Centre College professors mentor students during summer research

Posted by Centre News in Computer Science, News, Physics, Research 04 Apr 2017

summer researchWith the help of two Centre College professors, three students will be living out the Centre Commitment as they participate in an eight-week summer research experience on campus.

Assistant Professor of Physics Bruce Rodenborn and Associate Professor of Computer Science David Toth are recipients of the Kentucky NSF EPSCoR grant that provides funding for faculty-mentored research for underrepresented undergraduates in STEM fields.

Rodenborn will be mentoring and assisting junior Vrinda Desai and first-year Madi Bates with their original scientific research.

“The subject is internal waves, which is a unique type of wave found in the ocean,” Rodenborn said. “In the ocean, these waves are generated from tidal motion over topography and may be an important part of the global ocean circulation patterns that we observe.”

During their research, the students will construct a wave tank and use a specifically designed wave maker to generate internal waves, he explained.

“The goal of this research is to provide experimental validation of results I have found using numerical simulations,” he continued. “However, numerical simulations must always be verified against experiments.”

Students will conduct the research in Rodenborn’s research lab, which is part of the Multi-Scale Fluid Dynamics project in his lab this summer with Professor of Physics Philip Lockett conducting two additional fluid dynamic projects.

“The EPSCoR funding will add a new and exciting component to the Multi-Scale Fluid Dynamics Program, and I hope it will lead to publishable results,” Rodenborn said.

In addition to Rodenborn’s research study, Toth will be assisting sophomore Yin Song with a project titled “Comparing the Speed and Energy Consumption of the Computational Chemistry Software GAMESS Using ARM-Based CPUs.”

Toth explained how there are two primary types of processors, ARM and AMD. ARM processors are used in tablets and phones, while Intel and AMD x64 processors are used in laptops and desktops. ARM processors cost less and use less energy, he said.

During their research, Toth said, “we are exploring the idea that if one spends an equal amount of money on systems using ARM processors and systems using x64 processors, the ones using ARM processors may be able to do the same amount of work in the same amount of time while consuming less electricity.”

To conduct this research, he said they will use the computable chemistry software GAMESS.

This project is a continuation of the work performed by other students during the summer and academic year, and it is a collaboration with Dr. Ehren Bucholz of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

“I really enjoy working with students on research,” Toth said. “It gives them an opportunity to gain some practical experience and to see what’s involved in research.  I also love having the chance to get to know students better and help them discover what they want to do for a career.”

by Kerry Steinhofer
April 4, 2017