CRC high-performance computing resources enhance the productivity of Pitt researchers - and help improve teaching. Pitt CRC research faculty consultants serve as a resource for faculty members to explore new methods to enrich student learning while preparing them for careers.
"Teaching and learning enhance CRC’s computing research mission. We play a role in helping grow the research community from the ground up."
- Barry Moore II, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Research Computing
Pitt Biology Professor Jacob Durrant's lab created this still image of a molecular dynamics simulation (MDS) based on a recent paper describing the Pyrite plugin, developed by the lab for simulations that employ rendering techniques from film and gaming. Durrant's team used Pitt CRC resources in creating a protein with bushy green hair as a dramatic way of demonstrating Pyrite’s ability to marry MDS with 3D gaming graphics. Please note: the Durrant lab is aware that proteins with green hair don’t actually exist. Nonetheless, the hairy protein made the cover of the December 2017 Journal of Computational Chemistry.
Working with a CRC research faculty consultant, Pitt Economics Professor Stefania Albanesi processed a large panel of anonymous data on debt and defaults. Her findings shift the accepted narrative that the credit crisis was caused by subprime borrowers defaulting on mortgages. Albanesi found instead that the biggest growth in mortgage debt actually came from borrowers with high and medium credit scores, not those with low scores. “It was the borrowers with higher credit scores who also represented a disproportionate number of defaults," explains Albanesi. Find out more about her work in the April 17 National Public Radio story "A Decade After The Bubble Burst, House Flipping Is On The Rise."
Pitt CRC consultants are working to make the high-performance computing environment accessible to researchers accustomed to working in a graphic user interface (GUI). Users are able to connect to a high-performance operating system within a familiar GUI desktop environment, without first learning a new programming language.
Space supercomputer STP-H6, developed in part with CRC GUI-enabled resources.
Photo courtesy NSF Center of Space, High-performance and Resilient Computing
and Pitt Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The video at left accompanies a paper by the Lillian Chong Group that was recently published in Nature Communications - "Large enhancements of response times of a protein conformational switch by computational design." This displays a molecular simulation of the switching process for a protein-based calcium sensor, with music written and performed by graduate student Alex DeGrave. Computational resources were provided by the Center for Research Computing.
University faculty members obtain free access to Pitt CRC resources via a streamlined submission and proposal process. Each faculty member is automatically eligible for 10,000 compute hours (or service units) on Pitt CRC computer clusters. What does 10,000 service units mean? That is roughly the equivalent of running a laptop 24/7 for a year. And the laptop never crashing.
Lillian Chong, Associate Professor in Chemistry, combines her passions for science and writing. She works at the forefront of expanding the possibilities of molecular dynamics simulations while also founding Pitt’s Creative Science Writing Program. Her workshops on science and creativity bring together students from Chemistry and English – a crowd that customarily doesn’t intermingle.
“Science is creative,” Chong tells the students. “Science and writing can reinforce each other.”