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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Supercomputer at MSU's HPC2 Ranks 4th Fastest in U.S. Academia: Supercomputer to Power NGI and NOAA Research

Orion
Photo by Logan Kirkland

Orion, MSU's newly installed supercomputer, is capable of more than 5 quadrillion calculations per second. A new Top500 Supercomputer Site ranking released this week reveals that "Orion" is the 4th fastest academic system in the U.S. The Top500.org list, which ranks the world's most powerful non-distributed computer systems, also gives the MSU supercomputer an overall worldwide ranking of No. 62.

From improving weather forecasts to making safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles to better securing the cyber world, Mississippi State's technologically-advanced supercomputers have been helping researchers identify solutions to real-world challenges for decades.

With this month's installation of a new supercomputer capable of more than 5 quadrillion 5,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second, the university is strengthening its reputation as a leader for cutting-edge computational research. A new Top500 Supercomputer Site ranking released this week reveals that MSU's is the 4th fastest academic system in the U.S. The Top500.org list, which ranks the world's most powerful non-distributed computer systems, also gives the MSU supercomputer an overall worldwide ranking of No. 62.

Trey Breckenridge, director of high performance computing at Mississippi State's High Performance Computing Collaboratory, known as HPC2, said supercomputing capabilities are imperative to the university's research enterprise.

"Orion is capable of over 5 petaFLOPS, or Trillion Floating Point Operations Per Second, of computer power," Breckenridge said. "That is five thousand trillion calculations per second."

Located in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park adjacent to the Starkville campus, Orion is MSU's largest supercomputer to date. It has 72,000 processing cores and nearly 350 terabytes of Random Access Memory, or RAM.

Breckenridge described the magnitude of Orion's physical size as 28 computer cabinets, with each cabinet being the size of an industrial refrigerator. It requires a megawatt of power to run and 250 tons of chilled water for cooling.

"Our previous system, Shadow, was capable of over 593 trillion calculations per second. This new system is nearly 10 times larger,"  Breckenridge said.
 
Trey
Photo by Logan Kirkland
Trey Breckenridge, director of high performance computing at Mississippi State's High Performance Computing Collaboratory, said MSU's new supercomputer Orion will enable scientists to conduct more advanced computational research benefiting citizens across Mississippi, the U.S. and world.

Orion is funded through grants totaling $22 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support NOAA research activities in environmental modeling, including weather modeling and simulation. The Dell-EMC system is providing additional high performance computing capacity to run large, more complex and more detailed environmental models, while advancing the historic and on-going relationships between MSU and NOAA scientists.

MSU has been a leader in computing research for decades, having a supercomputer appear on 27 of the last 48 Top500 lists, dating back to 1996.

Breckenridge said a supercomputer is one of the fastest, most powerful computers in the world at any given point in time. He explained that a supercomputer allows researchers and scientists to conduct tedious calculations and simulations of physical phenomena, ultimately resulting in a better understanding of the world around us.

One of MSU's historic super computations occurred in 1998 during what has become known as the "John Glenn Mission".

During NASA's space shuttle mission STS-95, the scientific agency called on MSU researchers to ensure the shuttle's safe return after a steel plate protecting the aircraft's drag chute became dislodged. The uncovered parachute, likelihood of accidental deployment, and unknown possibilities with the shuttle's reentry into the earth's atmosphere had NASA relying on MSU scientists to perform a simulation using unstructured grid technology developed by the university. What could have taken some researchers months to complete was successfully done in two days at MSU, and the astronauts return was safeguarded.
 
Wires
Photo by Logan Kirkland
Located in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park adjacent to the Starkville campus, MSU's new supercomputer Orion has 72,000 processing cores and nearly 350 terabytes of Random Access Memory, or RAM. It requires a megawatt of power to run and 250 tons of chilled water for cooling.

"NASA could have called on any other lab, university or center to do a simulation, but they called us", Breckenridge said. “We devoted half of our largest supercomputer resource to do the analysis, which indicated that there would be no ill effect during the launch without the panel.

Breckenridge said HPC2's supercomputing resources have been used for other projects, including simulations of a fully configured submarine for the U.S. Navy; military ground vehicle design for the U.S. Department of Defense; data analytics for the U.S. Department of Energy; cybersecurity research for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and ocean and storm surge modeling for NOAA.

"Hi-performance computing is becoming prevalent in nearly every aspect of our lives," Breckenridge said. "Supercomputers are becoming more mainstream, and we are seeing greater adoption of them. These tools are all about making life better for all of us."

