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MSU to be NSF Site for Undergrad Research in Computational Science

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Michigan State University has been selected as a site for a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. The $360,000 grant runs for three years, beginning August 1, 2016. The first cohort of twelve students will participate in the 10-week program beginning summer 2017.

Through a program called iCER Advanced Computational Research Experience for Students, or iCER ACRES, MSU’s Institute for CyberEnabled Research (iCER), in collaboration with MSU’s Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE), will offer summer opportunities for undergraduates with an interest in computational and data science research.

“The iCER ACRES program is ideal for students who are looking for highly specialized, hands-on experience in computational research,” said Kennie Merz, one of the program supervisors and the director of iCER, which hosts MSU’s High Performance Computing Center. “The ability to effectively solve problems on high-performance computational (HPC) resources is an area of increasing national importance. The educational process supported by iCER ACRES will enable students to address a range of computational projects of significant benefit to the United States.”

Merz added that projects provided through this site will advance the overall national skill set in the computational and data sciences field through hands-on educational activities, provide early HPC exposure to students from institutions with limited access to HPC resources, and motivate students to pursue careers in computational fields.

“Students accepted into the program will work with faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students on a range of projects in disciplines as diverse as computational genomics, astrophysics, molecular dynamics, electrical engineering, nuclear physics, and mathematical and numerical methods for big data, fluids and plasmas,” said Brian O’Shea, an NSF REU program supervisor, CMSE graduate director and associate professor in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science.


To be considered for the program, students must:

  • be interested in pursuing research-based graduate studies in data or computational science;

  • possess a basic understanding of computer programming (equivalent to skills acquired through two semesters of college-level introductory programming),

  • have taken at least a two semesters of calculus, and

  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

The application process opens in October.


Each student selected to participate will receive a $5,000 stipend, on-campus housing and a meal allowance. Financial support for travel to the REU site and to conferences will be provided.

The program receives funding from the Department of Defense ASSURE Program.

For more information, visit the website at https://icer.msu.edu/research/reu-acres.

- Val Osowski via College of Natural Science website

- PHOTO: Computational and data science is used to generate simulations such as this, which is studying galaxies in the early universe. The image shows how radiation from stars in the earliest galaxies (radiation is white glow; stars are white points) is responsible for ionizing gas around those galaxies (shown in red and yellow).

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