XSEDE Science Successes

XSEDE  helps researcher read echoes

A recent story from Science highlights echoes you may never have heard or known existed.

"Mysterious radar echoes in the sky explained?" (ScienceMag.org)

A research team, led by space physicist Meers Oppenheim from Boston University, used XSEDE resources Stampede—one of the fastest supercomputers in the world housed at Texas Advanced Computing Center—and Extended Collaborative Support Service (ECSS), a help service within XSEDE that partners researchers with computational science experts for periods of time extending from a few months to a year.

Oppenheim's research discovered that "radar echoes" appear at an altitude of about 150 kilometers, and fall to about 20 km during the day, before going back up again. Oppenheim's group says ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun hits different layers of the earth's atmosphere in various ways throughout the day, causing these "echoes."

"XSEDE provides good computational resources for researchers. I was able to access sufficient computer time relatively easily," said Oppenheim. "We could not have done this research without supercomputer support and help services from XSEDE. The underlying mechanism of our hypothesis for what causes 150 km echoes is complex enough that, without a supercomputer simulation, we could not have made a compelling case for it."

Specifically, Oppenheim pointed at ECSS:

"ECSS folks helped speed up our calculations a small, but non-trivial, amount.  The main thing ECSS helped with is improving the code output to enable it to output in a more efficient and compressed form using HDF.  This is essential to moving to larger simulations."

"I have recommended it as a good source of supercomputing resources.  The facilities are well managed and relatively easy to use," said Oppenheim. "Generally, XSEDE and it's personnel have been terrifically helpful."