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Dailey receives U-M Robotics’ first-ever alumni award 

By | General Interest, Happenings, News, Research, Uncategorized

Meghan Dailey will be presenting The Future of Machine Learning in Robotics on September 23 at 2 p.m., at FMCRB or Zoom

Meghan Dailey is the U-M Robotics department’s first Alumni Merit Award recipient!

Dailey is a member of the first-ever class in U-M Robotics. She earned a Masters of Science degree in 2015 with a focus in artificial intelligence. She is currently a machine learning specialist with Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of Information and Technology Service (ITS)

You’re invited 

In honor of the award, Dailey will be presenting “The Future of Machine Learning in Robotics” on Friday, September 23, 2 p.m., Ford Robotics Building (FMCRB) or on Zoom (meeting ID: 961 1618 4387, passcode: 643563). Machine learning is becoming widely prevalent in many different fields, including robotics. In a future where robots and humans assist each other in completing tasks, what is the role of machine learning, and how should it evolve to effectively serve both humans and robots? Dailey will discuss her past experiences in robotics and machine learning, and how she envisions machine learning contributing to the growth of the robotics field.

About Dailey

A member of the ARC Scientific Computing and Research Consulting Services team, Dailey helps researchers with machine learning and artificial intelligence programming. She has consulted with student and faculty teams to build neural networks for image analysis and classification. She also has extensive experience in natural language processing and has worked on many projects analyzing text sentiment and intent.

Image courtesy U-M Robotics

New Resource Management Portal feature for Armis2 HPC Clusters

By | Armis2, HPC, News

Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of Information and Technology Services (ITS), has been developing a self-service tool called the Resource Management Portal (RMP) to give researchers and their delegates the ability to directly manage the IT research services they consume from ARC. 

Customers who use the Armis2 High-Performance Computing Cluster now have the ability to view their account information via the RMP, including the account name, resource limits (CPUs and GPUs), and the user access list.

“We are proud to be able to offer this tool for customers who use the HIPAA-certified Armis2 cluster,” said Brock Palen, ARC director. 

The RMP is a self-service-only user portal with tools and APIs for research managers, unit support staff, and delegates to manage their ARC IT resources. The RMP team is slowly adding capabilities over time. 

To get started or find help, contact arc-support@umich.edu.

Preserving Michigan’s musical history and culture

By | Feature, News, Research

From Kentucky bluegrass to Louisiana Zydeco to German hurdy-gurdy to East European Klezmer to Indian Manipuri dancing to Native American pow wows, and much more, these musical traditions from around the country and around the world have found their way to Michigan. Beginning in 2014, the Musical Heritage Project has been documenting Michigan’s folk music history.

Lester Monts

Lester Monts Lester Monts specializes in ethnomusicology and has been documenting Michigan’s folk cultural heritage since 2014. (Image courtesy Lester Monts)

The project is led by ethnomusicologist Dr. Lester P. Monts, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Music, who began his musical journey as an orchestral trumpet player. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance and teaching trumpet at the college level before completing the doctoral degree in ethnomusicology and embarking on a research career. In the mid-1970s, Monts began to focus his research on music and culture in Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa. The fourteen-year Liberian civil war thwarted his fieldwork in that region.

Noting that there has been no systematic effort to collect and archive Michigan’s rich folk music heritage, the Michigan Musical Heritage Project was launched. Monts has embraced the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. He notes that “music brings people together; it has the power to create community, and we witnessed this occurring throughout our many journeys around the state.”

Using his charm, passion, likeability, and keen musical knowledge to cultivate trust with his interviewees, Monts captured more than 400 hours of audio and video data over the years, amassing a total of 80 terabytes of data. He believes this to be the most extensive collection of Michigan folk music in the state and that U-M is the right place to house this collection.

The Michigan Musical Heritage Project crew.

The Michigan Musical Heritage Project crew wraps up at the end of recording session. (Image courtesy Lester Monts)

With a videography crew consisting primarily of former U-M students, Monts traveled all around the state to record performances at folk music festivals and cultural gatherings, such as the Celtic Festival (Saline), Irish Folk Music Festival (Muskegon) Hispanic Heritage Festival (Hart), Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival (Marquette), Port Sanilac Blues Festival (Port Sanilac), Africa World Festival (Detroit), Aura Jamboree (Aura), Oldtime Fiddlers Convention and Traditional Music Festival (Hillsdale).

