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  REU Site: Interdisciplinary Program in High Performance Computing

Program Details for Summer 2011 - June 20 to August 12, 2011

Overview and Mailing List

The REU Site: Interdisciplinary Program in High Performance Computing is located in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC, just south of Baltimore, Maryland, in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington corridor of industry and government. The program is comprised of learning scientific, parallel, and statistical computing and of project work on interdisciplinary applications. All activities of the program are conducted by teams of students, closely supported by graduate teaching and reseach assistants as well as faculty.

We maintain a mailing list for news and updates on the REU Site. To add yourself to the mailing list as well as for general information about the program, please send an e-mail to Here is a printer-friendly flier in PDF format. We invite you to peruse the Summer 2010 tab above to see the research projects chosen that year, a list of special events including field trips, and an extensive photo album. Stay tuned for a link to a video about our program in the near future!

Key Elements:

  • Eight weeks from June 20 to August 12, 2011
  • UMBC is located just south of Baltimore, Maryland, in the Baltimore-Washington corridor of industry and government agencies; more information about the area is also avaliable here: UMBC Visitor's Guide, Attractions in Baltimore, Attractions in Washington.
  • Team work with dedicated graduate student mentors and faculty instructors
  • Professional development workshops
  • GRE preparation course
  • Poster presentation
  • Technical report and publication opportunities
  • No cost to the participants

Unique Features:

  • Fully transferable three-credit course Math 447 Introduction to Parallel Computing using C with MPI; see its syllabus and the 29 numbered, boldfaced classes plus associated labs in the detailed schedule for more information.
  • Access to a state-of-the-art parallel cluster with high performance interconnect in the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF)
  • Includes introduction to tools of scientific and statistical computing: C, Linux, MATLAB, R, LaTeX
  • Interdisciplinary projects with clients from industry and government agencies through the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC)
  • Field trips to local industry and government labs

Formal Details:

  • Summer 2011: Monday, June 20 to Friday, August 12, 2011; travel to UMBC and move-in to campus housing on Sunday, June 19, 2011. See detailed schedule and below for more information on the program and the activities planned.
  • Progam Benefits:
    • program stipend $3,600
    • UMBC campus housing and food allowance provided
    • travel allowance provided
    • free GRE preparation workshop and course book
    • paid tuition and course book for the course Math 447 Introduction to Parallel Computing
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • be an undergraduate student at an accredited institution (i.e., still be a student in the fall semester following the program)
    • earned a minimum of 30 college credits with a
    • GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
    • provide documentation of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency
    • reside in campus housing at UMBC during the program
    • participate in the summer research experience full-time
    Please understand that some of these requirements are mandated by the U.S. National Science Foundation that funds this program. These requirements cannot be waived by us, including, in particular, the requirement to be a current undergraduate student (in the fall following the program) and the citizenship/residency requirement.
  • Pre-requisites: courses in Calculus (differential and integral), Linear Algebra, Basic Probability and Statistics, and Introduction to Programming completed successfully by June 2011.
  • Application deadline for full consideration: February 18, 2011 by online application

More Information on the Program and its Detailed Schedule

The detailed schedule gives an overview of the topics involved with the program and the activities planned during the 8 weeks of this REU Site program. In a first phase during Weeks 1, 2, and 3, students will focus on learning scientific, parallel, and statistical computing. A second phase focuses on project work on interdisciplinary applications. Week 8 is a third phase that is dedicated to preparing a technical report and a poster presentation of the work.

All activities of the program will be conducted in teams of 4 students, closely supported in all phases by graduate teaching and reseach assistants as well as by the directors of the program. The structured learning of scientific, parallel, and statistical computing will consist of classes, each of which is immediately followed by team work in a computer lab, during which the teams will work on assignments with the support of a graduate TA. The program includes credit for a senior-level three-credit course on parallel computing that corresponds to the 29 numbered classes in the detailed schedule.

During Weeks 1 and 2, teams will learn about several possible interdisciplinary projects with clients from application areas outside of the mathematical sciences. Examples of clients include faculty from other departments such as mechanical engineering or biology, researchers from industrial companies such as Northrop Grumman, researchers from government agencies or research labs such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). By the end of Week 2, each team will choose a project and propose a plan of attack. The project work will start during Week 3 and be the focus of Weeks 4, 5, 6, and 7. The team work on the interdisciplinary projects will be supported closely by a graduate RA assigned to each team. Throughout the program, there will be plenty of opportunities to interact with all members of the program both in formal project updates, informal brainstorming sessions (including the morning social every weekday), and more. We also plan on several field trips to interesting sites, for instance, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, a client's organization, and similar.

The last week of the program, Week 8, is dedicated to assembling the results of the project work. A technical report that will be posted on the preprint server of the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility will serve as the citable result of the work as well as the basis for the product delivered to the client. This technical report can also be an excellent basis for a journal article such as for the SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO) Additionally, the work will be presented as a research poster at the Summer Undergraduate Research Fest (SURF) hosted by the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (CNMS) on Wednesday of Week 8.

The program also includes additional material presented to help support the project activities, such as an overview of the mathematical typesetting system LaTeX and other tools for presentations and report writing, a discussion of academic integrity in scientific work, and a GRE preparation course. All material of this program is designed to include an introduction that assumes very little background in it but also very advanced material that will make it useful for experienced users. These broader aspects of the program are designed to make the project work more effective as well as to provide an excellent preparation for and impression of graduate studies in mathematics or statistics.

In total, the program of this REU Site, as summarized in the detailed schedule provides a combination of formal introduction to high performance computing in the mathematical sciences covering aspects of scientific, statistical, and parallel computing with team work on an interdisciplinary application project. This combination of aspects will give participants a powerful and exciting experience of how to combine learning with applying material to project work, all in an atmosphere of mutual support by all members of the project from undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, to clients.