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Dr. Chenhui Shao finds a perfect fit with NCSA Industry

Dr. Chenhui Shao joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2016, after completing a Ph.D. and postdoc at the University of Michigan. Before arriving at the Urbana campus, Dr. Shao’s former advisor, Dr. Jack Hu, told him to do something as soon as he got settled in. “He told me to connect with NCSA immediately,” said Dr. Shao.

But Dr. Shao says he never got the chance.

“However, I didn’t reach out to NCSA, because they got to me first. I joined in August, and NCSA reached out in September,” he said.

Technical Assistant Director for NCSA Industry, Dr. Seid Koric, who is also a research faculty member at Dr. Shao’s MechSE department, read about his work in manufacturing engineering and knew he was the perfect fit for NCSA’s Industry program as a technical consultant. “His big data-driven research was exactly what we needed,” said Dr. Koric.

Together with NCSA Industry’s Dora Cai, Dr. Shao began using HPC to increase his data production results from months to minutes. Prior to NCSA, Dr. Shao was using his own laptop to process his data, but with the help of high-performance computing (HPC), Dr. Shao’s real-time data results often prove crucial in manufacturing.

“Ultrasonic metal welding is a very promising, but unstable process in the manufacturing industry,” said Dr. Shao, “With supercomputers, we can collect and monitor sensor data in real-time, allowing them to control and correct problems quickly. Supercomputing is becoming more of a demanding resource, we need HPC even more in monitoring tasks with real-time decision-making thanks to HPC,” said Dr. Shao.

Dr. Shao was invited as a guest speaker at the 2017 and 2018 NCSA Industry Conference, highlighted the program’s unique capability of collaborating with prospective industry partners and researchers, regardless of their prior experience with HPC. “NCSA will help you and guide you. The technical support alongside the resources at NCSA Industry. They asked about my needs, and were able to transform my code, converted software languages to run parallel computing, and were there to provide expert support on debugging any issues,” said Dr. Shao, “This was a true collaboration and a partnership for knowledge for both parties.”

Together, Dr. Shao and Dr. Koric have collaborated on academic papers and to date, have submitted two NSF proposals. Additionally, Dr. Koric has given guest lectures on the important role of HPC and data-driven science in engineering in Dr. Shao’s Manufacturing Data and Quality Systems course (ME 498). “We should be devising classes where engineering students are introduced to HPC and big data analytics. Data-driven science along with Artificial Intelligence is the future of engineering, and that cannot reach its full potential without HPC,” Dr. Koric said.

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