29
Dec
2014

The back half of 2014 was filled with big announcements: partnerships with the White House and the City of Chicago, participation and leadership in some of the newest, biggest national scientific computing projects, a new home for cancer genomic data, and an upgrade for our pet Beagle. The CI hosted a hackathon, kicked off the second year of its Inside The Discovery Cloud Speaker Series, and toasted the second class of the Data Science for Social Good fellowship. Most importantly, across all the research centers of the CI, the stage was set for an even bigger 2015. Happy New Year!

22
Dec
2014

2014 was a productive year for the Computation Institute, so much so that we can't even fit our entire year in review into a single post. From papers on influenza, climate modeling, whole genome analysis, and autism prevalence to workshops on research data management, urban research, and the science of science, the Computation Institute was active across the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory campuses and beyond, facilitating collaboration between disciplines and applying powerful computational tools to accelerate the pace of science. In this post, we cover January through June of this busy 2014, with the second half of the year coming later this week. Happy Holidays!

18
Dec
2014

The cities and urban developments of the future will dwarf what architects and city planners have done in the past, creating an urgent need for new large-scale tools and approaches. Lakesim, one of the first projects of the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data seeks to address this need, combining modern design tools with scientific supercomputing to create a new platform for testing and modifying different plans.

16
Dec
2014

The genetic code of living things has been likened to a blueprint for life. Unlike a real blueprint, though, the genome doesn’t explicitly lay out everything. Genomes can reveal the amino acid sequence of proteins, the molecules at the heart of biological functions like metabolizing food and fighting disease, but the truly valuable insights lie hidden in a protein's physical structure—a far more elusive piece of data.

12
Dec
2014

The theme for the 2014-15 Computation Institute Inside the Discovery Cloud Speaker Series is "Catalyzing Collaboration," placing the spotlight on the unique, multidisciplinary research partnerships enabled by the CI. As more and more research fields grapple with the linked challenges of big data and complex computational methods, the need for collaboration between computer scientists and domain scientists grows more urgent.

11
Dec
2014

Hydrated excess protons, also known as H30+ and hydronium cations, are skilled escape artists. In a space full of water, the extra protons can hop from H20 to H20 like an action star leaping train cars. If they find a hydrated channel, protons can use that water-hopping skill to shoot across membranes, as well. Now, new computational chemistry research from the laboratory of CI Senior Fellow Gregory Voth finds that protons don’t even need those tunnels to be filled with water first -- they can actually create their own “water wire” to span the channel and enable their thrilling escape.

09
Dec
2014

Today, the White House announced the latest branch of its Climate Data Initiative, focusing on new open datasets and tools for two important components of climate change: ecosystem resilience and water. As with a previous call for new climate research resources, scientists from the CI's Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) will support these efforts with a new project focused on the role and future of irrigation in agriculture, hydrology, and climate. 

08
Dec
2014

Scientists using Argonne's Advanced Photon Source to study the atomic structure of jet engine materials employed the Computation Institute's Swift parallel programming language and the world-class supercomputer Mira to speed up analysis and make experimental adjustments on the fly.

04
Dec
2014

A team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, the Computation Institute, and DataDirect Networks (DDN) moved 65 terabytes of data in under just 100 minutes at a recent supercomputing conference. Typically, with a 10 Gbps connection, moving this volume of data between sites would take two days.

03
Dec
2014

Recently, genomics has become of the major fronts in the "War on Cancer," with researchers around the world collecting increasingly sophisticated and detailed genetic data for different subtypes of the disease. But as genetic sequencing grows cheaper and more common, scientists are faced with new logistical problems of how to store, share, and access this data across institutions to answer scientific questions and get closer to new understanding and treatments for the disease. A new project funded by the National Cancer Institute and led by CI senior fellow and faculty Robert Grossman will gather these disparate resources into a Genomic Data Commons (GDC), storing and "harmonizing" cancer data and facilitating new discoveries.