He says, “The creative talents of the state’s outstanding musicians must be preserved, not only for my research but for that of others as well. If properly preserved, I’m confident that in the future, the ethnomusicology program and the American Cultures department will find these data provide important insights into Michigan’s diverse musical heritage.”

How technology supports this project 

Monts’ crew includes a strong partnership with Tom Bray, converging technologies consultant and adjunct assistant professor of Art and Design, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. Bray has been instrumental in pairing the right technology for the long-term preservation of this collection, which includes converting older footage to digital media. 

Tom Bray

Tom Bray (image courtesy LSA)

Bray has collaborated with Monts to convert older technologies, such as VHS, 8mm, and high-8 video, to digital files. The files are both compressed and uncompressed and are very large and of high resolution.

All of this wonderful and important audio and video footage needs to be preserved somewhere. But where do you turn when you have 80 terabytes of data? Monts said, “I’ve been desperately searching for a way to archive the video data collected under the auspices of the Michigan Musical Heritage Project.” 

Enter the U-M Research Computing Package (UMRCP) and the team from Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of Information and Technology Services. The UMRCP offers researchers across all campuses several resources at no additional cost to researchers, including 100 terabytes of long-term storage.

Bray said, “I had to read the UMRCP email announcement twice because I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so excited that ITS and the university are supporting researchers in this way. We jumped on this opportunity right away.” 

ARC Director Brock Palen is excited about this work, too. “This is super interesting, and not like the usual types of research ARC normally sees, like climate and genomics. We’re happy to help Dr. Monts and Mr. Bray, and anyone who needs it, anytime. The archive is intentionally built for holding large-volume, raw data such as 4k video, and we are proud to be their go-to for this important cultural preservation project.” 

Old media in Dr. Monts' office

Hours and hours of media is being converted to a digital format. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

ARC replicates and encrypts in two secure locations that are miles apart, so those who use ARC services will not have to worry about crashes that they might experience if they are using their own equipment. The UMRCP also includes technical expertise by talented ARC staff to further remove barriers so researchers can do what they do best.

Monts and Bray also leverage the university’s network and WiFi services to transfer the files from their studio in the Duderstadt Center to storage. The network is designed to minimize bottlenecks so that data transfers quickly and efficiently. 

Dr. Monts said, “Although the pandemic temporarily disrupted my plans to complete the video documentary, I take solace in knowing that the many hours of data we collected is in a much safer environment than we had. The UMRCP storage resource is truly a boon!”

Related links

An old reel-to-reel tape player.

A reel-to-reel tape player. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

Lester Monts plays footage from a special women's only dance in Iberia.

Dr. Monts shows footage from a special women-only dance in Iberia. He earned permission to record this rarely-documented group of women. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

No-cost research computing allocations now available

By | HPC, News, Research, Systems and Services, Uncategorized

U-M Research Computing PackageResearchers on all university campuses can now sign up for the U-M Research Computing Package, a new package of no-cost supercomputing resources provided by Information and Technology Services.

As of Sept. 1, university researchers have access to a base allocation for 80,000 CPU hours of high-performance computing and research storage services at no cost. This includes 10 terabytes of high-speed and 100 terabytes of archival storage.

These base allocations will meet the needs of approximately 75 percent of current high-performance-computing users and 90 percent of current research storage users. Researchers must sign up on ITS’s Advanced Research Computing website to receive the allocation.

“With support from President (Mark) Schlissel and executive leadership, this initiative provides a unified set of resources, both on campus and in the cloud, that meet the needs of the rich diversity of disciplines. Our goal is to encourage the use, support and availability of high-performance computing resources for the entire research community,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

The computing package was developed to meet needs across a diversity of disciplines and to provide options for long-term data management, sharing and protecting sensitive data, and more competitive cost structures that give faculty and research teams more flexibility to procure resources on short notice.

“It is incredibly important that we provide our research community with the tools necessary so they can use their experience and expertise to solve problems and drive innovation,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine. “The no-cost supercomputing resources provided by ITS and Vice President Pendse will greatly benefit our university community and the countless individuals who are positively impacted by their research.”

Ph.D. students may qualify for their own UMRCP resources depending on who is overseeing their research and their adviser relationship. Students should consult with their Ph.D. program administrator to determine their eligibility. ITS will confirm this status when a UMRCP request is submitted.

