|by Susan Brown
Researcher Eva Marie Nosal used one of the first Engagement Grants awarded by UH to launch her research study on the movement of humpback whales by tracking their singing. In academic year 2004-05 the first Engagement Grant awards were offered to students who were new to the concept of High Performance Computing (HPC) or who had not used the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC) previously, and needed a start, or a leg up. While the Grant program received many excellent applications, funding was limited. Ms. Nosal's proposal however was intriguing, in that it proposed to apply a complex algorithm to analyze data from whale singing to track their movement. Using this form of tracking to measure migration could replace the more traditional visual and tagging techniques, which may be costly, invasive, and limited to favorable environmental considerations (such as sunlight and calm seas). Nosal's data collection method incorporated the use of hydrophones towed by a boat, mounted on the ocean floor, or suspended from buoys near the surface to listen to the whale singing.
|Eva Marie Nosal receives her Engagement Grant award from Director of High Performance Computing Outreach, Dr. Susan Brown, along with other grant awardees.
Under the grant she developed algorithms on a desktop PC, ported them to the powerful SQUALL machine at MHPCC, and tested them on simulated data. She is currently collecting data on singing whales in Hawaiian waters to use with the system.
Eva Marie presented her paper on this work at the Oceans 2005 conference in Brest, France, where she won the Best Student Poster Competition. Each year, the winning paper is published in the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Newsletter. See the paper in the Winter 2006 edition, "Pair-wise Processing of Spectrograms for Localization of Multiple Broadband CW Sources", co-authored with her advisor, Dr. L. Neil Frazer.
So what did her work with the Engagement Grant lead her on to? She is currently funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on a Graduate Traineeship Award in Ocean Acoustics. This grant will extend until December 2008 and includes three years full funding for her Ph.D. research, during which she plans to do more computations on SQUALL.
Read about the work Nosal conducted using her grant award. To learn more about qualifying for an Engagement Grant, internship, and other opportunities in HPC go to: www.hawaii.edu/hpc