The research activities of the CCT are organized into five Focus Areas:
- Core Computing Sciences
- Coast to Cosmos
- Material World
- Cultural Computing
- System Science and Engineering
These are broad, and sometimes overlapping, areas where faculty from diverse departments (Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Civil Engineering, Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computing Engineering, Music, Business, etc.) collaborate in multidisciplinary projects. Our REU students will learn how to use some of the nation's largest supercomputers, may participate in the setup and management of large-scale simulations, and may take on an important role in the analysis and visualization of the simulation results.
Below, you can click on each focus area to learn more about the research, faculty involved and the projects in which you can participate.
Core Computing Sciences
The Core Computing Sciences focus area covers research in areas at the heart of computational science: computational mathematics, frameworks
and application toolkits, middleware and system level software, data and network middleware, scientific visualization and human-computer
interfaces, and portals and science gateways. Core Computing Science includes faculty in computational mathematics (Blaise Bourdin,
Susanne Brenner (lead), Li-yeng Sung, Xiaoliang Wan, Hangchao Zhang), distributed systems, wireless sensor networks and
algorithms (Sitharama Iyengar), network applications, computational frameworks (Jian Tao, Frank Loeffler), scientific visualization (Werner Benger, Bijaya Karki), tangible visualization (Brygg Ullmer).
Some possible research areas for undergraduate research projects are:
Tangible Visualization [Mentor: Brygg Ullmer]. The tangible visualization group is focused on the design and deployment of new kinds of physical interaction devices and associated software systems to simplify, strengthen, and extend computer visualizations, especially in collaborative environments.
Computational Frameworks [Mentor: Gabrielle Allen]. The computational frameworks group at LSU develops the Cactus Framework, a parallel computing environment used for large scale simulations in numerical relativity, coastal science, petroleum engineering and other scientific domains. Cactus is a modular framework where different modules contribute different computational capabilities, such as providing a coordinate system, a black hole evolver, or a method for writing efficient data. In addition to supporting a range of important scientific applications, Cactus has been used to demonstrate how new computational technologies, such as grid computing or Web 2.0, can be integrated into scientific workflows to provide new capabilities. REU students working in this group will learn how modern scientific software is developed and supporting using a range of collaborative and development tools. Potential student projects include developing tools to provide verification of data, including metadata into Cactus modules so that simulations can be self-described, enhancing our Web 2.0 technologies that integrate services such as Flickr and Twitter with large scale simulations, and developing Cactus applications for the iPhone and iPad for visualization and monitoring of simulations.
Cactus and OpenCL [Mentors: Jian Tao, Frank Löffler]. The Cactus computational toolkit provides a framework for high-performance codes which use a combination of C, C++ and Fortran, but so far doesn't offer support for OpenCL. A REU student would look into adding support for OpenCL to Cactus. I addition, this support will be used for an OpenCL implementation of a radiation transport code, which currently is written mainly in Fortran. This REU project would be interdisciplinary, spanning computer science and physics.
Scientific Visualization [Mentor: Werner Benger]. These projects aim at conceiving new visual presentations of data from application scientists, in particular, astrophysics, computational fluid dynamics, and medical imaging. Research opportunities for undergraduate students include optimization of already implemented visualization methods and development of new visualization algorithms. We work closely with application scientists from these fields in an interdisciplinary way and develop visualization algorithms which may range from trivial data conversions to advanced rendering techniques employing the newest developments in computer graphics hardware. Various scenarios may fit the different skills of interested students: from the mere application level when creating animations from dataset using the existing software capabilities up to coding in C++ and OpenGL.
Mean Curvature Flow [Mentor: Shawn Walker]. Geometric evolution equations arise in many areas of mathematics, science, and engineering. For instance, mean curvature flow, also known as curve shortening flow, is used in image processing (segmentation). It is also a basic physical model for surface tension driven motion of liquid droplets, as well as the dynamics of rubber bands. This project would seek to investigate mean curvature flow of one dimensional curves in the presence of obstacles. The project also concerns fundamental questions on the numerical discretization schemes for simulating time-dependent curve motion. The student will help design an algorithm for mean curvature flow, write a program in MATLAB, and run simulations of it. Recommended Skills: multivariable calculus, ODEs.