Undergraduate and master’s students do not currently qualify for their own UMRCP, but they can be added as users or administrators of another person’s UMRCP. Students can also access other ITS programs such as Great Lakes for Course Accounts, and Student Teams.

“If you’re a researcher at Michigan, these resources are available to you without financial impact. We’re going to make sure you have what you need to do your research. We’re investing in you as a researcher because you are what makes Michigan Research successful,” Brock Palen, Advanced Research Computing director.

Services that are needed beyond the base allocation provided by the UMRCP are available at reduced rates and are automatically available for all researchers on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and Michigan Medicine campuses.

More Information

Access the sensitive data HPC cluster via web browser

By | Armis2, HPC, News

Researchers, data scientists, and students can now more easily analyze sensitive data on the Armis2 High-Performance Computing (HPC) Cluster. No Linux knowledge required, just a web browser, an account, and a login. 

This is made possible by a web interface called Open OnDemand, and is provided by Advanced Research Computing (ARC). 

“It is now much easier to analyze sensitive data, without investing hours in training. This makes the Open OnDemand tool more accessible and user-friendly. I’m excited to see the research breakthroughs that happen now that a significant barrier has been removed,” said Matt Britt, ARC HPC manager. 

Open OnDemand offers easy file management, command-line access to the Armis2 HPC cluster, job management and monitoring, and graphical desktop environments and desktop interactive applications such as RStudio, MATLAB, and Jupyter Notebook.

Resource: Getting started (Web-based Open OnDemand) – section 1.2. For assistance or questions, please contact ARC at arc-support@umich.edu.

ARC is a division of Information and Technology Services (ITS).

HPC, storage now more accessible for researchers

By | HPC, News, Systems and Services

U-M Research Computing Package decorative image

Information and Technology Services has launched a new package of supercomputing resources for researchers and PhD students on all U-M campuses: the U-M Research Computing Package, provided by ITS.

The U-M Research Computing Package will reduce the current rates for high performance computing and research storage services provided by ITS by an estimated 35-40 percent, effective July 1. 

In addition, beginning Sept. 1, university researchers will have access to a base allocation for high-performance computing and research storage services (including high-speed and archival storage) at no cost, thanks to an additional investment from ITS. These base allocations will meet the needs of approximately 75 percent of current high-performance computing users and 90 percent of current research storage users.

Learn more about the U-M Research Computing Package

 

RMP new feature alert: View Great Lakes HPC account information

By | General Interest, HPC, News, Systems and Services

Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of ITS, has been developing a self-service tool called the Resource Management Portal (RMP) to give researchers and their delegates the ability to directly manage the IT research services they consume from ARC. 

Customers who use the Great Lakes High-Performance Computing Clusters now have the ability to view their account information via the RMP, including the account name, resource limits (CPUs and GPUs), scratch space usage, and the user access list.

“We are excited to be able to offer this tool for customers. It should make their busy lives easier,” said Todd Raeker, ARC research experience manager. 

The RMP is a self-service-only user portal with tools and APIs for research managers, unit support staff, and delegates to manage their ARC IT resources. The RMP team is slowly adding capabilities over time. 

To get started or find help, contact arc-support@umich.edu.

Using tweets to understand climate change sentiment

By | HPC, News, Research, Systems and Services

A team from Urban Sustainability Research Group of the School for Environment and Sustainability (UM-SEAS) has been studying public tweets to understand climate change and global warming attitudes in the U.S. 

Dimitris Gounaridis, is a fellow with the study. The team is mentored by Joshua Newell, and combines work about perceptions on climate change by Jianxun Yang and proprietary level vulnerability assessment by Wanja Waweru

“This research is timely and urgent. It helps us identify hazards, and elevated risks of flooding and heat, for socially vulnerable communities across the U.S. This risk is exacerbated especially for populations that do not believe climate change is happening,” Dimitris stated. 

The research team used a deep learning algorithm that is able to recognize text and predict whether the person tweeting believes in climate change or not. The algorithm analyzed a total of 7 million public tweets from a combination of datasets from a dataset called the U-M Twitter Decahose and the George Washington University Libraries Dataverse. This dataset consists of an historical archive of Decahose tweets and an ongoing collection from the Decahose. The current deep learning model has an 85% accuracy rate and is validated at multiple levels.

