The other MRI grant to UNH, totaling $535,000, is for a new computer cluster that will benefit investigations in multiple disciplines, including physics, engineering and math. It will help researchers better understand turbulence, fluid flows, magnetic reconnection (the process by which magnetic energy is converted into heat and kinetic energy), and space weather, says Joachim (Jimmy) Raeder, professor in the physics department and the Space Science Center in EOS, who led the grant proposal.
The machine's computational abilities will, the researchers hope, lead to advances with practical implications such as improved prediction of space weather. Solar storms affect many types of navigational and communications technology, including the global-positioning system (GPS) used in industries ranging from aviation to off-shore drilling. According to Raeder, being able to predict space weather could help mitigate its disruptive effects.
The new computer cluster, which will be used by about a dozen faculty members along with 20-30 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other researchers, will replace one installed in 2005. "It's really old in the computer world, so there's a big need to replace it," Raeder says. He adds that the new cluster will be roughly 15 times as powerful as the current one. Although physically slightly smaller than the current cluster, it will fill three 19" wide "racks" that are three-feet deep by eight-feet high. "We will get about 500 times what a typical desktop computer would have and to solve many problems we need that degree of power," Raeder says.
|Contact: Beth Potier|
University of New Hampshire