Mesh Generation [Mentor: Shawn Walker]. Geometric modeling is concerned with representing complicated objects (e.g., an engine block) in a form that facilitates various types of analysis, such as physical simulation, measuring performance, optimization, etc. Most numerical methods for simulation require some kind of "parameterization" of the object or a decomposition into simple elements (e.g. a triangular mesh). Unstructured meshes provide a flexible way to represent arbitrarily shaped objects, and have widespread use in scientific computing and computer graphics. This project would seek to explore new methods for unstructured mesh generation (in 2-D or 3-D) and could possibly involve both discrete and continuous mathematics. The student will experiment with different methods of mesh generation in order to help design a meshing algorithm. Alternatively, the student can make an efficient implementation of a known meshing algorithm in C++. Recommended Skills: calculus, ODEs, some programming.
Computational Mathematics. Some possible projects in this area include searching for new finite elements for computational electromagnetics, designing derivative-free algorithms for least squares minimization with bound constraints and fast numerical algorithms for uncertainty quantification.
Forensic Data Restoration and Repair [Mentor: Shane Li]. This project will develop computer-aided programs to facilitate the restoration and repair of forensic geometric evidence. You will operate a 3D scanner to scan the fragmented physical objects into digital models, then you will develop/use 3D geometric modeling system to recompose the original geometry. If the final restoration is accurate, the physical object's prototype will be generated through 3D printing.
Medical Image Analysis for Identification, Segmentation, and Tracking of Abnormalities [Mentor: Shane Li]. This project will develop image processing and analysis techniques to help identify abnormal tissues or tumors from CT or MRI scan images. You will develop/use an effective image analysis computer program to suggest suspicious abnormality, and develop an image editing program to allow users to visualize and refine this identification.
- The Core Computing Sciences focus area covers research in areas at the heart of computational science: computational mathematics, frameworks and application toolkits, middleware and system level software, data and network middleware, scientific visualization and human-computer interfaces, and portals and science gateways. Core Computing Science includes faculty in computational mathematics (Blaise Bourdin, Susanne Brenner (lead), Li-yeng Sung, Xiaoliang Wan, Hangchao Zhang), distributed systems, wireless sensor networks and algorithms (Sitharama Iyengar), network applications, computational frameworks (Jian Tao, Frank Loeffler), scientific visualization (Werner Benger, Bijaya Karki), tangible visualization (Brygg Ullmer).
Coast to Cosmos
Researchers in the Coast to Cosmos focus area seek better methods to predict the behavior of natural and engineered systems, at scales ranging
from nanometers to millions of kilometers. Coast to Cosmos embraces a wide range of disciplines, including faculty doing research in numerical
relativity (Gabrielle Allen, Peter Diener, Jorge Pullin, and Frank Löffler), coastal modeling (Gabrielle Allen, Jim Chen (lead), Robert Twilley, and
Mayank Tyagi), petroleum engineering (Mayank Tyagi, Christopher White) and computational fluid dynamics (Sumanta Acharya). The diverse
problem space, high performance computing requirements, and attention to real-world problems provide opportunities for undergraduate
researchers to address challenging, relevant, cutting edge problems in the physical and earth sciences, engineering, and applied mathematics.
