December 2014

Faster Campus Internet2 Connections to Benefit Research

Fiber optic connections in the Arkansas High Performance Computing data center create the physical backbone of the University of Arkansas’ campus network and allow the university to connect to the outside world.

The University of Arkansas will use a National Science Foundation grant to significantly upgrade its campus connection to the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network, better known as ARE-ON, and to the Internet2 national research and education network.

The two-year, $496,948 grant will pay for equipment that will lead to much faster network connections for the

University of Arkansas and for 35 other universities, colleges, two-year institutions and educational affiliates that are served by ARE-ON.

The network connections to the Internet2 research and education network for U of A will increase to 100 gigabits per second – 10 times the current capacity. The grant will also fund other equipment that will enable the use of next-generation Internet protocols and the development of a high-speed data transfer facility to support data-intensive research.

“These upgrades will directly support research, research training and education at the University of Arkansas and a broad range of other educational institutions in Arkansas,” said Rick McMullen, principal investigator for the grant and director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center at the University of Arkansas. “Education programs we expect to support and further enable include life sciences education programs aimed at establishing STEM pipelines for students from underrepresented groups, bridging two- and four-year higher education institutions with research-intensive universities.”

The new network capabilities will enable a broad range of research efforts, including research in human and agricultural genetics and materials science powered by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, a collection of facilities that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise. The collected facilities, known as XSEDE, are supported by the National Science Foundation and offer researchers access to a network of 16 supercomputers and high-end visualization and data analysis resources across the United States.

The project, funded through NSF’s Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Division, will support the development and characterization of novel materials at the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering at the U of A and will provide a technical framework for research, education and training in software-defined networking for the university and other institutions in the state.

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Researchers Target 'Superchip' with Air Force Grant


Fisher Yu

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and their colleague at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff have received a $725,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to further develop a new material for advanced electronics devices.

Mansour Mortazavi, a professor of physics at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, and the grant’s principal investigator, is collaborating on the project with University of Arkansas electrical engineers Fisher Yu and Hameed Naseem.

The material – a combination of silicon, germanium and tin grown on silicon substrates – will create a so-called silicon optoelectronics “superchip” by improving processing speed and reliability through combining photonic and silicon devices. The technology will improve lasers, detectors and cameras.

Photonics is the science of all things related to light, including generation, emission, transmission and sensing. Optoelectronics focuses on the development of electronic devices that source, detect and control light.

“The demonstration of key applications of our research will generate critical momentum toward the advancement of this new material and will radically change the landscape of optoelectronics research,” Yu said. “It will eventually lead to the emergence of a new field of silicon-based, integrated optoelectronics.”

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Shi Awarded Grant for Human Dynamics Study

Xuan Shi

Xuan Shi, an assistant professor of geoinformatics at the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a nearly $100,000 grant to study human dynamics across social media and social networks.

Shi’s four-year, $99,933 grant is part of an overall $1 million grant awarded from the National Science Foundation to three universities. San Diego State will lead the project, which is titled “Spatiotemporal Modeling of Human Dynamics across Social Media and Social Networks,” and includes researchers at Kent State University.
This interdisciplinary project will focus on the modeling of information diffusion over both time and space, and the connection between online activities and real world human behaviors.

Shi has substantial experience in large-scale geospatial computations, data analytics and high performance computing. He will collaborate with the team members to develop high-performance computing solutions and web tools for social media data pre-processing, spatial data mining and analytics on the clustering and correlations in social media communications, among other things.

New communication theories, new knowledge discovery tools and new computational models will be developed and validated by the interdisciplinary research team, Shi said.

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Historian Examines Northern Slavery in New Book


Jim Gigantino II

In his new book, The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865, Jim Gigantino II, an assistant professor of history, argues that slavery persisted in the northern United States well into the 19th century.

In the book – the first modern examination of slavery in the entire state of New Jersey – Gigantino demonstrates how deeply slavery influenced the political, economic and social life of blacks and whites in the state. The book shatters the perceived easy dichotomies between North and South or free states and slave states at the onset of the Civil War, he said.

“There is a perception among the general public – and also among many historians – that the institution of slavery died relatively quickly in the North with state abolition laws,” he said. “Slavery persisted in the North well into the 19th century. This was especially the case in New Jersey, the last northern state to pass a gradual abolition statute, in 1804. There were similar systems of slavery’s slow death in northern states such as Pennsylvania, where it lasted until the 1830s and 1840s, and in New York, where it lasted until the 1830s.”

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Faster Campus Internet2 Connections to Benefit Research

Researchers Target 'Superchip' with Air Force Grant

Shi Awarded Grant for Human Dynamics Study

Historian Examines Northern Slavery in New Book


Arkansas High Performance Computing Center Joins OpenPOWER Foundation

Graduate Student Poster Competition Winners Honored at Ceremony

Physicists Predict Fano Resonance in Lead-Free Relaxors


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Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty in November, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.
• Jeanne Miller, $310,000, U.S. Department of Education
• Richard Coffman, $295,486, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
• J.L. Gattis, $202,554, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
• Alan Mantooth, $160,000, U.S. Department of Energy
• Xuan Shi, $99,933, National Science Foundation


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