A Six-College Consortium:
"High Performance Computing at Liberal Arts Colleges"
"High Performance Computing at Liberal Arts Colleges"
White Paper (at Teagle Foundation site)
Six upstate New York schools (Bard, Colgate, Hamilton, Skidmore, Union, and Vassar colleges) have received a one-year $40K grant from the Teagle Foundation in order to explore high performance computing in the liberal arts setting. Specifically, we are interested in identifying research opportunities that can make use of high performance computing capabilities (some of which may already be underway on our campuses) as well as determining the best way in which to make such capabilities available to faculty on our campuses.
We will hold four workshops during 2009 with the goal of articulating current and near-term need for high performance computing at our institutions and suggesting preferred mechanisms for providing such facilities. In addition to workshop reports, we will generate a white paper that will be available outside our institutions so that other campuses can benefit from this effort as well.
The four workshops address the following issues:
- What do we mean by "High Performance Computing"?
- Applications of HPC to humanities and social science
- Applications of HPC to science and engineering disciplines.
- How much access to HPC capabilities do we need and how should we
Workshop 1, held on April 7, 2009, addressed the question of what we mean by "High Performance Computing". It included the following presentations:
- Geoffrey Fox,
Indiana University, discussed the general landscape of
- Scott Kaplan,
Amherst College, discussed the experience of setting
up a large cluster and making it available to faculty across the
- Peter Pacheco, University of San Francisco, discussed an
undergraduate course in parallel computing.
- Brian Macherone, University at Albany and NYS Grid, discussed the
NYS Grid and opportunities available for involvement by liberal arts
colleges in the state.
- Michael Ridley, NYSTAR, discussed the resources available
state-wide and ways in which liberal arts colleges can tap into
Workshop 2, held on September 29, 2009, addressed applications of high performance computing to the humanities and social sciences. It included the following presentations:
- Orville Vernon
Burton, Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and
Culture at Coastal Carolina University; Founding Director and
currently Chair of Board of Advisors, Institute for Computing in
Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (I-CHASS);
for Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications at the University of Illinois.
This session introduced a framework for cyberinfrastructure for the humanities, arts, and social science (HASS) disciplines, rooted in the history and challenges of those disciplines, as well as the working practices of faculty scholarship. Dr. Burton also describes the work of the Institute for Computing, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which serves the national research and education communities by making tools available for high performance computing, communication and collaboration, data collection and analysis, geospatial inquiry and visualization. slides
- Dean Rehberger, Director, MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts,
Letters, & Social Sciences Online
The New Curiosity Box: High-Performance Computing and the Humanities: This talk explored the uses of high-performance computing in the humanities and argued for the importance of moving it from a "curiosity" to a more important role in teaching, learning, and research in the humanities. slides
Heng, Perceval Fellow and Associate Professor English, Middle
Eastern Studies, and Women's Studies, The University of Texas at
Austin; Founder and Co-director of the Global Middle Ages
Project (G-MAP), the Mappamundi digital initiatives, and the Scholarly
Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages (SCGMA).
Futures of the Past: the Global Middle Ages, and the "Clash" of Civilizations, or what happens when 1,000 years of culture encounter digital humanities and high performance computing in the 21st century.
- Doug Reside, Assistant Director, Maryland Institute for
Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
This session explored ways in which Digital Humanities centers have moved beyond their focus on small data sets, beginning to make use of the power of high performance computing. slides
Workshop 3 was held on October 27, 2009. The focus was on applications of HPC to science and engineering. Speakers included:
Berman, VP for Research, RPI,
former director of San Diego Supercomputer
Driving 21st Century Research and Education with 21st Century Tools: Cyberinfrastructure and Today's Universities Slides
Parish, Professor of Chemistry, University of Richmond
Thoughts from a computational chemist: getting "high performance" out of high performance computing in a liberal arts setting. Slides.
- Janine Shertzer, Professor of Physics, College of the Holy Cross
Big computing at a small school: how to 'beg, steal or borrow' CPU Slides
LeBeau, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy,
University of Kentucky.
Experiences with Computational Fluid Dynamics on Cluster Computers. Slides
- Bob Panoff, Executive Director, Shodor
Computational Thinking at the Speed of Right
This workshop was held on December 1, 2009. It focused on synthesizing the material from the first three workshops and developing recommendations for how liberal arts colleges should best get access to HPC capabilities.
How can you participate in this project?
Our white paper will soon be available from the Teagle Foundation web site.
For more information:
Contact Valerie Barr, 518-388-8361.
Links to relevant HPC and related sites