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Graduate fellowships applications now open to use Blue Waters

“Blue Waters adds this whole new dimension to the research that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.” That’s how Joshua Mendez described his yearlong experience as a 2016 fellow in the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship Program, a prestigious and unique program funded by the National Science Foundation.

As part of this program, several graduate students from across the country are immersed in a year of focused high-performance computing (HPC) and data-intensive research. The fellowships empower the selected PhD students to advance their HPC knowledge while also providing them with access to the Blue Waters supercomputer. Blue Waters is located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and operated by the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Fellows also receive support from NCSA staff to accelerate their research.

The fellowship is designed to support PhD students who are engaged in a program of study and research that will directly benefit from the use of Blue Waters. The program is open to students in all fields of study. Preference will be given to candidates engaged in a multidisciplinary research project that combines disciplines such as computer science, applied mathematics and computational science applications. Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Fellowship recipients will receive a stipend of $38,000 for the yearlong fellowship. They will also receive up to a $12,000 tuition allowance. During the fellowship year, the fellow’s academic institution is asked to exempt the recipient of any other tuition and fee charges normally charged to students of comparable academic standing. Recipients will receive travel funds to attend the Blue Waters symposium. The fellowship provides up to 50,000 node-hours on the Blue Waters system to support the fellow’s research.

Blue Waters is a truly extraordinary petascale computing system used by researchers across the country to gain new understanding of how viruses attack our bodies, the formation of galaxies and of severe storms, space weather, sub-atomic physics, and other challenging topics. Blue Waters was designed to handle the most compute-intensive, memory-intensive, and data-intensive challenges in computational science and engineering. Blue Waters features:

  • Nearly 27,000 very high-performance computational nodes including more than 4,000 GPUs
  • More than 1.66 petabytes of memory
  • More than 25 usable petabytes of online disk storage
  • Up to 300 usable petabytes of nearline tape storage

Fellowship applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. by the time of the application deadline. Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Must be enrolled in an accredited US higher education institution
  • Academic record from undergraduate and graduate work
  • Research plan and its relationship to use of the Blue Waters supercomputer
  • GRE scores
  • Related experience and service
  • Letters of reference

Applications, including all supporting materials except reference letters, must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm PST on Feb. 3, 2017. Reference letters are due by 11:59 pm PST on Feb. 10, 2017. Awards will be announced in spring 2017, with the tuition allowance applied to the 2017-2018 academic year.

For complete information on the fellowships, visit the fellowships website. Questions? Contact

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