Computational Astrophysics: Astrophysical simulations of black hole and neutron star systems. The numerical relativity group at LSU is researching astrophysical systems such as the collisions of black holes and neutron stars that produce gravitational waves that may be detectable by ground-based detectors such as LIGO. The group uses numerical models to simulate these systems, solving Einstein's Equations on some of the largest academic supercomputers in the USA with codes written using the Cactus Framework. REU students working in this group will be immersed in a vibrant, interdisciplinary and international collaboration. Potential student projects include running and analyzing simulation codes, investigating the efficiency of the simulations to reduce the time taken to run them and visualizing output data to display the resulting gravitational waves emitted by the astrophysical systems. The group also performs numerical simulations of loop quantum cosmology to study the nature of the big bang
Numerical Simulations of Loop Quantum Gravity [Mentors: Peter Diener, Jorge Pullin, Parampreet Singh]. The project consists in developing numerical treatments for situations with high symmetry in loop quantum gravity. This includes cosmological models and also models with spherical symmetry. Loop quantum cosmology predicts in simple models that the Big Bang is replaced by a "bounce" from a previous universe. A major research focus today consists in validating these predictions of simple models in situations of increasing complexity, hence the need for numerical simulations. As similar prediction concerns the singularity that occurs inside black holes, it gets eliminated through a tunneling to another region of the universe. Here it is also desirable to confirm the prediction in a simulation in which a black hole is formed from collapsing matter. Undergraduate projects could consist in running codes and evaluating their efficiency and help in the development of new codes.
Coastal Modeling. It includes prototyping distributed computing scenarios for deploying large ensembles of models, predicting the effects of hurricanes and severe storms, and visualization of simulation data and GIS based information.
Simulation of Combustion Processes: Investigation of Fast Chemistry Models for Large-Scale Computing [Mentor: Mayank Tyagi]. Combustion processes remain a daunting task in terms of physical understanding, mathematical modeling, and computational simulation of complex phenomena. The main goal of computational combustion work at LSU is to develop coarse-grained combustion models that capture essential features of combustion zones with a reduced set of parameters. Fast chemistry models are essential for predictive modeling of combustion processes, where conjugate heat transfer between gas phase and a surrounding combustion chamber as well as turbulent fluid motion create a highly complex problem. Currently, the combustion group uses a combination of numerical and experimental tools for the investigation of fundamental characteristics of premixed combustion, which are mapped into a descriptive model. Potential student projects involve running and analyzing one-dimensional research codes as well as running validation and benchmark tests for suitable chemistry submodels for the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) suite OpenFOAM. Over the duration of the REU, participants will work closely with graduate students and faculty, who will assist in comparing and analyzing results from fast chemistry models with simulations for detailed chemistry for a range of fuels and model configurations.
Mathematical and computational modeling of multiphase flow in porous media for improved oil recovery. Flow of oil, gas and water in porous media is typically modeled using the relative permeability concept. Understanding these flow mechanisms is crucial for improved oil recovery techniques for both on-shore as well as offshore wells. However, the relative permeability approximation is inappropriate in several scenarios leading to unphysical results. As a part of this research effort, mathematical expressions for the relative permeability functions will be derived from first principles using multiphase flow details at the appropriate pore-scales of the media.
Cyberinfrastructure-enabled parallel Reservoir Simulator. Reservoir simulation is an integral part of asset management and production schedule decisions. With increase in computational resources and network capabilities, it is now possible to perform detailed simulations to understand the influence of uncertainties in model parameters as well as construct models based on inversion techniques that provide better predictions when compared to the observed data. This research project involves design of a scalable parallel reservoir simulator and efficient workflow managers using cyberinfrastructure and high performance computing platforms.
Geothermal Reservoir Simulation. Geothermal energy is becoming an attractive option primarily due to its abundance and possibly less detrimental environmental impacts as compared to conventional non-renewable resources such as coal and natural gas. However, there are several challenges in extracting heat efficient from the geothermal systems such as hot dry rock or enhanced geothermal systems including fracture characterization, understanding of flow and heat transfer in fractures and efficient energy generation from the extracted heat. This research project involves both experiments and simulations about fractures in rocks and the fluid flow through these fractures.
