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A group of experts—including Director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS) Robert Harrison—gathered at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to speak with interested students, faculty, and staff about professional and educational opportunities in computational science and engineering. At the meeting, JICS members noted their interest in expanding the university’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science (IGMCS) program.

Currently, IGMCS is available as a minor, but there is a push to develop the program into a major area of study.

“JICS is actively engaged in all aspects of education in computation, and we are very enthusiastic about the growth of the IGMCS program and its advancement into a full curriculum,” Harrison said.

Harrison, also a professor of chemistry, discussed the partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and UT Knoxville that established JICS more than twenty years ago—a partnership that continues to bring together internationally recognized computational research and faculty members in fields such as physics, materials science, mathematics, and molecular biology.

Jack Dongarra, University Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and a founding member of JICS, explained the importance of computational research.

“Computational science enables us to investigate phenomena where economics or other constraints preclude experimentation, to evaluate complex models and manage massive data volumes, and to transform business and engineering practices,” he said.

Graduate students majoring in applied math, a computer-related field, or a domain science can apply to pursue a minor in computer science. Fifteen departments within the university are a part of the IGMCS program. A student studying in a department outside the fifteen IGMCS participating departments can still apply for the minor after consulting with Dongarra. IGMCS students have worked with organizations like MathWorks, Google, and Nvidia to fulfill internship requirements.

The main facility managed by JICS is NICS, the National Institute for Computational Sciences, which facilitates 65 percent of all computational work done under funding from the National Science Foundation. Housed at ORNL, NICS enables research through three computers: Nautilus, a shared-memory machine for visualization and data analysis; Keeneland, a GPU-based hybrid machine jointly managed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, NICS, and ORNL; and Kraken, the world’s first academic supercomputer capable of one quadrillion calculations per second.

More details about the event can be found at

Information about IGMCS can be found at

A JICS/IGMCS seminar series will run this fall on most Thursdays at 2 p.m. in room 233 of the Claxton building. For more information on the seminar series, visit