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17 campus teams to accelerate their research with Blue Waters

Seventeen U of I research teams from a wide range of disciplines have been awarded computational and data resources on the sustained-petascale Blue Waters supercomputer at NCSA.

“These diverse projects highlight the breadth of computational research at the University of Illinois,” said Athol Kemball, associate professor of Astronomy and chair of the Illinois allocation review committee. “Illinois has a tremendous pool of talented researchers in fields from political science to chemistry to engineering who can harness the power of Blue Waters to discover and innovate.”

Blue Waters is one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, capable of performing quadrillions of calculations every second and working with quadrillions of bytes of data. Its massive scale and balanced architecture enable scientists and engineers to tackle research challenges that could not be addressed with other computing systems.

About 2 percent of the capacity of Blue Waters is allocated each year to projects at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through a campuswide peer-review process. The next round of proposals will be due Sept. 15, 2015. For details, visit

Illinois projects

  • Aleksei Aksimentiev (Physics): Molecular Mechanism of Sequence-Dependent DNA Looping. This is a renewal of his previous allocation
  • Jean Paul Allain (Nuclear, Plasma & Radiation Engineering): Harnessing Petascale Computing to Elucidate Fundamental Mechanisms Driving Nanopatterning of Multicomponent Surfaces by Directed Irradiation Synthesis
  • N.R. Aluru (Mechanical Science & Engineering): Large-Scale Simulations of DNA Nanostructures and Synthetic Membranes for Protein/DNA Integration
  • Wendy K. Tam Cho (Political Science): A Computational Model for Causal Inference via Subset Selection
  • Huck Beng Chew (Aerospace Engineering) and co-principal investigator Haoran Wang: Mechanics of Deformation in High Capacity Lithium-Ion Batteries. This is a renewal of his previous Blue Waters award.
  • Robert Brunner (Astronomy) and co-principal investigators Tom Huang and Xian-Ming Liu: High-Performance Hybrid Computation Platform for Astronomy Data Classification
  • Davide Curreli (Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering): Development of an HPC Platform for Plasma-Material Interactions and Nanostructuring
  • Elif Ertekin (Mechanical Science & Engineering) and co-principal investigators Raymond Plante and Lucas Wagner (Physics): QMCDB: A Living Database to Accelerate Worldwide Development & Usage of Quantum Monte Carlo Methods
  • Marcelo Garcia (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and co-principal investigator Paul Fischer (Computer Science): Large Eddy Simulation of Sediment Transport and Hydrodynamics at River Bifurcations: Using a Highly Scalable Spectral Element Based CFD Solver
  • Deborah Levin (Aerospace Engineering): Development of a Hybrid CPU-GPU Computational Tool for Modeling Flows through Porous Media using Particle Methods
  • Lijun Liu (Geology): 4D Geodynamic Modeling with Data Assimilation: Origin of Intra-Plate Volcanism in the Pacific Northwest
  • Zaida Luthey-Schulten (Chemistry) and co-principal investigators Taejkip Ha (Physics) and Susan Martinis (Biochemistry): Whole Cell Simulations of Processes Related to Protein Translation
  • Arif Masud (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and co-principal investigator JaeHyuk Kwack (Civil & Environmental Engineering): A Probabilistic Variational Framework for Blood Flow Simulation in Patient-Specific Arterial Geometries: Non-Newtonian Blood Flow Models and Optimization of Ventricular Assist Devices
  • Andre Schleife (Materials Science and Engineering): Non-Adiabatic Ultrafast Electron-Ion Dynamics Near Aluminum Surfaces
  • Stuart Shapiro (Physics) and co-principal investigators Milton Ruiz and Ryan Lang: Gravitational and Electromagnetic Signatures of Compact Binary Mergers: General Relativistic Simulations at the Petascale. This is a renewal of Shaprio’s previous Blue Waters award.
  • Tandy Warnow (Bioengineering & Computer Science): Advancing Genome-Scale Phylogenomic Analysis
  • Matthew West (Mechanical Science and Engineering) and co-principal investigator Nicole Riemer (Atmospheric Science): Scaling a 3D Particle-Resolved Aerosol Model to Address Uncertainties in Aerosol-Atmosphere Interactions

For more information about these projects and other science and engineering work being propelled by Blue Waters, visit

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