Simulation of inertial flows using Lattice Boltzmann Method for high productivity gas wells. Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) has matured as an alternate simulation technique to classical Navier-Stokes equations in the Computational Fluid Dynamics area. In particular, LBM is fundamentally sound in the scenarios where continuum approximation breaks down. In this project, the effect of grain geometries on the inertial effects in single-phase flow for high productivity wells is computed using the LBM on high performance computing (HPC) platforms. Images of porous media are obtained using X-Ray imaging or similar techniques. LBM has several attractive features including the near-ideal weak scaling on HPC platforms. Macroscopic properties such as permeability and beta-factor to account for inertial flows in porous media are computed from the results of LBM simulations.
- Researchers in the Coast to Cosmos focus area seek better methods to predict the behavior of natural and engineered systems, at scales ranging from nanometers to millions of kilometers. Coast to Cosmos embraces a wide range of disciplines, including faculty doing research in numerical relativity (Gabrielle Allen, Peter Diener, Jorge Pullin, and Frank Löffler), coastal modeling (Gabrielle Allen, Jim Chen (lead), Robert Twilley, and Mayank Tyagi), petroleum engineering (Mayank Tyagi, Christopher White) and computational fluid dynamics (Sumanta Acharya). The diverse problem space, high performance computing requirements, and attention to real-world problems provide opportunities for undergraduate researchers to address challenging, relevant, cutting edge problems in the physical and earth sciences, engineering, and applied mathematics.
The Material World focus area covers the modeling and understanding of all materials, including biological, chemical, and condensed matter
materials. Faculty from Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics (Dana
Browne, Randall Hall, Francisco Hung, Mark Jarrell (lead), Shantenu Jha, Robert Lipton, Juana Moreno, Georgios Veronis) belong to this area. A
few examples of research projects are:
Strongly Correlated electronic systems [Mentors: Mark Jarrell, Juana Moreno]. This project is motivated, in part, by a variety of complex emergent phenomena, including high-temperature superconductivity and quantum criticality. These correlated materials form the basis of future high-tech devices and their proper theoretical understanding is paramount for technological progress. Interest is also driven by the rapid development of new computational approaches to simulate the many-body problem.
Design of metallic photonic crystal structures for thermophotovoltaics [Mentor: Georgios Veronis]. In this project, we will exploit emerging opportunities in the area of metallic photonic crystals for Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) solar cells. The success of this project may lead to a fundamental breakthrough in the area of solar energy conversion, by paving the way towards efficiencies approaching the thermodynamic limit.
Molecular simulation studies of organic salts inside nanopores [Mentor: Francisco Hung]. This project will provide students a hands-on, introductory experience in molecular simulations, and how it complements experimental work in nanotechnology. Students will perform short molecular dynamics simulations of ionic liquids confined inside carbon with nanopores of different sizes and shapes. Ionic liquids (ILs) are organic salts that are in liquid state near room temperature. ILs have been proposed as alternative electrolytes for energy storage in electrochemical double-layer capacitors, and as base materials for the synthesis of non-toxic nanoparticles for biomedical applications. We aim at understanding how changes in the pore size and shape affect the molecular-level properties of the confined organic salt. These molecular-level properties affect macroscopic variables, such as capacitance, resistance, magnetic and optical properties.
Accelerated Physics and Chemistry codes using GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) [Mentors: Mark Jarrell, Juana Moreno, Ram Ramanujam]. The student will have access to a new GPU cluster and would work with faculty in Physics and Chemistry to implement simple GPU accelerated calculations in OpenCL, CUDA, or with code written with PGI compilers.
LAMMPS on GPUs for Biomaterial Transport [Mentors: Dimitris Nikitopoulos, Dorel Moldovan, Ram Ramanujam]. Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are pervasive in computer gaming environments but also provide a relative inexpensive platform for fast highly parallelized scientific computation. The objective of this REU project is to go through the necessary implementation steps to run LAMMPS on GPUs, and solve a simple test problem of transport of a bio-molecule in an aqueous environment. Since implementation of LAMMPS, which is a very widely used code for Molecular Dynamics Simulation, on GPUs is still in the development stage, performance and other technical issues still need be evaluated. Part of the effort of the student in this project will be directed to collecting data facilitating this evaluation based on the test problem. The REU student will have the opportunity to interact with a graduate student and a post-doctoral associate in addition to faculty and some members of the LAMMPS development team at Sandia National Labs. The bio-molecule transport test problem is highly relevant to bio-medical applications such as drug delivery and bio-analytical diagnosis.
