UW-Eau Claire Receives Major NSF Summer Undergraduate Research Grant

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Dr. Rahul Gomes, assistant professor of computer science, speaks with student researcher Avi Devy Mohan about their 2021 research, which was a collaborative project with the Mayo Clinic Health System.

At the end of January, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire received an award from the National Science Foundation, which will provide students with the opportunity to combine high-performance computing with undergraduate multidisciplinary research.

This NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant is titled “Advancing High Performance Computing Opportunities in Undergraduate Research at UW-Eau Claire to Address the Challenges of Multidisciplinary Computer Science,” and it will connect all projects associated with the university’s supercomputing power. cluster, the Blugold Center for High-Performance Computing, created in the spring of 2021.

The grant, totaling $385,762, will allow UW-Eau Claire to host 10 undergraduate students for 10-week collaborative research programs each summer from 2022-2024. Special consideration will be given to groups historically excluded in two-year colleges, where research opportunities are limited.

Dr. Rahul Gomes, assistant professor of computer science at UW-Eau Claire and principal investigator of the grant, explains the increasingly critical role that high-performance computing (HPC) plays in many areas of scientific research and how this grant will help UW-Eau Claire leverages its tremendous capabilities in this area.

“Over the past decade, we have seen significant growth in CHP’s teaching and research activities across all disciplines,” says Gomes. “Investing in HPC and continuing to integrate it into undergraduate research will further position UW-Eau Claire to train future scientists in many STEM fields to their full potential.”

Dr. Sudeep Bhattacharyay, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is co-principal investigator of this grant. He explains that by recruiting students from two-year colleges to apply for research positions, UW-Eau Claire can improve the diversity of STEM fields.

“UW-Eau Claire traditionally offers a rich research environment with strong mentor-mentee connections,” says Bhattacharyay. “Through this 10-week program, students will receive hands-on training in state-of-the-art HPC-based research tools designed to meet the challenges of multidisciplinary computer science. We hope that the research experience will encourage them to pursue four-year studies in STEM disciplines. Finally, we believe these efforts would establish UW-Eau Claire as a pioneer in the Chippewa Valley in promoting a diverse STEM workforce of 21st century scientists.

The first round of REU projects will run from June 6 to August 30. 12; the the application deadline is March 18.

The thematic areas of the project for summer 2022 include:

  • Machine learning and computer vision.
  • Tissue imaging by infrared spectroscopy.
  • Social media analysis.
  • Quantum chemical simulation.
  • Computer simulation of electrode materials.
  • Stellar astrophysics.
  • Vegetation mapping with UAV and GIS.
  • Multi-scale modeling of complex biomolecular structures.

Each student participating in the REU program will receive a $6,000 stipend and receive free food and on-campus housing for the 10 weeks.

In addition to an unparalleled collaborative research experience, the REU program will include:

  • Workshops related to high performance computing, computational science, ethics and responsible conduct of research, and laboratory safety.
  • Seminars on topics such as undergraduate research, scientific writing, career planning and diversity.
  • Presentations by guest speakers and field trips.
  • Social events.

Eligibility criteria:

All students currently enrolled in two- or four-year institutions who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply for these UW-Eau Claire REU experiences. In hopes of increasing diversity in STEM fields, applicants from historically marginalized groups and first-generation students are especially welcome.

To find faculty and project details, and to complete an application, visit the UW-Eau Claire REU website.

If you have specific questions not answered on the REU website, please contact Dr. Rahul Gomes at [email protected] or Dr. Sudeep Bhattacharyay at [email protected]

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