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4 faculty selected for Blue Waters Professorships

Four newly hired University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members have been selected as Blue Waters Professors, an honor that comes with substantial computing and data resources on the Blue Waters supercomputer at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Blue Waters is one of the world’s most powerful computing systems, capable of performing quadrillions of calculations every second and of working with massive amounts of data.

  • Sonia Lasher-Trapp, professor, Atmospheric Sciences. Lasher-Trapp plans to use Blue Waters to simulate entrainment, the process by which cumulus clouds bring dry air from outside the cloud inward. Entrainment initially favors precipitation formation, but eventually it dilutes the cloud and encourages its demise. A long-standing problem in meteorology has been to reproduce how quickly entrainment dilutes the cloud.
  • Vincent Le Chenadec, assistant professor, Aerospace Engineering. Le Chenadec develops and uses novel numerical methods that leverage computational geometry to solve a long-standing problem in simulating and modeling turbulent reacting high-density-ratio liquid-gas systems. These developments make it possible to investigate the fundamental fluid dynamics of liquid jets injected into gas environments, which could improve the design of devices for fuel-air mixing and thereby improve engine efficiency.
  • Taraneh Sayadi, assistant professor, Aerospace Engineering. Sayadi’s research focuses on the direct and large eddy simulation of complex turbulent flows with the objective of designing reduced-order models and control strategies. She plans to develop data-driven decomposition techniques tailored to the large-scale data-sets encountered in reactive flow simulations.
  • Robert Jeffrey Trapp, professor, Atmospheric Sciences. Trapp plans to use Blue Waters to simulate severe thunderstorms and tornadoes under the weather and climate conditions predicted for the future. This will help address the impact that human-generated climate change could have on hazardous weather.

For more information on Blue Waters, visit

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