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Featured projects

The following feature articles highlight research projects done using resources at the Center for Advanced Research Computing.

Cavanagh studies the neurological origin of pleasure

Associate Professor James Cavanagh of the University of New Mexico Department of Psychology is working on a project that would help psychologists study depression, and its treatment, with greater accuracy. Cavanagh’s research, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, seeks to identify a consistent quantifiable indicator of anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure.

McCullough assembles evolutionary tree of birds

Though science has advanced considerably since the days of Charles Darwin, the evolutionary history of life on Earth is still largely a mystery – one being solved incrementally by the dedicated biologists who pore over fossils and genetic data to better understand the origins of species. One of these biologists is Jenna McCullough, a Ph.D. student at the University of New Mexico whose master’s thesis used Center for Advanced Research Computing resources to examine the evolutionary history of birds.

Professor Terry Loring studies the strange math behind hybrid conductor-insulators

University of New Mexico Professor Terry Loring has added to his remarkable list of contributions to the field of mathematical physics with his newest paper, A Guide to the Bott Index and Localizer Index. Using the Wheeler system at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing, Loring has fine-tuned a mathematical tool he calls the “Localizer Index,” a faster alternative to the widely used Bott Index.

Environmental Data Initiative receives NSF grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded a second grant to the Environmental Data Initiative to continue gathering and storing ecological data. A collaboration between researchers at the University of New Mexico, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of California – Santa Barbara, EDI aims to store environmental data in a way that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR).

SMILab deploys wireless smart sensors on Sandia Peak Tramway

tramway sensorResearchers from the Smart Management of Infrastructure Laboratory (SMILab), based at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing, have installed two wireless smart sensors on the Sandia Peak Tramway. The sensors, designed and developed by SMILab researchers, will collect accelerations, angles, and displacements of both the towers and the cars under different performance conditions.

Engineering team looks at using augmented reality to fix ailing infrastructure

Civil infrastructure in the United States is in serious disrepair. The American Society of Civil Engineers published an Infrastructure Report Card in 2017, in which it gave the crumbling national infrastructure a dismal grade of D+. According to the report card, over 9 percent of the 614,000-plus US bridges are structurally deficient, and their average age is 43 years. Professor Fernando Moreu and his SMILab team, headquartered at CARC, aim to develop and implement next-generation smart sensing technologies and strategies, which will ensure safety, cost effectiveness, resilience, and sustainability of civil structures.

Method delves under Earth's mantle for more detailed look

The Earth is composed of four layers: the crust; the mantle, which is divided into the upper mantle, lower mantle, and transition zone in between; the hot liquid outer core, and a solid inner core. In his paper Application of Ps Scattering Kernels to Imaging the Mantle Transition Zone With Receiver Functions published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, UNM Ph.D. student Han Zhang researched a method called Ps Scattering Kernels to create an image of the layer we can’t see in finer detail than previous studies.

Marten research provides insight into breeding, conservation

The American pine marten and Pacific marten are cute, furry animals reminiscent of weasels or ferrets. They live in forests all over the west, from islands off the coast of Alaska, to Canada, California, and even New Mexico. As a federally designated Management Indicator Species (MIS), martens play a big part in monitoring the health of the forest ecosystems they live in, according to Jocelyn Colella, a doctoral student in the University of New Mexico’s Biology Department. In a recent paper Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens published in the Conservation Genetics Journal, Colella uses genetic sequences (e.g., DNA) to understand how breeding between these two species impacts their evolution and conservation.

Colombian researchers partner with UNM professor to conduct drone rotor simulations using CARC systems

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Svetlana Poroseva and colleagues from Colombia used CARC systems to conduct simulations to compare accuracy and affordability of two different computational methods to simulate small rotors in hover flight.

Research looks to better understand widespread fungal disease

Candida albicans is the most common viral pathogen and causes candidiasis, an infectious disease of the lungs and other organs. Healthcare costs associated with treatment of candidiasis exceed $1 billion annually in the US alone. Candida albicans can mask itself so pattern recognition receptors in the human body cannot detect and destroy it. Researchers are trying to understand this masking process, eventually leading to better treatment.

