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Oklahoma State University
High Performance Computing Center

A unit in the Division of the Vice President for Research

OSU HPCC attends Women in Science conference

The 19th annual Okahoma EPSCoR Women in Science Conference was held Tuesday, October 11 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa (7777 S. Lewis Ave.). The goal of the Women in Science Conference is to show students in grades 6-12 that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are exciting, attainable and rewarding. More than 1,000 teachers and students from 80 schools across Oklahoma attended the event.


The free, one-day event immersed students in numerous hands-on science activities, helped them discover pathways to STEM careers, and gave them opportunities to interact with college and university representatives from dozens of Oklahoma institutions.

The OneOklahoma Cyberinfrastructure Initiative (OneOCII), a collaboration of Oklahoma institutions and organizations for advanced digital services and resources, was one of many institutions that hosted a table at the event. OneOCII members Dana Brunson and Jamie Hadwin from the OSU High Performance Computing Center, and George Louthan, director of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute's Tandy Supercomputing Center, operated the OneOCII table and demonstrated a "mini-supercomputer" OSU HPCC staff had built last summer using eight Raspberry Pi boards and some creativity with orange and black legos for its case.

OSU HPCC program coordinator Jamie Hadwin gives a demo of a fluid dynamics simulation program being run by the "mini-supercomputer" Raspberry Pi cluster

Courtesy of Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR

The OneOCII table used an eight-board cluster, made with Raspberry Pis, to run a fluid dynamics simulation created by the Tiny Titan project through Oak Ridge National Laboratory to demonstrate the basic concepts of parallel computing. Students could interact with the program using an Xbox controller to move a ball through a simulated fluid and to change properties of the fluid such as gravity, density, etc. As the properties changed, the Pi boards would work together in parallel to display how the ball would interact with the fluid and its new properties. Students could also control how many boards (and processors) worked on the simulation, which also changed how the simulation ran.

OSU HPCC Director Dana Brunson opens a new program for a group of curious students.

OSU HPCC Director Dana Brunson shows a group of students the Galaxsee simulator program also installed on the Raspberry Pi cluster.

During an interactive morning panel session that included OSU HPCC director Dana Brunson, students learned firsthand about the many science-related professions available to them. Women in fields such as computer science, climatology, engineering, chemistry, zoology and medicine spoke to students about their respective careers. They answered questions like:

  • What do you really do every day, and what is the best part of your job?
  • Can an average math student be successful in your field?
  • What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were 13?
  • Does it really matter if I take that science class?

OSU HPCC director Dana Brunson is shown on the big screen as she participates on the WIS conference panel

Courtesy of Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR

OneOCII members Dana Brunson, Jamie Hadwin and George Louthan have fun at one of the WIS conference photo booths.

Courtesy of Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR



View the full 2016 Women in Science conference Flickr album