Breckenridge said Mississippi is home to two of the five Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Centers (DSRC), the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center DSRC in Vicksburg and the U.S. Navy DSRC at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

"As we move into the future, this new supercomputer will enable us to do more and more advanced research at Mississippi State University,"  he said. "There are numerous areas where we will be able to utilize this resource to benefit the citizens of this state, nation and world."

To view NOAA's news release on MSU's new supercomputer, visit https://research.noaa.gov/article/ArtMID/587/ArticleID/2467/Mississippi-State-University-to-host-supercomputer-to-power-NOAA-research.

For more information about the MSU High Performance Computing Collaboratory's equipment and capabilities, visit www.hpc.msstate.edu or contact Breckenridge at trey@hpc.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Contact: Sasha Steinberg


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"Go With The Flow" - The Mighty Mississippi River Watershed Fact Sheet



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NGI - MSU Education & Outreach Opportunities

The Travelling Trunk Education Outreach Program

Mr. James Comans at Desoto Central Middle School, in Mississippi, has been chosen to be the first recipient of the Atmospheric Sciences Trunk. This trunk provides a Portable Weather Station and state science curriculum targeted projects and classroom lesson plans as well as a literature component. The trunk program is designed to provide students with direct observation and lessons on understanding and interpretation of the atmospheric sciences.
 

STEAM: Science Through the Arts, Art Competition

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine, avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the "Portal" Newsletter.
 

Continuing Education Opportunity

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) has joined with the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University to provide Continuing Education and/or 4 hours of Graduate College Credit to teachers and professionals wishing to undertake a 7-10 day geosciences field course. The course locations for this year are Bahamas (split undergrad/grad), Western WA, NY, and Great Plains Storm Chase. A science background is helpful to successfully complete these courses and cost $1250 plus tuition (4 hours of in-state grad credit). (approximately $2978 total) Additionally, for most of the trips the students pay for their meals, but the Bahamas trip includes meals. Students are also responsible for getting to the start location on their own (e.g Seattle, Nassau, Oklahoma City, etc.).
 

Visiting Scientists to your Classroom or Organization

The NGI can also provide assistance in locating a guest speaker for your classroom or organizations meeting to discuss various topics including Coastal Hazards, Geospatial Data Integration and Visualization, Ecosystem Management Climate Change, and use of UAV/AUVs in the environmental and agricultural sciences.
 

Lesson Plan Database

NGI along with the INSPIRE program is developing a database of approximately 500 Mississippi Science Curriculum based lesson plans and assignments for k-12 classrooms. These will be linked from our website in the near future. Click Here for Lesson Plans


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NGI - Homeschool Monday at the NASA Infinity Science Center

Go With the Flow! NOAA partners with NGI and the Grand Bay NERR to demonstrate the Gulf of Mexico watersheds for Homeschool Monday at INFINITY Science Center

 

The Go with the Flow! activity was designed to demonstrate how our actions on land affect the health of our ocean ecosystems and people in coastal communities. NOAA put the "S-ience" in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) series of events on September 30, 2019 targeting homeschooled children from surrounding areas. 213 people or 88% of the total registered guests visited our booth to discuss how watersheds work and the human role as sustainable environmental stewards.

Amy Clark was the point of contact for our booth at INFINITY, Madalyn Newman planned, coordinated, and led the activity along with the volunteers Sandra Huynh, Angela Sallis, and Amy. Madalyn created a handout with the help of her co-workers entitled, Go with the Flow! The Mighty Mississippi River Watershed Fact Sheet. This fact sheet was included in a packet of information on two types of algal blooms, NOAA's Hypoxia Watch and HABSOS flyers, and a few watershed activities for different age groups. In a perfect world, this information will provide the parents with a better understanding and resources they can incorporate into lesson plans at home.
 

A model coastal community consisting of farms and farm animals, industrial buildings, and residential buildings were incorporated into the demonstration. We discussed how animal waste, nutrients and chemicals from point and nonpoint pollution sources, and litter enter the water. Recent algal blooms, hypoxia, and beach closures were a hot topic of this activity. The idea of living shorelines and the important role of wetlands as both a storm buffer and method of nutrient filtration were also discussed.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MSU's Northern Gulf Institute Partner with NOAA, USM, MTS, to Teach Students Marine Science

On July 18, 2019, roughly 200 children between the ages of nine and 14 participated in "Misson Hoopossible" at Stennis Space Center where they learned about how scientists use Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to study the ocean. Northern Gulf Institute hosted this activity in conjunction with Mississippi State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Gulf regional chapter of the Marine Technology Society.

The annual Stennis Space Center's Take Your Children to Work Day presents an opportunity to educate students about Marine Science.

