Illinois students begin SPIN fellowships

01.15.13 -

Ten University of Illinois students have been selected for spring semester research fellowships at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

These talented undergraduates were selected through NCSA’s SPIN (Students Pushing Innovation) program. After an October open house at NCSA, interested students submitted proposals describing projects they would like to pursue with support from mentors on the NCSA staff. The following students were selected for paid research fellowships:

  • Kyungwha “Kay” Byun, Computer Science, will work with Kenton McHenry and other staff in NCSA’s Image Spatial Data Analysis Group, which focuses on computer vision research and applications.
  • Robert Cheung and David Zmick, Computer Science, are working with NCSA mentor Colleen Bushell on data analysis and visualization projects.
  • Nikoli Dryden, Computer Science, will be mentored by Dan LaPine as he continues development of an open-source parallel debugger for very large C++ applications running on large-scale clusters. This effort is supported by XSEDE, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment.
  • Kiersten Jabusch, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Sanny Lin, Industrial Design, will be mentored by Guy Garnett, director of the Illinois Informatics Institute and Associate Director for Research of eDream.
  • Jonathan Kirby, Computer Science, will work with staff from NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory and the eDream Institute on updates to Virtual Director, software that AVL developed and has used to create data-driven scientific visualizations for IMAX theaters, planetarium shows, and TV documentaries. Austin Lin, Theatre/Stage Management, and Zubin Pahuja, Computer Science, also will work with AVL and eDream.
  • Michael Marshall, Finance, will work with NCSA’s Private Sector Program, which brings the center’s expertise and resources to bear on computing and data challenges faced by industry.

All of the SPIN undergraduate fellows will give presentations at the end of the spring semester on their projects and what they have learned.

In addition, four students were chosen for unpaid research internships with AVL and eDream: Shubham Gupta (Computer Engineering), Laura Makdah (Mathematics and Computer Science), Roshan Murthy (Materials Science and Political Science), and Shan Zou (Computer Science).

NCSA plans to continue the SPIN program and will be recruiting Illinois students in early Fall 2013. For information on the SPIN program, see