NOAA funding will help RENCI continue development of surge forecasting system


CHAPEL HILL, NC – The state of North Carolina is the third most susceptible to hurricane and tropical storm damage, with only Florida and Louisiana taking more hits from hurricanes in the history of weather tracking. In recent years, RENCI has contributed to the never-ending task of protecting the North Carolina coastline from potential damage by developing cyberinfrastructure and software to construct models of wave surge from large-scale storms. Read more

UNC partners with NIH to explore genomic testing for newborns

UNC School of Medicine project will use RENCI-developed analytics framework.

genetic-testing-3-e1378748744380CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – As the clinical use of genomic testing expands, the practical and ethical considerations of using the technology to screen newborns for genetic conditions will be the focus of a new study undertaken at the University of North Carolina.

Researchers at UNC plan to sequence the entire genome of 400 infants to determine what useful clinical data can be acquired through the tests. In conjunction with the testing, the UNC team has partnered with Research Triangle Park-based RTI International to develop educational and consent tools to determine how best to educate parents and physicians about the test and its results.

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RENCI helps visualize National Geographic feature story on rising seas

To create an interactive image to demonstrate the effects of major tropical storms and storm surge in the future, National Geographic magazine turned to RENCI for assistance. Senior Research Scientist Brian Blanton helped the magazine staff interpret data they received from NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers on what Manhattan would look like if a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy hit in 100 years, when sea level could be as much five feet higher than it is now. The info graphic, which appeared online and in a center spread in the print magazine, uses data from the Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) modeling program, which was developed by the National Weather Service to estimate surge heights.

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RENCI helps youth of today build technology of tomorrow

9460879746_83a366f2e9_zFuel emissions from motors in cars, motorcycles, even lawnmowers and chainsaws, are one of the greatest contributors to climate change. Using the technology and expert assistance of UNC’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), a research institution that develops advanced technologies to enable research and innovation, Rishi Rajagopalan, is trying to tackle this environmental problem.

As a project for his academic independent study last spring, Rajagopalan, a rising senior at Jordan High School in Durham, designed a compressed air engine that requires only pressurized air to turn the crankshaft that allows it to run. The two-cylinder engine could be used to power dirt bikes, lawn mowers, and other small, motorized devices, and Rajagopalan said a larger model could eventually be built to power automobiles. Read more

UNC, RENCI tool provides innovative ways to share humanities data


Screen shot of the DH Press project “Mapping the Long Women’s Movement.” Each dot represents a short audio clip; the color of the dots show what the clip is about and their placement on the map indicate where the event occurred.

CHAPEL HILL, August 13, 2013 – A new software tool developed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) in collaboration with RENCI (UNC’s Renaissance Computing Institute) helps researchers, teachers, and community groups document history and community projects with an easy-to-use tool that builds interactive websites.

The Digital Humanities Toolkit, or DH Press, is built on the open source WordPress platform. Users can combine and visualize a variety of digitized humanities-related material to create a range of digital projects, from virtual walking tours and interactive exhibits, to classroom teaching tools and community repositories. The content can be easily organized and managed, as well as migrated in and out of the system to other DH Press projects or to other databases. This makes the toolkit ideal for presenting and sharing humanities-related data.

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A techie marathon: RENCI hosts “Hackathon” to improve water science software

Chapel Hill, NC- Serious brain muscles were flexed at the software developers’ version of the Olympics—a  “hackathon,” held at RENCI Europa Center, to work towards a collaborative goal of improving water modeling software important for future water scientists and researchers.

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ESIP Federation meeting highlights data practices related to disaster management

July 16, 2013 —The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) met in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to advance the work of its data practitioner community. Hosted by RENCI, the meeting focused on bringing together communities to improve Earth science data management practices and coordinate efforts to make data more discoverable, accessible and useful to many. Read more

US Ignite recognizes RENCI and NC State for innovative app for monitoring power grids

CHAPEL HILL, NC, July 9, 2013 – Researchers at RENCI and North Carolina State University took home an award at the recent US Ignite Application Summit for demonstrating a prototype next-generation Internet application that monitors large power systems over a wide-area, high-performance communication network.
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IDC recognizes RENCI with two HPC Innovation Excellence Awards

An ASGS hindcast of water inundation resulting from Hurricane Sandy, with reds showing the highest surge and inundation levels. A hindcast uses actual storm data to compare numerical models to actual storm data and thereby measure the accuracy of the models. For Hurricane Sandy, ASGS models were as accurate or better than those used by the National Weather Service.

CHAPEL HILL, NC, June 20, 2013 – International Data Corporation (IDC) presented the 2013 HPC Innovation Excellence Awards last week at the ISC’13 supercomputing conference in Leipzig, Germany.  Of the 11 awards presented, two were won by RENCI, the Renaissance Computing Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill.

NCGENES and the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System, both projects that depend on RENCI-developed technologies and computing resources, were among the projects recognized for using high performance computing to impact research, business and society.

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First open source release of E-iRODS announced by RENCI

RENCI announced this week the release of E-iRODS 3.0, the first open source release of E-iRODS software to be managed and overseen by the iRODS Consortium, an alliance of organizations working together to fund and guide the continued development of the iRODS/E-iRODS platform.

iRODS—or integrated Rule-Oriented Data System—was developed by the Data Intensive Cyber Environments Group at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of California at San Diego. It is a popular data grid infrastructure that allows data to be viewed, shared and managed as a single collection with support for metadata. E-iRODS is a branch of the iRODS platform designed to be as stable, robust and supported as commercial software. RENCI leads the development of E-iRODS. Read more