TYCW
Stennis Space Center’s Take your Child to Work Day, “MissionHoopossible.”
Photo submitted by NASA’s NCEI and NASA OER
Students participated in four rotations of the Science Technology, Engineering and Math based activity "Mission Hoopossible." The children learned about and focused on the basics of remotely operated vehicles and the ROV's application in the field of marine science. This activity specifically focused on the deep ocean exploration of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, but ROV technology is applied in many industries.

NGI scientist Madalyn Newman spearheaded the activity and introduced the participants to NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research, to the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and to the Okeanos' ROV Deep Discoverer. The children watched several Okeanos highlight video clips, discussed different career opportunities, and asked plenty of questions. Newman even created a word search with ROV related definitions and a cartoon ROV diagram.

The students then participated in the ROV challenge which consisted of having them break into four small teams to operate two SeaPerch ROVs in a swimming pool. Each child took a turn navigating the ROV through two hoops in a 10-minute-relay-race. One of the groups finished in> about six minutes.

The activity supports STEM learning, demonstrates the importance of having different skill sets to successfully complete a mission, and provides insight into some of the challenges scientists can face in a harsh ocean environment.

For more information, please contact Madalyn Newman, Kristen Larson or Angela Sallis.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NGI - STEAM, Arts integrated Science Competition

STEAM fields are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, together with art. STEAM is designed to integrate STEM subjects and the art of design in education.

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the Newsletter. There is an open submission date as the newsletter is published quarterly.

Please forward submissions digitally to EandO@ngi.msstate.edu or submit them by mail to:

Jonathan Harris
Education and Outreach
Northern Gulf Institute
Box 9627
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Innovation depends on the problem solving, risk taking and creativity that are natural to the way artists and designers think.
~ John Madea


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

USM - Marine Education Center Prgorgams

The Marine Education Center (MEC) is the education and outreach arm of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

The MEC endeavors to enlighten the citizenry to produce a cadre of well informed and knowledgeable stewards of our coastal ecosystems.

The Center supports a career based working environment utilizing formal, non-formal, free-choice learning and higher education strategies focusing on the coastal ecosystems of the north-central Gulf of Mexico to promote careers in marine sciences and foster community involvement.
 
Marine Education Center
Connecting People with Coastal Sciences and Research
https://gcrl.usm.edu/mec/


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

DISL - Upcoming Events



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NGI Working Alongside Award-Winning Children's Playwright Tonya Hays to Create STEM/STEAM Children's Theatrical Production

The Northern Gulf Institute is working alongside award-winning Theatre for Young Audiences playwright Tonya Hays, to create an original play with music that will focus on the subject of climate change and the effects of climate variability upon marine ecosystems.

This project will take the form of a traveling production which will visit local schools, bringing a message of science, understanding and hope to the generations of tomorrow.

Mrs. Hays is the founder and Director Emeritus of the nationally recognized WINGS Performing Arts program at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. She is currently the Director of the Theatre Program at Gulfport High School. Hays has also served as a teaching artist for the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education and as an adjunct instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Mississippi State University and William Carey University.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NOAA Marine Debris Program Annual Art Contest

Break out your art supplies because we need YOUR help to raise awareness about marine debris! This year's NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest is officially open, and students in grades K-8 from all U.S. states and territories can submit their artwork now through November 30th that answers the questions:

How does marine debris impact the oceans and Great Lakes?
What are you doing to help prevent marine debris?

For a complete list of contest rules, visit our website and download the student entry form.
 
2020 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest Flyer


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MSU Researchers Address Aecondary-Level STEM Learning with $1.6 Million NSF Grant Project

Mississippi State faculty members in the university's colleges of Education, Arts and Sciences, and Bagley College of Engineering are receiving a $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant to develop teaching materials from weather data to help secondary students learn data analysis and interpretation.

Dubbed "3D Weather", the project will include professional development and instructional activities that will directly involve and benefit 44 secondary science teachers and approximately 2,000 middle and high school students in the state.

"Utilizing open-source, 3D visualization tools, the project will turn publicly available weather data into exciting secondary science learning experiences to improve both teachers and students comfort and competency in understanding data", said Yan Sun, principal investigator and assistant professor in MSU's Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development.

Formally titled "Integrating Computational Science Practice, Weather Data Analysis, and 3D Visualization in the Secondary Earth and Environmental Science Curriculum" the STEM+C educational project also is led by Jamie Dyer, professor of geosciences; Jean Mohammadi-Aragh, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Jonathan Harris, outreach coordinator at MSU's Northern Gulf Institute, with all three serving as co-principal investigators for the project that runs January 2020 through December 2022.
 


A post-doctoral researcher and four MSU graduate research assistants also will receive support and mentoring through the project.

