UC-HiPACC 2011 Annual Report

In July 2011 UC-HiPACC organized an International AstroComputing School on Computational Explosive Astrophysics at UC Berkeley and LBNL.  In addition, UC-HiPACC provided partial support for the Galaxy Workshop at UCSC in August, and there were two funding cycles for small grants in support of computational astrophysics including collaborations between UC campuses and the affiliated DOE labs.  UC-HIPACC also helped provide content from astronomical simulations for the planetarium show "The Searcher," which was the opening show at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago's new Grainger Sky Theater, the most advanced planetarium dome in the world.  UC-HiPACC also supported an independent evaluation of this show.  In addition, UC-HiPACC has organized a number of events for 2012, and we are finishing completely revamping our website in order to appeal to the general public.

The 2011 UC-HIPACC International Summer School on Astro-Computing (ISSAC) took place at UC Berkeley and LBNL July 18-29.  It focused on modeling of core collapse and thermonuclear supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, neutron star mergers, and other energetic transients.  There were 15 lecturers and 28 student participants.  All travel and lodging was reimbursed, with the help of a $15,000 grant from the Department of Energy.  Supercomputing accounts were provided for all the lecturers and participants, with all relevant codes with sample inputs and outputs.  All of the lecture slides and videos of most of the lectures are posted at the HiPACC website.

Two Funding Cycles for proposals:

Summer 2011 funding cycle
Six proposals were funded, including one travel grant

Winter 2011 funding cycle
Six proposals were funded, including three travel grants, one matching equipment grant, and two grants for support of undergraduate summer research projects

UC-HiPACC provided about $4000 toward the annual UCSC Galaxy Workshop, August 8 through 12, which had attendees from many UC campuses. 

UC-HiPACC also provided simulation outputs on cosmology (from Joel Primack) and black holes (from Enrico Ramirez-Ruis) that were prominently featured in the opening show of the Adler Planetarium's new Grainger Sky Theater, with 20 advanced projectors creating an image in the dome 8000 pixels across.  We worked closely with the Adler scientific staff, with UC-HiPACC outreach and visualization coordinator Nina McCurdy connecting the computation and visualization team at NASA Ames Research Center with the Morrison and Adler Planetariums and with NCSA's visualization experts.  UC-HiPACC also supported UCSC Education graduate student Zoe Buck, advised by Prof. Doris Ash, to conduct pre- and post-show interviews with viewers at the Adler Planetarium.

In mid-2011 Trudy Bell became the first UC-HiPACC senior writer.  Her first projects were a press release on a Nature paper from UC Irvine based on simulations of the interaction of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy with the Milky Way, and then a press release on the Bolshoi cosmological simulation papers, both of which resulted in a lot of coverage.  She, Nina McCurdy, and Joel Primack have also completely redesigned the UC-HiPACC website http://hipacc.ucsc.edu/, which will includ a gallery of the best computational astrophysics images and videos.  We are also organizing an outreach campaign to the many astronomy clubs and organizations, and working on articles for popular magazines, including Sky & Telescope.

UC-HIPACC plans for 2012 include co-sponsoring with the UC Center for Galaxy Evolution a workshop at the Beckman Center, Irvine, on The Baryon Cycle, June 14-16; an Astronomy Journalism Boot Camp at UCSC in June; the 2012 UC-HiPACC summer school at UCSD July 9-20; the annual Galaxy Workshop at UCSC August 13-17; an international workshop on high-resolution galaxy simulations in September; and a mini-conference on AstroComputing and Art, tentatively in December 2012.

In July 9-27, 2012, the annual UC-HiPACC International AstroComputing Summer School will be on AstroInformatics and Astronomical Data Mining.  It will be held at UCSD and jointly sponsored with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).  The director will be Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University) and the host will be Michael Norman, director of SDSC.  Faculty and students will have accounts on the brand new Gordon supercomputer with 1/3 petabyte of FLASH memory, the most advanced data-centric supercomputer in the world.