Scalable Computing and Leading Edge Innovative Technologies for Biology

Co-Principal Investigator:
Michael A. Langston, Department of Computer Science, University of Tennessee
This project is suppported by NSF's Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training Program. Its goal is to recruit and train future biologists in a seamless combination of computing expertise and research using emerging tools that can attack even the most challenging problems in biology, from sub-cellular to organismal scales. Trainees conduct research in an environment of novel data generation resources, state-of-the-art instrumentation, high performance computing and worldwide distributed computing via the tera-grid for work on molecular, genomic and system-level scales. These scales are required to deal with increasingly complex data sets that result from experimental resources, and associated intensive calculations on molecular structure and mechanisms. This program transforms our graduate education by developing new curricula to provide the background needed to work across computational and biological scales, by contributing to in-depth problem-based learning with hands-on experiences, by building a community through teamwork and mentoring, and by fostering broad recruitment and retention through professional development in workshops and off-site training opportunities. The program involves scientists from several departments within four colleges at the main and agricultural campuses at UT and two major directorates at ORNL. As the need for computing in biology grows, program trainees are positioned to enter the workforce in academia, national laboratories, research institutes, or the industrial sector. We partner with regional undergraduate programs that train in quantitative aspects of biology and genomics to recruit talented undergraduates to our program.
The PI for this project is Cynthia B. Peterson. Other Co-PIs are Elissa J. Chesler, Jack Dongarra and Jeremy C. Smith. International partners include the University of Queensland, Australia, the Ruprecht-Karls University, Germany, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and the University of Göteborg, Sweden.