UH students tap supercomputing power of ‘Mana’


This fall, three University of Hawaii at Mānoa professors made use of “Mana,” the UH high performance computing cluster, to teach three graduate-level courses, taking advantage of the speed, efficiency and volume of data that can be processed with the supercomputer.

Students of the three courses had the opportunity to use the 298-node (6308 core) computer cluster housed with Information Technology Services.


Professor of Entomology Daniel Rubinoff, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Rui Sun and Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jonghyun Harry Lee taught Systemics and Phylogenetics (PEPS 662), Computational Study of Condensed Matters: from Theories to Applications (CHEM 761) and the newest course, Deep Learning in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Science (CEE 696) respectively.

Rubinoff, Sun and Lee engaged students in computational science not only to create awareness of this multidisciplinary field, but to equip students with the skills necessary to use advanced computing to solve and understand complex problems.

A number of students attested to the rigorous nature of the three courses where programming skill sets varied for each course.

However, despite the level at which students started, they walked away from the courses knowing more than when they began.

“There is no limit to the applications,” CEE 696 student Madeline McKenna said.

McKenna, a UH Mānoa PhD student in atmospheric science admitted not initially realizing the application of deep learning to climate science. McKenna, encouraged by her advisor, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science Christina Karamperidou, took the course and learned skills to help with the many projects she is involved in.

“Taking the course was definitely eye-opening and challenging,” McKenna said.

With enhanced focus on data science education and skills at the state and national levels, efforts from faculty such as Rubinoff, Sun and Lee to incorporate these skills give UH students an advantage when pursuing educational and career goals.

About the Hawaii Data Science Institute

UH’s Hawaii Data Science Institute offers a Data Science Fellows program training initiative that funds graduate assistants and undergraduate fellows to further their knowledge in the theory, techniques and applications of data science.

The Data Science Institute was awarded a $1 million National Science Foundation grant and will add computational resources to the cluster throughout the coming year with equipment arriving as early as March 2020.

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