Xiuzhen Huang and CNBT Faculty are Leading in Supercomputer Project with OSU

Dr. Xiuzhen Huang, professor of computer science and director of the Center for No-Boundary Thinking, addresses a seminar at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute facility at A-State.

JONESBORO – Nine faculty members from Arkansas State University are helping lead development of a “supercomputer” project involving eight education and research entities in three states.

Dr. Xiuzhen Huang, professor of computer science and director of A-State’s Center for No-Boundary Thinking (CNBT), is serving as one of the co-principal investigators for the project, which has attracted major funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Researchers at Oklahoma State University (OSU) secured the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award of $4 million from NSF to develop the new supercomputer, and OSU is contributing $1.7 million.

“The purpose of the project is to significantly enhance the computational infrastructure for the Oklahoma-Arkansas-Kansas (OAK) region,” Huang explained.

The OSU-led initiative is a joint effort with A-State, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, University of Tulsa, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and the Great Plains Network. 

The primary advantage of a supercomputer is its ability to process huge volumes of research data very quickly, even as it is being generated. This capability opens up new possibilities for data analysis and scientific discoveries.

Huang added that some of the research areas that can benefit from the high-performance computer include bioinformatics, including genomics, metagenomics, and transcriptomics; agriculture, including crop modeling, environment and ecosystem modeling; classical and quantum calculations of liquids, proteins, interfaces and reactions; cybersecurity and social network modeling; renewable energy research; seismology; sociopolitical landscape modeling; and high-energy and medical physics.

In addition to Huang, other faculty members affiliated with the Center for No-Boundary Thinking are senior personnel of the OSU project, including:

—Dr. Jason Causey, assistant professor of bioinformatics, CNBT associate director, and lead, CNBT Division of Algorithms and Computational Methodology.

—Dr. Emily Bellis, assistant professor of bioinformatics, CNBT associate director, and lead, CNBT Division of Biological Systems.

—Dr. Jonathan Stubblefield, assistant professor of bioinformatics, and CNBT assistant director.

—Dr. Jake Qualls, assistant professor of bioinformatics and director of the data science program.

—Dr. Sudeepa Bhattacharyya, associate professor of biological sciences and CNBT affiliate.

—Dr. Robert Fleming, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and CNBT affiliate.

—Dr. Argelia Lorence, professor of metabolic engineering and CNBT affiliate.

—Dr. Cameron Wimpy, assistant professor of political science and department chair, CNBT affiliate.

Huang also said the project team will offer high performance computer (HPC) training sessions and web tutorials, and organize virtual conferences and hands-on workshops for new and experienced HPC users. Several classes have already incorporated HPC, including bioinformatics, chemistry, physics, and computer science.

The Center for No-Boundary Thinking was organized at A-State in 2020, with formal approval by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board coming in July of that year.

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