Students at nine Ohio college and university campuses are linked together by the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science (RRSCS), a virtual school that is a collaborative effort of these institutions, Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Learning Network. In addition to Wittenberg's computational science minor established in 2003, the RRSCS virtual minor program provides Wittenberg students with an even broader range of computational science opportunities to blend with their on-campus experience.
"The Ralph Regula School is an excellent example of how advances in technology provide new educational experiences to Wittenberg students and develop even more opportunities for off-campus collaboration," said Eric Stahlberg, Wittenberg's director of computational science.
Wittenberg has been a forerunner in the area of undergraduate computational science for years and was one of the first in the nation to offer a formal program in it, inspired by the work of Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Jim Noyes. He was instrumental in the development of technological resources at Wittenberg in the 1990s, long before computational science was on most schools' educational radar.
The computational science program was made possible by the opening of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center, which was completed in 2003. It provides state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and laboratories, including a 64-bit WARP (Wittenberg Advanced Research Processors) cluster of computers. The compute nodes consist of 12 dual processor nodes and one quad processor node (28 compute processors in all). The cluster has been instrumental in student research and internships that have worked to solve challenging science problems in materials, chemistry, biology and other applied disciplines that cannot be easily solved on regular workstations.
Computational science is becoming increasingly recognized as a critical tool across many disciplines that combines the methodologies of computer science with the techniques of applied mathematics to model and solve problems in the natural and social sciences. Computational science has led to advances in technological innovation and scientific inquiry, enabling Wittenberg students to explore new materials for future batteries, study pediatric cancer, visualize complex systems and identify promising leads for new drugs through experiential educational opportunities.
"The necessity of future leaders to have experience and knowledge of applied computation is widely recognized," Stahlberg said. "Wittenberg, with its liberal arts foundation and incorporation of computational science, has established itself as a leader in preparing students to face the increasingly difficult challenges in a digital world."
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Robbie Gantt
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