Publish Date: 09/02/2013
The Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science and NVIDIA collaborated to host a hands-on, two-day workshop to survey the broad range of GPU-accelerated applications across all domains of scientific and engineering research. The August 14-15 workshop attracted more than 120 attendees from four institutions and 18 different departments. Participants included graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and professors all learning firsthand how to program graphics processing units (GPUs) via the use of libraries, OpenACC compiler directives, and CUDA programming. Participants performed hands-on exercises to acquire the skills to use and develop GPU-aware applications.
Dr. Wu Feng of the Department of Computer Science began the workshop with an overview addressing heterogeneous parallel computing and an introduction to HPC environment and tools at Virginia Tech. Other presentations were made by Bob Crovella, who leads a technical team at NVIDIA and is responsible for supporting GPU computing products in the high performance computing ecosystem. Crovella gave an introduction to GPU computing and then dove into two more intense sessions, all hands-on by the participants.
Feng and Crovella addressed why heterogeneous computing and GPUs have become so important in sustaining and advancing the state of the art in scientific and research computing. Virginia Tech has its own GPU-accelerated supercomputer, HokieSpeed, designed and deployed by a team led by Dr. Feng, which debuted as the most energy-efficient commodity super computer in the U.S. in November 2011.
Publish Date: 08/18/2013
Congratulations to CS Faculty who were awarded research funding in the summer of 2013 from the NSF.
Dr. Steve Edwards, associate professor of computer science, and co-PIs Dr. Cliff Shaffer, professor of computer science, and T. Simin Hall, research associate professor of mechanical engineering, have been awarded funding for their NSF proposal "Classroom Interventions to Reduce Procrastination." Edwards describes the project: "Everyone procrastinates. But a significant number of students procrastinate so much on assigned projects that it makes them more likely to turn in work late, receive lower scores, and even experience stress and illness. This project will evaluate three classroom techniques that are intended to reduce procrastination: (1) having students explicitly estimate and schedule the time they will spend on a project, (2) having students write a short reflective paper reflecting about how their time management choices affected the quality of their work, and (3) sending students pro-active messages while they work on a project to inform them of how well their progress keeps up with the remainder of the class."
Dr. Lenny Heath, professor of computer science, and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences colleagues Dr. James Westwood (PI), professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, and Eva Collakova (co-PI), assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, were awarded funding from the NSF for their proposal "Evolutionary Gain and Loss of Function in Parasitic Plant Genomes." These 3 VT faculty will be working with a team of faculty from Penn State, UC Davis and UVa. Heath describes the project: "There are a number of plant species that have evolved to be parasites on other plant species, often through the gain of parasitic gene functions and the loss of gene functions that can be performed by the host plant. In a second NSF-funded parasitic plant genome project (PPGP2), life scientists are studying three parasitic plant species that have agriculturally important crops as hosts. The goal is to identify particular genes that are important for parasitism by a filtration process that starts with gene expression data collected in the first PPGP and that uses further experimentation to limit the gene choices to a likely set. Bioinformatics is an important part of the project, as the limited amount of data available (there are no genomic sequences available for the three species) make detailed analysis of that data even more essential. The goal of bioinformatics at Virginia Tech is to create models from the data in the form of biological pathways (networks). The project also includes research and educational trips to Morocco and Kenya, where it will be possible to examine fields infested by parasites."
Dr. C.T. Lu (co-PI), associate professor of computer science, Dr. Lisa McNair (co-PI), assistant professor of engineering education, and Dr. Montasir Abbas (PI), assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, were awarded funding from the NSF for their proposal "Game-Aided Pedagogy to Improve Students' Learning Outcomes and Engagement in Transportation Engineering." Lu describes the project: "The purpose of this project is to apply novel and scientific design of games to supplement traditional teaching methods in Transportation Engineering. We will follow a cyclic approach to design and implement games into the curriculum of several transportation engineering classes, creating curriculum modules that combine the games, assignments and student assessments. These modules will be evaluated for their effectiveness in promoting student learning gains and engagement in transportation engineering."