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All-hands Meeting

The NSF EPSCoR RII Symposium took place on Monday, May 11, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The symposium featured four 'anchor' presentations on CyberTools/Science Driver interactions, a poster competition, an outreach/education session, and plenty of opportunities for networking. Find the Symposium's presentations and posters here.
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Scientific Applications

CyberTools will provide advanced cyberinfrastructure to support research in key areas of science and engineering, enabling new modes of investigation and learning. With the aid of the advanced capabilities for data storage, networking and high-performance computing which will be available on LONI through CyberTools, researchers from many areas of computational science will have new opportunities for their research and will be able to take full advantage of state and federal computational resources. The CyberTools project specifically targets two important broad areas in developing and implementing cyberinfrastructure components: (1) biosensing and (2) transport processes.


The biosensing research will develop better geno/immuno sensors and more effective small molecule sensors. Research will be carried out by collaborative teams of chemists, biochemists, engineers and computational scientists and will address basic and applied questions, with the goal of developing new and innovative systems that can advance sensor and molecular analysis technologies.

• Geno/immuno sensors - these are low-cost, easily deployable platforms that can be used for disease diagnosis, population screening and environmental monitoring. These sensors provide information about the presence of biological or chemical agents in a particular area, which make them a valuable detection tool in the country's efforts to counteract bioterrorism. However, such sensors can only detect agents of high molecular weight. Researchers will work toward developing biosensors that can detect potential hazards at lower molecular weights, making them more effective counter-terrorism tools. Design of these sensors and optimization of the necessary molecular interactions require computational modeling and simulation that will be facilitated by the development of the Work Packages. Simulation approaches will minimize tedious and costly experimental trial and error.

• Small molecule sensors - the researchers will develop a LONI work environment that allows researchers better access to high-throughput screening. This is an advanced research tool used primarily in biological and chemical sciences that allows a researcher to conduct millions of biochemical, genetic or pharmacological tests in a short period of time and in a more effective manner with better results than traditional screening techniques. Because current limitations in accessibility prevent most scientists from effectively using high-throughput screening, EPSCoR researchers will develop a process that enables more scientists to access this technique by farming the screenings out through the LONI network.

Transport Processes

• Bio Transport - Scientists will work together to develop necessary scientific and computational infrastructure to effectively study biotransport phenomena. These studies will result in simulations of molecular dynamic phenomena, and the modeling and simulation of convection, diffusion, reactions and molecular uptake in living tissues and devices. These studies will result in the development of tools that will enable breakthroughs in biosensor development.

• Hurricane and Storm Surge Modeling - Louisiana's low-lying coastal areas are one of the world's most vulnerable, and environmentally damaged, ecosystems. Although Katrina heavily damaged the state's shoreline, massive erosion of the state's wetlands already was occurring.

Many isolated models are available that use principles of computational fluid dynamics to study the region. However, for effective modeling, researchers need to link different models together and combine different modeling elements.

Through this application, researchers will use an emerging data field called Dynamic Data-Driven Application Systems (DDDAS) to implement new hurricane and coastal modeling methods. These advanced models will allow researchers to better plan restoration strategies, improve ecological forecasting, determine better placement of future sensors, control water diversion for salinity and predict/control harmful algal blooms.

CyberTools will archive historic and real-time data to be used in modeling the coast. Using this data, researchers will automate creation of multi-layer visualizations that combine multiple elements (e.g., storm surge, sediment deposit, salinity of the water.) Created across the LONI network, these visualizations can be used for many different applications.

Through the LONI network, scientists can use these advanced tools to focus on the urgent problem of emergency storm-surge forecasting during approaching hurricanes.