Mar 26, 2010 2:23 PM by Melissa Canone
LAFAYETTE - A new consortium at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is taking a 3D look at new methods of academic research.
The Computation and Visualization Enterprise or CAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary team of 15 LITE Fellows from UL Lafayette. Their purpose is to inject the supercomputing and 3D visualization power of the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) into their academic research. The result will be the collaboration of researchers from disciplines across campus. Their work could ultimately speed up conventional research processes.
"This consortium is an extension of the partnership between LITE and the university," said Dr. Bradd Clark, dean of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences and LITE Commission chairman. "Assembling these multidisciplinary teams will help us more effectively handle modern science and engineering research."
CAVE teams will be using LITE's supercomputing and visualization technology along with the high-speed fiber optic capability of the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI). Dr. Azmy Ackleh, professor of mathematics at UL Lafayette, will serve as the consortium's director.
"This initiative definitely enhances the relationship between LITE and UL Lafayette," said Henry Florsheim, LITE CEO. "Having access to such a diverse group of experts will allow LITE to tap into client markets that we couldn't have tapped into on our own."
The Fellows come from areas including biology, civil and chemical engineering, English and physics.
"Most research problems are too difficult for one person to solve. With these teams and this computation power, we'll be better able to work on solutions," said Clark.
One current project is aiming to use glycerol in a more efficient, green way. Researchers from chemical engineering and biochemistry are working together to test and identify enzymes that will help convert glycerol into compounds for use in the chemical industry. Currently, glycerol is an abundant product with limited use.
A modified enzyme could use glycerol as a catalyst for chemical processes, helping to reduce waste and making chemical processes "cleaner."
Supercomputers are helping to narrow down the number of enzymes that could be modified.
"We are excited about being able to provide our faculty with the equipment it takes to conduct research - like with these enzymes - that requires difficult computations," said Clark.