The map below shows the prediction of specific users that believe or are skeptical of climate change and global warming. Dimitris used geospatial modeling techniques to identify clusters of American skepticism and belief to create the map.

A map of the United States with blue and red dots indicating climate change acceptance.

(Image courtesy Dimitris Gounaridis.)

The tweet stream is sampled in real-time. Armand Burks, a research data scientist with ARC, wrote the Python code that is responsible for continuously collecting the data and storing it in Turbo Research Storage. He says that many researchers across the university are using this data for various research projects as well as classes. 

“We are seeing an increased demand for shared community data sets like the Decahose. ARC’s platforms like Turbo, ThunderX, and Great Lakes, hold and process that data, and our data scientists are available, in partnership with CSCAR, to assist in deriving meaning from such large data. 

“This is proving to be an effective way to combine compute services, methodology, and campus research mission leaders to make an impact quickly,” said Brock Palen, director of ARC.

In the future, Dimitris plans to refine the model to increase its accuracy, and then combine that with climate change vulnerability for flooding and heat stress.

“MIDAS is pleased that so many U-M faculty members are interested in using the Twitter Decahose. We currently have over 40 projects with faculty in the Schools of Information, Kinesiology, Social Work, and Public Health, as well as at Michigan Ross, the Ford School, LSA and more,” said H.V. Jagadish, MIDAS director and professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The Twitter Decahose is co-managed and supported by MIDAS, CSCAR, and ARC, and is available to all researchers without any additional charge. For questions about the Decahose, email Kristin Burgard, MIDAS outreach and partnership manager.

Global research uses computing services to advance parenting and child development

By | General Interest, Great Lakes, HPC, News, Research, Uncategorized

Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, professor of Social Work, has spent the past 15 years studying the impact of physical discipline on children within the United States. 

Working with a team of other researchers at the School of Social Work, co-led by professors Shawna Lee and Julie Ma, he recently expanded his research to include children from all over the world, rather than exclusively the U.S. Current data for 62 low- and middle-income countries has been provided by UNICEF, a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. This data provides a unique opportunity to study the positive things that parents do around the world.

a group of smiling children

(Image by Eduardo Davad from Pixabay)

“We want to push research on parenting and child development in new directions. We want to do globally-based, diversity-based work, and we can’t do that without ARC services,” said Grogan-Kaylor. “I needed a bigger ‘hammer’ than my laptop provided.” 

The “hammer” he’s referring to is the Great Lakes HPC cluster. It can handle processing the large data set easily. When Grogan-Kaylor first heard about ARC, he thought it sounded like an interesting way to grow his science, and that included the ability to run more complicated statistical models that were overwhelming his laptop and department desktop computers. 

He took a workshop led by Bennet Fauber, ARC senior applications programmer/analyst, and found Bennet to be sensible and friendly. Bennet made HPC resources feel within reach to a newcomer. Typically, Grogan-Kaylor says, this type of resource is akin to learning a new language, and he’s found that being determined and persistent and finding the right people are key to maximizing ARC services. Bennet has explained error messages, how to upload data, and how to schedule jobs on Great Lakes. He also found a friendly and important resource at the ARC Help Desk, which is staffed by James Cannon. Lastly, departmental IT director Ryan Bankston has been of enormous help in learning about the cluster.

“We’re here to help researchers do what they do best. We can handle the technology, so they can solve the world’s problems,” said Brock Palen, ARC director. 

“Working with ARC has been a positive, growthful experience, and has helped me contribute significantly to the discussion around child development and physical punishment,” said Grogan-Kaylor. “I have a vision of where I’d like our research to go, and I’m pleased to have found friendly, dedicated people to help me with the pragmatic details.” 

More information

RMP new feature alert: Manage Turbo users on-demand

By | General Interest, News, Systems and Services

Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of ITS, has been developing a self-service tool called the Resource Management Portal (RMP) to give researchers and their delegates the ability to directly manage the IT research services they consume from ARC. 

Turbo Research Storage customers now have the option to directly manage their own approved users. 

“Previously, customers would have to submit a ticket and then wait for several days to get a resolution to their request. Now it takes just seconds,” said Todd Raeker, ARC research experience manager. 

The RMP is a self-service-only user portal with tools and APIs for research managers, unit support staff, and delegates to manage their ARC IT resources. The RMP team is slowly adding capabilities over time. 

To get started or find help, contact arc-support@umich.edu