Summer in the cloud for undergraduate researchers

Four Cornell undergraduates spent the summer learning about the latest cloud computing technologies and making contributions to the Aristotle Cloud Federation as well as the computational tools researchers use to make scientific breakthroughs.

Their work and learning experiences were funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which supports research activities by undergraduates in NSF-funded areas.

The Aristotle Cloud Federation project, led by the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing (CAC), has built a federated cloud computing system with other universities and is creating cloud-ready research applications for scientists and engineers.

“Now that I have an idea of what computational astronomy/physics is like, I am even more interested in it, and I am considering getting my Ph.D. in computational physics,” said Matthew Farnese ’22, who worked on a project to improve the pipeline used to identify fast radio bursts – transient radio pulses caused by astrophysical processes not yet understood.

Priyanka Dilip ’21 worked on providing a graphics processing unit computing environment that scientists can use to install and test applications. “I definitely accomplished more than I expected,” said Dilip, whose work will be published on the CAC Wiki for users to access.

Jeffrey Lantz ’23 updated one application-development tool and created another, and then compared their cost and efficiency in spinning up parallel computing clusters in the cloud; and Sherri Tan ’22 worked on a project to predict the occurrence and magnitude of wind gusts surrounding three major airports.

“The REU experience gave me the opportunity to learn how to write scientific reports in order to document work and make research reproducible,” Tan said.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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