PICS leadership:

David J. Srolovitz, Director

Dr. Srolovitz is the inaugural Joseph Bordogna Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics.

Dr. Srolovitz is a leading scholar in theoretical and computational materials science. He is particularly well known for his work on surface stability, grain growth and film growth.

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Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS)

Kickoff Symposium: Thursday, October 10, 2013, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Kickoff Symposium for the new Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS) will take place on Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Wu & Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall, with a reception to follow from 5:00-6:30 in the Singh Center for Nanotechnology.  The Symposium is chaired by Professor John L. Bassani and features four of the leaders of this field from around the country plus seven outstanding researchers from the Penn community, representing Biology, Materials Science, Linguistics, Genetics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Radiology, and Bioengineering. The program for this event is available for download here.

The formation of the Penn Institute for Computational Science derives from the observation that computing is an important tool for research in essentially every field of study today; from the physical and biological sciences to every part of engineering to linguistics to medicine to psychology.  In many disciplines, computation-based research already represents a major subfield, while in others it is in its infancy.  It represents a series of approaches that augment other types of tools - experiments, analysis, etc. There are similarities in approaches between computational research in disparate academic disciplines.  Not only are computational tools advancing rapidly but so too is computational hardware.  This rapidly changing landscape, while presenting immense opportunities, makes it a challenge for researchers to stay at the state-of-the-art.  This is natural since in most areas, computation is not the theme of the field but a tool, and computational researchers are seldom computer scientists/have a formal foundation in computer science.  The importance of computation in research is now widely recognized and research funding in this area is growing at a time when overall research funding is slowing.

PICS is formed to address these challenges and opportunities across the University of Pennsylvania by providing a forum for all Penn researchers 

  • to learn about computational research across campus, in different fields - seminar series, symposia
  • to hear from outstanding computational scientists from around the world - seminar series, symposia
  • to serve as a focal point and resource for multi-disciplinary grants with substantial computational components - administrative, computational
  • to provide focused "how to" computational technology training for researchers, such as workshops and bootcamps
  • to serve in an advisory capacity for departments, schools, and the university leadership in addressing research computing issues.

PICS's goal is to help computational science at Penn blossom, as it continues to expand into all aspects of academic inquiry.  

This symposium is PIC’s formal kickoff.  It is the culmination of a year of work by many members of the faculty from across Penn’s campus.  The Vice Provost for Research was an enthusiastic supporter of the PICS concepts and, on his recommendation, PICS was begun with the support of the School of Engineering and Applied Science - a series of fields where computational research has long been central.  Recently, the School of Arts & Sciences joined SEAS as partners in PICS.  We look forward to welcoming all of Penn's schools as partners.  Even now, PICS welcomes all members of the Penn community to participate in its activities.