The interdisciplinary project team will focus on developing and validating teaching and learning materials based on 3D weather visualization to foster atmospheric and computational science literacy. Sun said while large atmospheric datasets are publicly available and offer educational possibilities, they are difficult for secondary science teachers and students to access, make sense of, and use in meaningful ways.

Real world scientific inquiry requires scientists to use big data and computational models to develop knowledge about the structure and function of complex systems, and to make predictions about changes in these systems. Sun explained that the science teaching and learning materials developed also will help address one of the most daunting challenges posed by the Next Generation Science Standards, how to integrate computational thinking and practices into the teaching and learning of science in authentic, innovative and effective ways.

The three-year grant will allow the team to generate research-based findings regarding the effects of using weather data as the instructional medium to fuse computational thinking and practices into secondary science education. Team members agreed the research has tremendous potential in advancing scientific literacy and interest both locally and nationally.

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Sea Grant Science Outreach Program is seeking a Texas-based Extension Specialist

The Sea Grant Science Outreach Program is seeking a Texas-based extension specialist to join the team. The interdisciplinary Gulf-wide team members bring peer-reviewed oil spill and ecosystem science findings to people with a vested interest in a healthy marine environment through extension publications and public science seminars. The ideal candidate will have a strong grounding in a field such as biology, fisheries, ecosystem science, or natural resource economics and a proven ability to share science with audiences of all backgrounds and abilities. Based in Corpus Christi, the position requires travel throughout the Gulf region and beyond, in addition to strong writing and public speaking skills.

The following link will take you to the job posting:
https://tamus.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/TAMU_External/job/Corpus-Christi-TAMUCC/Program-Coordinator-II-P11_R-024596



Job Description

Our Commitment
Texas A&M University is committed to enriching the learning and working environment for all visitors, students, faculty, and staff by promoting a culture that embraces inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability. Diverse perspectives, talents, and identities are vital to accomplishing our mission and living our core values.

Who we are
The College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University offers a comprehensive program in geoscience research, education and engagement. The College is made up of a diverse mix of academic departments and programs that examine the solid Earth, the atmosphere, the oceans, and human cultures to address the intimate relationships between people and Earth systems. The College of Geosciences is home to four departments and home to nine research centers and consortiums that focus on interdisciplinary and collaborative research aimed at addressing global issues that affect our everyday lives.

What we want
The Program Coordinator II (Science Outreach Specialist), works collaboratively with four Sea Grant college programs to plan, develop and implement the regional Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach program and the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Science Outreach program. The coordinator serves as the Texas Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Extension Specialist and works regionally. Responsibilities include statewide leadership and coordination for outreach, engagement and education programs in oil spill research and ecosystem science. This position is located in Corpus Christi.

We need an individual who subscribes to and supports our commitment as stated above. If the description sounds interesting to you, we invite you to apply to be considered for this opportunity.

Required Education and Experience:
  • Bachelors degree in biology, fisheries, ecosystem science, natural resource economics, ecosystem service valuation, evaluation or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Four years of extension, outreach and/or education experience


Thursday, October 03, 2019

"Go With The Flow" - The Mighty Mississippi River Watershed Fact Sheet



Thursday, October 03, 2019

Go With the Flow! NOAA partners with NGI and the Grand Bay NERR to demonstrate the Gulf of Mexico watersheds for Homeschool Monday at INFINITY Science Center



The Go with the Flow! activity was designed to demonstrate how our actions on land affect the health of our ocean ecosystems and people in coastal communities. NOAA put the "S-ience" in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) series of events on September 30, 2019 targeting homeschooled children from surrounding areas. 213 people or 88% of the total registered guests visited our booth to discuss how watersheds work and the human role as sustainable environmental stewards.

Amy Clark was the point of contact for our booth at INFINITY, Madalyn Newman planned, coordinated, and led the activity along with the volunteers Sandra Huynh, Angela Sallis, and Amy. Madalyn created a handout with the help of her co-workers entitled, Go with the Flow! The Mighty Mississippi River Watershed Fact Sheet. This fact sheet was included in a packet of information on two types of algal blooms, NOAA's Hypoxia Watch and HABSOS flyers, and a few watershed activities for different age groups. In a perfect world, this information will provide the parents with a better understanding and resources they can incorporate into lesson plans at home.
 


A model coastal community consisting of farms and farm animals, industrial buildings, and residential buildings were incorporated into the demonstration. We discussed how animal waste, nutrients and chemicals from point and nonpoint pollution sources, and litter enter the water. Recent algal blooms, hypoxia, and beach closures were a hot topic of this activity. The idea of living shorelines and the important role of wetlands as both a storm buffer and method of nutrient filtration were also discussed.