Zippy supercomputer helps UAH solar scientists answer questions

UAH Supercomputer Code

Talk about a mathematics hot rod – how does 13 quadrillion calculations per second grab you?

A scalable computer code developed at UAH that efficiently uses supercomputing power, plus important areas of UAH scientific inquiry, landed scientists at the Department of Space Science and Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) in the driver's seat for a highly sought chance to run complex equations on a blisteringly fast supercomputer.

The UAH effort using the Cray Blue Waters supercomputer supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Illinois, where it is located, resulted in advances in understanding solar wind and the heliosphere.

"It's one of the fastest supercomputers in the world," says Dr. Nikolai Pogorelov, who works closely with co-principal investigators Dr. Jacob Heerikhuisen and Dr. Sergey Borovikov, and who recently returned from a Blue Waters Symposium at Illinois. "It is the fastest supercomputer that is hosted by a university in the world."


Lowly control systems vulnerable to hacks, according to UAH expert

North Alabama Cyber Security Summit

In the age of smartphones, gaming, apps and super-gadgets, the industrial systems that control elevators, heating and cooling systems, water treatment plants and the like just don't seem all that glamorous and they are often a low priority.

That's exactly why they are so vulnerable to takeover by hackers, as Dr. Ray Vaughn, vice president for research at UAH, knows all too well. Prior to coming to UAH, Dr. Vaughn and a research assistant helped nab one such miscreant.

Dr. Vaughn will speak June 4 on the "Top Ten Concerns with Security of Industrial Control Systems in Critical Infrastructure Applications" at the sixth annual North Alabama Cyber Security Summit being held June 4-5. Also at the conference, UAH Chief Information Security Officer Russ Ward will be part of a June 5 panel discussion on mobile device security.


UAH research scientist joins NASA tuna study


You can't see a tuna from outer space, but that isn't stopping NASA and UAH from lending a hand in efforts to protect tuna and their tiny larvae in the Gulf of Mexico.

Maury Estes, a research scientist in UAH's Earth System Science Center, is spending more than a week aboard the research ship F.G. Walton Smith prowling the gulf between Florida and Texas with a team of scientists led by NOAA's Dr. John Lamkin who want to know more about where Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn and other details of their private tuna lives.


UAH students on third-place team at Rocket City Launch


Providing prospective homebuyers and apartment renters with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to scout locations is the basis of a business developed by a team composed primarily of students from UAH that won third place in the inaugural Rocket City Launch competition at MindGear Labs.

Focused on digital fabrication, the inaugural competition provided an opportunity for beginning entrepreneurs of various disciplines to meet, dream and launch a new venture, all in the span of one weekend, as mentors provided wisdom, volunteers supplied tools and food, and experienced entrepreneurs provided feedback.


12 UAH researchers get total of $508,123 in infrastructure improvement funds


Twelve faculty and research staff have been awarded a total of $508,123 in infrastructure improvement awards by UAH Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR).

"I am pleased to announce the award of 12 infrastructure improvement awards to faculty and research staff," says Dr. Ray Vaughn, UAH vice president for research, who thanks the university's researchers for supporting and growing its research program. "This brings the total investment by OVPR in UAH faculty and staff to well over $1 million this year."


Professors, students cook up something cool with airship


Take two UAH professors with cross-discipline interests, add a group of enthusiastic senior aircraft design students, mix well and let them get cooking.

The result is a blimp-like airship that's the mother ship for a smaller quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and it may be the wildest thing to ever have been performance tested inside Huntsville's Von Braun Center.

The helium-filled airship has a remote-controlled capture and release docking mechanism that also charges the UAV from batteries aboard. The project recently won second place at the 65th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Region II Student Team Design Competition in Memphis, Tenn.



Earth system science undergrads to spend summer in research

Earth system science undergraduates

A U.S. Navy veteran who spent a decade "helping needy people all over the world" is one of three Earth system science undergraduates who will spend this summer conducting research funded through the UAH Research and Creative Experiences for Undergraduates (RCEU) program.

As a heavy equipment operator for the Navy Seabees, Robert Rossell dug wells, helped build schools and cleared roads to isolated and impoverished villages from Africa to the Philippines. This summer, however, he will work with Cameron Handyside in UAH's Earth System Science Center to study the impact expanding irrigation in Alabama might have on water supplies in various watersheds.

"We're going to develop tools to help decision makers in Montgomery make better decisions," he said. "We want to be sure we're not expanding irrigation at the peril of surface water."


TV news browsing made easy by UAH student’s software

Daniel Woo

Soon it might be a lot easier to quickly scan for that TV news or entertainment story or perspective you wanted to see but missed.

Software that was developed by a UAH computer science graduate student aggregates network and cable TV news and entertainment stories to make topics more easily browsable and searchable. Guided by the UAH Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), it's in the patent and copyright process and heading toward the Alabama Launchpad competition.

"We've just finished the technology," says Daniel Woo, the company's CEO, who will receive his master's in computer science this spring and is still searching for just the right name for his invention. In the running are VidGopher and hoo.sed, among others. Advised by UAH associate professor of computer science Dr. Ramazan Aygun, who specializes in multimedia and data mining, Woo developed the software for his master's degree thesis.


Scientists get $369,092 in UAH internal research funds

Individual Investigator Distinguished Research

Thirteen UAH researchers have been awarded a portion of $369,092 in Individual Investigator Distinguished Research (IIDR) funds for their proposals, according to Dr. Ray Vaughn, vice president for research.

The university received 72 proposals from across the campus' academic disciplines seeking funds from the program for research endeavors. IIDR is a UAH internal grant program administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

"I want to offer my congratulations to these 13 principle investigators and my appreciation to all who applied," said Dr. Vaughn. "I would have liked to have funded more. We had a many very good proposals.

"I am proud to report that we invested nearly $370,000 in this program and when combined with all internal grant programs, more than $1 million has been invested by UAH in research," Dr. Vaughn said.


UAH students take home top honors at AIAA regional conference

AIAA Regional Conference

Earlier this month, roughly 170 delegates from 16 universities converged on Memphis, Tenn., to take part in AIAA's 2014 Southeastern Regional Student Conference. One of the most well-represented schools was UAH, whose team of 16 included junior aerospace engineering major Markus Murdy.

"Events like this are important to me as a student because they are great for networking with students at other universities who are also passionate about aerospace topics," says Murdy. "They also provide an opportunity to present and promote my work in a professional atmosphere among my peers."

Of the six divisions that made up the conference, UAH students presented in five – and took home awards in four.