by an additional four-year production phase. Future developments of the project will involve additional funding for PSC and DBMI.

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