Fire navigation research presented to NM Legislature

Firefighters entering a burning building step into a critically risky and potentially lethal environment. How a firefighter handles this combination of factors is a matter of life or death. University of New Mexico Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) student Manish Bhattarai presented a project he has been working on to the New Mexico Legislature. End-to-End Training of Deep Learning Systems for Scene Understanding, Path Planning and Navigation, 3D Scene Reconstruction is innovative research aimed at preventing injury and deaths.

Neuroscience researchers use CARC to store large stash of data

Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center (PCNC) and Department of Psychology researchers studying the brain use a system at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing, as well as another one on-site, to store data generated by their projects.

Biologist looks at virus genetic past to try to predict future outbreaks

University of New Mexico Ph.D. student Schuyler Liphardt spends his days at the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) not only doing his own research, but helping the Center serve students and faculty pursuing their own studies. Liphardt is currently working on his Ph.D. in biology and employed as a research graduate assistant at CARC.

Dancer, researchers collaborate to expand connection between arts and engineering

Dancing and engineering seem worlds apart, one artsy, the other all about math and technology. But a research group of computer engineering students housed at the University of New Mexico Center for Advanced Research Computing has collaborated with a local dancer to improve her performance while learning more about the possibilities of their own work.

Research shows director networking has impact on company success

On corporate boards, who the directors know and the networks they belong to can make a difference in the success of the company in securing excellent credit ratings crucial to its success.

Researchers seek ways to prevent dangerous, costly railroad crashes

There are hundreds of railroad overpasses all over the country that get hit regularly by vehicles passing underneath. Professor Fernando Moreu and his team are searching for a way to prevent expensive and risky damage to these overpasses.

UNM database of deceased people a national first

People die. All the time. From many causes, including old age, disease, accidents, murder. But researchers can learn from these deaths. Dr. Heather Edgar, forensic anthropologist at the UNM Office of Medical Investigator, and her team are currently converting a dataset of whole body decedent CT scans into a searchable database that will be available to researchers.

Robot swarms aid NASA journey to Mars

The Mars rover Curiosity is in the news right now as NASA celebrates the robot’s five-year sojourn across the planet surface. The rover is sending back breathtaking images and collecting data in anticipation of humans arriving in the 2030s. But before humans arrive, a swarm of smaller robots may already be on the planet, navigating the terrain and working together like a colony of ants to collect resources.

UNM researchers work to meet wind power goal

There is a national goal to increase wind energy in the United States to meet 20 percent of the demand for electricity by the year 2030. However, there are some challenges to reaching this goal. Two of the issues facing wind energy farms are the wakes emitted from each turbine, which reduces the efficiency of turbines around them, and the noise levels caused by the rotors. Dr. Sang Lee and his team are using the resources at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing to overcome these issues in order to build more efficient, more powerful wind turbines and wind farms to meet that goal.

Research aims to help patients at risk for diabetic blindness

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world and affects up to 80 percent of diabetic patients. However, with proper detection, the effects of DR can be often treated and blindness prevented. Computer Science doctoral student Jeremy Benson is looking at more effective screening methods.

LANL-CARC collaboration works to improve wildfire simulation program

A collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratories and CARC is helping the lab improve a wildfire simulation program, as well as preparing students for careers in scientific research.

CARC helps UNM race car team’s need for speed

The University of New Mexico Formula SAE is making race cars go faster with CARC's help.

Researchers seek ‘magic bullet’ using CARC systems

UNM researchers are working to encapsulate toxic chemotherapy in nanoparticles.

UNM researchers tackle next generation of VR display

UNM researchers work to solve a visual issue that leaves VR users with sickening symptoms.

Mountain lions on the edge

New research is looking at Integrating Conservation into Urban Planning through Predictive Modeling: Can city dwellers and wildlife coexist safely and peacefully?

UNM physicist discovers strange forces acting on nanoparticles

A new scientific paper published, in part, by a University of New Mexico physicist is shedding light on a strange force impacting particles at the smallest level of the material world.

Theoretical physicists at UNM manipulate light with nanoscale objects

Scientists at The University of New Mexico studying the field of nanophotonics are developing new perspectives never seen before through their research. In turn, the understanding of these theoretical concepts is enabling physical scientists to create more efficient nanostructures.