Dr. Harry Zhang receives NSF award for research on supercomputer educational tool

Headshot of Harry (Hui) ZhangAssistant  professor Dr. Harry Zhang of the Department of  Computer Science and Computer Engineering recently received an award for his work with “IUSE:  Collaborative Research:  Learning to Use Essential Tools and Resources for Data Science with Cloud-Based Virtual Environment.” The recipient of several awards in his brief tenure at the University, Zhang’s efforts with this project involve the logistical problems part and parcel to sequestering time on a supercomputer. His virtual computer will allow researchers an opportunity to learn more about how the supercomputer operates and how best to organize their time prior to accessing the actual machine.

Zhang recognized that while access to a supercomputer is achievable, that availability may be less effective considering time constraints and the learning curve that comes with working with a new machine. His work is designed to allow a simulation of that process and an opportunity to practice in advance.

“The project will deliver a full set of interactive documents and video tutorials on using and configuring the platform. The educational activities will use graphical, interactive, simulation-based, and experiential learning components to teach data science concepts and computing skills, accessed through the cloud-based platform. The project aims to help students develop critical workforce skills in data science.”

In addition to allowing researchers a chance to preview the program prior to their work, Zhang hopes that students with a tentative interest in supercomputing may have an opportunity to learn the utility of that access for their work. His goal is to help students who may not understand the value of supercomputing discover what it can do without having to jump in first.