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NSF Grant Puts Truman in the Supercomputer Game

Colin DeGraf, assistant professor of physics, presents at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society. DeGraf was a co-principal investigator for an NSF grant that will put Truman in a consortium of schools with access to supercomputer.

Truman is leading the way for undergraduates to access a high-performance computer, opening the door for new research opportunities on campus and providing students with in-demand workforce skills.

Through a recent National Science Foundation award of nearly $700,000, Truman is one of four schools that will soon develop a high-performance computer (HPC), commonly referred to as a “supercomputer.” The consortium, comprised of Missouri Western State University, Webster University and Southeast Missouri State University, are all primarily undergraduate institutions, which was by design. Although the majority of NSF funding tends to go to research universities, schools like those in the consortium have been estimated to produce approximately 40% of STEM bachelor’s degrees.

“With computational resources becoming nearly ubiquitous in both academic research and a wide range of career sectors, we think it is important to provide students with the opportunity to work with HPCs as part of their education,” said Colin DeGraf, assistant professor of physics and co-principal investigator for the NSF grant. “The experience and skills they can gain from this should help them with their next step after graduation – whether going to graduate school or entering the job market – and also make them more productive in any computational field they might enter.”

Beyond career readiness, supercomputer access will expand potential research opportunities for Truman students and faculty members alike. That was a key factor in DeGraf’s involvement with the consortium. His current research examines how galaxies collide, which can involve looking at data from 15 to 20 million galaxies.

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