NSF-MRI: Acquisition of a Small Computing Cluster for Geophysical Research

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

This award supports acquisition of a 24-node computing cluster system. The system will be housed in the Coastal Carolina University (CCU) Coastal Science Center and managed jointly by CCU's Information and Technology Services (ITS) and the Physics and Marine Science departments. The primary purpose of the cluster is to further studies in geophysical processes. The cluster will also be made available to the full CCU community to benefit students, post-docs and faculty who are conducting research with emphasis on computation.

Intellectual Merit: The primary task of the cluster system is to advance two research projects in geophysics. The first project requires the cluster to operate the Advanced Regional Prediction System [ARPS] to simulate wintertime atmospheric disturbances that can influence the polar circulation and the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. Results from this project will enhance understanding of the variability of the polar atmosphere and polar stratospheric ozone loss and recovery. The second project uses the cluster to run the Regional Ocean Modeling System [ROMS] to simulate geological, physical, and biological impacts on the timing and location of low-oxygen water columns (hypoxic areas) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Results from this project help to quantitatively define the dispersal pattern of sediment and organic matter and key oceanographic processes influencing development of the low-oxygen regions.

Broader Impacts: The projects offer undergraduates a unique exposure to hands-on, cutting-edge research that may not otherwise be available at similar state-supported Liberal Arts institutions. Participating student researchers will be involved in building and maintaining the cluster, conducting computer modeling experiments, analyzing model output, and presenting/writing research results. Additionally, results of the projects and cluster usage will be incorporated into courses like Fluid Dynamics and Atmospheric Physics emphasized in CCU's new Applied Physics curriculum and new courses like Sedimentary Geology and Coastal Marine and Wetland Processes in Marine Science. The integration of research and education related to the cluster will strengthen CCU's institutional commitment toward enhancing undergraduate education through inquiry-based learning. Capabilities of the new cluster will be made available to all CCU faculty members and their students across multiple disciplines. Present research activities in Archaeology, Art History, Astrophysics, Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences will immediately benefit from the new cluster. The new cluster will also support a new CCU Post-Doctoral Fellowship program supported by local businesses to promote research in South Carolina.


Whetstone, B., V. Limpasuvan, D. B. Larkins, 2014: GPU Acceleration of the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS), Proceedings to the 52nd Association for Computing Machinery Southeast, Kennesaw, GA. 
Limpasuvan, V., J. H. Richter, Y. J. Orsolini, F. Stordal, and O.-K. Kvissel, 2012: The roles of planetary and gravity waves during a major  stratospheric sudden warming as characterized by WACCM, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 78-79, p. 84-98, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2011.03.004.
Kvissel, O.-K., Y. J. Orsolini, F. Stordal, V. Limpasuvan, J. H. Richter, and D. R. Marsh, 2012: Mesospheric intrusion and anomalous chemistry  during and after a major stratospheric sudden warming, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 78-79, p. 116-124, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2011.08.015.