Five Grants Awarded for UH Student Research Using Maui High Performance Computing Center

University of Hawaiʻi
David Lassner, (808) 956-3501
UH Information Technology Services
Posted: Jan 25, 2005

HONOLULU — Five UH departments have been awarded grants totaling more than $116,000 to support students engaged in research using the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC). These are the first awards in a new internal program designed to advance University of Hawaiʻi research through greater student involvement and increased use of modern high performance computing (HPC) technologies.

"This kind of internal investment is indispensable in helping our own students learn to apply leading edge technologies to research problems, particularly those in Hawaiʻi," said Jim Gaines, UH Interim Vice President for Research.

The awardees for the 2004-05 academic year were selected competitively by UH and MHPCC staff based on: merit of the research and its importance to UH, MHPCC and Hawaiʻi; evaluation of the ability of the faculty and student to execute the work proposed; importance of internal support to the overall project objectives; impact of the project on bringing HPC to new students and new areas of research; and overall diversity of the award program portfolio.

Each of the students will work under the leadership of their faculty advisor throughout the academic year. They will be provided access to MHPCC supercomputing resources through an Educational Partnership Agreement between UH and the Air Force Research Lab, for which UH operates the MHPCC facility.

"One of the benefits of UH winning the contract to operate and manage MHPCC is that we are able to leverage resources to advance UH research while meeting the needs of the Air Force and other MHPCC customers," said David Lassner, UH Chief Information Officer and MHPCC Principal Investigator.

At the end of the award period, each student will give a public presentation about his or her research.

The five awardees are:
Aren Ewing, Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering
Advisor: Dr. Gernot Presting
Project Title: Gene Function Determinaton by Phylogenomics
Summary: Ewing will study the loss of certain genes over evolutionary time by comparing hundreds of complete genome sequences.

Seung Ha Lee, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Dr. Si-Hwan Park
Project Title: Seismic Soil-Structure Interaction Analysis of the Kealakaha Stream Bridge on Parallel Computers
Summary: Lee will collaborate with the Hawaii State Department of Transportation to study the behavior of a proposed bridge construction on the island of Hawai‘i. This is a very complex problem. Looking at the soil interaction with the bridge structure will calculate more than 50,000 points.

Eva-Marie Nosal, Geology and Geophysics
Advisor: Dr. L. Neil Frazer
Project Title: Acoustical Localization of Humpback Whales
Summary: Nosal has developed a computer program that identifies the position of humpback whales from their singing, as picked up on hydrophones in the ocean. In order to track whales over a larger area of the ocean, she will parallelize her software to run on multiple processors at MHPCC simultaneously.

Michael Paulding, Information and Computer Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Philip Johnson
Project Title: Assessing HPCS Productivity with Purpose-Based Benchmarks at MHPCC
Summary: In any shared system, performance is measured by benchmarks. In this project, Paulding will contribute to the body of High Productivity Computing Systems benchmarks available to researchers across the nation by implementing and testing the "Truss Optimizer" on supercomputers at MHPCC.

Yang Yang, Meteorology
Advisor: Dr. Yi-Leng Chen
Project Title: The Effect of Tradewind Strength and Direction on the Lee-side Circulations of the Island of Hawaii
Summary: Yang will use a land surface model developed at the Oregon State University and an atmospheric model developed at the Penn State University/National Center for Atmospheric Research to investigate the lee-side weather circulation of the Island of Hawai‘i. The project will incorporate data from over 50 monitoring stations on the island. These calculations will help increase understanding of the weather and rainfall patterns on that part of Hawai‘i.

Each of the above projects is made possible through the supercomputing resources at MHPCC. Another round of the program will be announced in Spring 2005 for the next academic year. UH faculty and students interested in the program or more information about HPC may visit or contact Sue Brown at 956-2808 or