Department News

Dec 23, 2020 - Kellen Lawson awarded Sigma Xi GIAR

Graduate student Kellen Lawson won an external grant from Sigma Xi's Grant in Aid of Research program, that will allow him to purchase a GPU for his dissertation work.  A brief summary of Kellen's proposal:
The light from circumstellar disks (disks of dust and gas around stars from which planets are thought to form) is normally buried beneath the intense light of the parent star. Removing this starlight requires the computationally expensive comparison and manipulation of large sets of images. Tuning of the parameters that govern this process can substantially improve results but is often prohibitively time consuming using traditional CPUs. Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), however, have been shown to speed comparable calculations by factors of 20–200.  By leveraging modern GPU operations, parameter optimization for direct imaging can be fully realized — maximizing the results of state-of-the-art direct imaging facilities and enabling otherwise unlikely detections.

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