Call for Participation in the Blue Waters Undergraduate Petascale Education Program
Preparation for petascale computing requires solid grounding in Computational Science and
Engineering (CSE), HPC and HPC-related curricula. As a community, we must address the engagement of a larger and more diverse workforce to
broaden participation and to ensure that CSE education keeps pace with the evolution of
science and technology. We will leverage faculty expertise to establish best practices,
identify and fill gaps, and modernize the CSE curriculum across all science, technology,
engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The NCSA Blue Waters petascale computing facility funded by NSF will support this effort by
providing 1% of the computing capacity of its computational infrastructure in direct support
of educational applications. The Blue Waters system will support sustained petaflop performance of scientific codes, and
thereby provide a unique educational learning experience for students across the nation.
Rationale and Audience
The Blue Waters undergraduate education emphasis is intended to prepare the next generation
of graduate students, the next generation of K-12 teachers, and an educated workforce. All
undergraduate institutions are encouraged to participate including 2- and 4-year colleges
and universities, minority serving institutions, EPSCoR institutions, women's colleges, and
institutions addressing special needs students.
Undergraduate Education Programs
To achieve these goals, the Blue Waters Undergraduate Petascale Education Program (UPEP) is
launching three programs for engaging the national community. The three programs are:
Professional Development Workshops for undergraduate faculty
Research Experiences for undergraduates
Materials Development by undergraduate faculty
Call for Undergraduate Materials Development
The goal of the materials development effort is to support undergraduate faculty in preparing
a diverse community of students for petascale computing. This program seeks compelling
examples in STEM fields, from desktop to petascale incorporating that address:
The materials development effort will be conducted in partnership with Computational Science
Education Reference Desk (CSERD), a Pathways portal of National Science Digital Library
(NSDL), and HPC University, to broadly disseminate the materials through these digital
libraries. All materials will be subject to a formal VVA review before being published. The
VVA review process includes:
Validation: is the right problem solved?
Verification: is the problem solved right?
Accreditation: is the problem aimed at the right education level?
Blue Waters will support the annual development of modules targeted for all STEM fields over
each of the next three years. It is expected that the development cycle for each module will
span about 18 months. The development process must include the development of materials for a
module, field testing of the materials in an undergraduate classroom, conducting a VVA review
of the materials, and then publishing the materials through the CSERD and HPC University
digital libraries. The Blue Waters team will provide support to the faculty throughout the
development process. In addition, access to petascale class computing systems will be made
available to the faculty and the classes in which the materials are field-tested. Faculty are
asked to submit a proposal outlining their plans. The faculty selected to participate will
receive a stipend of about $5,000 upon completion of the development process.
The materials that are developed must be based on the UCES, Keck/NSF model that includes:
Rubric for assessment
Who should participate in the Undergraduate Petascale Education Program?
Undergraduate faculty who would like to mentor an undergraduate student in a year-long
internship in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics that involves teaching or
researching the use of high-performance computing in studying problems in these fields.
Undergraduate students interested in participating in a year-long science or engineering
internship. Students must be enrolled as undergraduates through Spring 2012 at a U.S.
What is the Undergraduate Petascale Education Program?
Support is provided by the NSF-funded Blue Waters Project for sustained petascale computing to
support year-long undergraduate internship experiences involving the application of
high-performance computing to problems in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics. The
program provides a student stipend totaling $5000, a two-week intensive high-performance
computing workshop, and travel to the SC11 supercomputing conference in Seattle.
This program provides support for undergraduate internship activities at any accredited degree
granting institution in the United States. The internships awarded through this program may be
to students working with a faculty mentor on their home campus, or at another campus.
Interested faculty need to create a position description, and can specify a particular student
that the position is intended for, or may select a qualified applicant with Blue Waters
support through our program.
How can I promote the Undergraduate Petascale Education Program?
A PowerPoint slide is available to let students know about the program. In addition,
poster-sized and handout-sized flyers are available (in pdf format) to inform students and
colleagues about this program.
When is the Undergraduate Petascale Education Program?
Student applications and intern position descriptions from faculty must be submitted by April
10, 2011. Be sure to click the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the web form to be entered
into the UPEP system. Review and selection will be conducted in early April, with
notifications being made by April 15.
A two-week workshop will be held May 29 through June 10 at the National Center for
Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) facilities on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
campus. Interns are expected to work full-time over the Summer, and as their schedule allows
during the academic year. Work plans will need to be arranged by the student and faculty
mentor and approved by the Blue Waters Undergraduate Petascale Education Program.
How do I apply for the Undergraduate Petascale Education Program?
By clicking the button at the top or bottom of this page, faculty should create
descriptions of undergraduate internship positions they have available, indicating either
that the position is intended for a particular student applicant or that it is open to
By clicking the button at the top or bottom of this page, eligible undergraduate students
should submit an application for consideration. There is an area on the form where
students can identify a faculty member as a mentor. Students who have taken the initiative
to arrange an internship with a faculty mentor are more likely to be selected for this
program than students who have not.