Molecular dynamics simulation study of self-assembly of Span 80 micelles [Mentor: Dorel Moldovan]. Surfactant molecules are important in a large variety of processes such as: biological, as in carrier structures of molecules across cell membranes; commercial, as in detergents and stain removers; and food industry, as in emulsifiers. In this project, using a realistic all-atom inter atomic interaction model, we will perform large-scale molecular dynamics simulations of Span 80 (sorbitan monooleate) surfactant self-assembly in water at concentrations above the critical micelle concentration. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop an atomistic understanding of the mechanism of surfactant aggregation into micelles. Throughout the duration of the project the students will be introduced to the basics of using GROMACS simulation package and the visualization software VMD.
Computer-aided drug design [Mentor: Michal Brylinski]. Currently, drug development programs routinely include a strong computational component. Such cost effective computer-aided drug discovery is especially appealing in an academic setting, which lacks industrial capabilities for high-throughput screening of large compound libraries; however, it is not trivial and poses several formidable challenges. One of the most promising modeling techniques used in structure-based drug design is virtual screening by molecular docking. In this project, REU students would have an opportunity to learn about current trends and approaches to drug docking and binding affinity prediction. Moreover, they would participate in the development of novel algorithms for virtual screening that offer improved accuracy and effectively utilize modern heterogeneous high-performance computing platforms, e.g. these powered by massively parallel graphics processors.
- The Material World focus area covers the modeling and understanding of all materials, including biological, chemical, and condensed matter materials. Faculty from Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics (Dana Browne, Randall Hall, Francisco Hung, Mark Jarrell (lead), Shantenu Jha, Robert Lipton, Juana Moreno, Georgios Veronis) belong to this area. A few examples of research projects are:
The Cultural Computing focus area includes faculty from Art, Music, Business, and Mass Communication (Stephen Beck (lead), Jesse Allison, Jamison Day, Rudy
Hirschheim, Xin Li, Lance Porter, Gary Sanger, Edward Watson, Sonja Wiley-Patton). The Laboratory for
Creative Arts and Technology has remained an entity within Cultural Computing, with dedicated laboratories for audio and video. The
Cultural Computing focus area is responsible for the Red Stick Animation Festival, which has been
held in Baton Rouge yearly since April 2005. This focus area also leads the AVATAR initiative, and is
developing new curricula for digital media. Possible projects is this area are:
Laptop Orchestra [Mentor: Steve Beck]. Each player manages the activities of his laptop computer, and uses the laptop as a virtual musical instrument. Instruments can be performed by physical gestures using keystrokes, mouse clicks, sweeps of the trackpad, or through a variety of game interfaces. Virtual instruments can also talk to each other over a wireless network, so that the control over one laptop influences other laptops in the network. In the Laptop Orchestra, students will write their own computer code in order to compose a music piece and work in teams to perform these pieces.
Mobile Music [Mentor: Jesse Allison]. Music creation on mobile devices is a broadening field of exploration within computer music. New instrument or interactions with sound that can engage in gesture based control, interactive moving image representations of music and sound, sensors, geo-location, augmented reality, networking communication between performers, and social computing networks are broadening our understanding of what an instrument, performer, and ensemble may be. Interaction designers, programmers, musicians, composers, and researchers in many fields collaborate to create musical instruments, sonic environments, explore acoustic ecology, or any other aspect of sound and music related to mobile computing.
Online Sourcing Marketplaces: The Changing Landscape of Global Outsourcing. Global outsourcing has traditionally been utilized by large corporations. The arrival and growth of Online Sourcing Marketplaces (OSM), however seems to be changing this paradigm. OSMs are likely to change the way firms create and manage their sourcing portfolios. By helping clients and providers connect online and facilitating their interaction, OSMs make global sourcing of services available to firms of all sizes. The goal of this study, therefore, is to start building a deeper understanding of why and how firms engage in sourcing and providing services through OSMs.
Bi-Directional Mobile Phone Interactions for Education and Commerce. This project will further examine how mobile phones can be used in the classroom to simulate commercial transactions and investigate how supply networks give rise to economic development. Mobile phones have several unique capabilities that can foster interactive and individualized learning opportunities as compared to alternative automated response technologies. Through classroom simulations, this project will generate data to examine how various supply network structures and behaviors can foster improved community development and economic growth.
- The Cultural Computing focus area includes faculty from Art, Music, Business, and Mass Communication (Stephen Beck (lead), Jesse Allison, Jamison Day, Rudy Hirschheim, Xin Li, Lance Porter, Gary Sanger, Edward Watson, Sonja Wiley-Patton). The Laboratory for Creative Arts and Technology has remained an entity within Cultural Computing, with dedicated laboratories for audio and video. The Cultural Computing focus area is responsible for the Red Stick Animation Festival, which has been held in Baton Rouge yearly since April 2005. This focus area also leads the AVATAR initiative, and is developing new curricula for digital media. Possible projects is this area are:
System Science and Engineering
This focus area addresses the challenges and opportunities for
advancing computer system concepts and design. This area includes faculty from Computer Science and
Electrical and Computing Engineering (Hartmut Kaiser, Jay Park, Ram Ramanujam (lead)).
The Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory supports this area of research.
The core funded projects in this focus area are related to ParalleX
and Advanced Networking.
Parallex [Mentor: Hartmut Kaiser]. The ParalleX research group is investigating advanced parallel computer architecture and programming environments to eliminate constraints and program petascale-class machines in ways that incorporate multiple elements effectively. In particular, ParalleX is designed to make areas such as synchronization, scheduling, manual data layout, and messaging more efficient.
Advanced Networking [Mentor: Jay Park]. The Advanced Networking group has worked on Future Internet and Cloud Computing by developing high speed network protocols and high performance computing applications. REU students can have hands-on experience of the state of art technology on computing and networking at the CRON 10Gbps network testbed (http://www.cron.loni.org).
Cybersecurity: Targets [Mentor: David Koppelman]. The Cybersecurity Laboratory is a facility for testing methods of attack against computers, defensive measures against such attacks, and related issues. To facilitate such investigations the laboratory will develop a library of typical computer configurations, called targets. A target is essentially a snapshot of a real-life computer (referring to the mix of software and data, as well as how correctly everything was set up) at some moment in time. Lab users will check out a target (copy the target to one of the lab's machines), perhaps apply some defensive measures, and then attack it. An undergraduate can help with the identification and collection of these real-life targets, and with developing a friendly user interface for the library.
Compiler Research [Mentor: Ram Ramanujam]. The Tensor Contraction Engine (TCE) project is a domain-specific optimizing compiler developed to facilitate the rapid automatic generation of efficient parallel implementations from high-level mathematical specifications. Because of the high-level view, the TCE can perform optimizations that are extremely difficult or impossible once the computations are translated to a language such as C/C++/Fortran. The PLUTO and PrimeTile efforts enable a broader application of transformations, such as tiling and fusion, that were critical to performance optimization for tensor expressions in the TCE project. A significant advantage of the polyhedral compiler model used by Pluto is the integrated treatment of arbitrary compositions of transformations on (affine) imperfectly nested loops with multiple statements, and reasoning about their cumulative effects through algebraic cost models. REU students will benefit significantly from working on these projects.
- This focus area addresses the challenges and opportunities for advancing computer system concepts and design. This area includes faculty from Computer Science and Electrical and Computing Engineering (Hartmut Kaiser, Jay Park, Ram Ramanujam (lead)). The Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory supports this area of research. The core funded projects in this focus area are related to ParalleX and Advanced Networking.