Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

News & Events

Spotlight on 2019 Research Computing Days

Research Computing and the Inclusive Computing Initiative Committee co-hosted the 2019 Research Computing Days (RC Days) February 11 and 12 to celebrate the impact of data science, scientific programming, and computing skills to education, research, and the 21st century workforce. Sponsored by the Office of Information Technology and the Division of Research and Economic Development, RC Days gathered 120+ students, faculty, professional staff, and community members from a range of domains and career stages.

2019 saw a 20% growth in attendance over 2018, with more than 20 Boise State departments represented, and attendees from industry, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho State University, University of Idaho, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, the Boise VA Medical Center, and the Oregon Institute of Technology,

Faculty and student volunteers presented hands-on Software Carpentry coding workshops to introduce the basics for grappling with data. Workshops included Unix shell, version control with Git, and programming languages in R and Python. In addition to Software Carpentry workshops and hands-on cluster labs, new to the 2019 program was an industry panel, with guests from NVIDIA, Micron, HP, Idaho Power, and INL; cloud computing tutorials presented by Amazon Web Services (if you missed it, check out the presentation here); and a poster competition.

Congratulations to Research Computing Days poster winners:

First Place: Evan Miller, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, “Accelerated Prediction of Self-Assembly and Charge Transport in Organic Solar Cells”

Second Place: Matt Clark, Human Environment Systems, College of Innovation and Design, “Bringing Forecasting into the Future: Using Google to Predict Visitation in U.S. National Parks”

Third Place: Garrett Tisdale, Department of Physics, “Analysis of Transcriptional Bursting Data via Unsupervised Clustering Reveals Gene Specific Heterogeneity”

Overwhelmingly attendees wanted more and longer workshops, with even more advanced offerings next year, and said to definitely keep computing labs, industry panel, and guest speakers. In the words of attendees:

  • Definitely keep Software Carpentry…I would send my postdocs, techs, and students every year.”
  • “Great examples and explanation. Good balance between work and explanation.”
  • Excellent demos complete with ‘breaking’ the code to show limitations.”
  • “Super clear and beginner friendly!”

Thank you to our sponsors, presenters, and volunteer workshop facilitators. Please contact Mendi Edgar in OIT Research Computing at with questions about Researching Computing Days.

Mark your calendars for next year’s event, February 11 and 12, 2020!

Stop by for Office Hours – 10/31 and 11/1

""Research Computing will hold regular main campus office hours the last Wednesday/Thursday of every month from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Research Computing staff are on hand to answer questions and troubleshoot problems. Consults are open to all – from undergrad to faculty and beyond!!

  • Dates: 10/31 & 11/1
  • Time: 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
  • Where: 1114 S Manitou Ave (click here for map — we’re the mod on the left if you’re standing on Manitou)

Can’t make office hours? Email us to make an appointment–we are here to help!

Questions? Email

CLUSTER Community: Nancy Wilkins-Diehr from NSF’s XSEDE & San Diego Supercomputing Center – Dec. 6


Boise State’s Research Community Invited to Learn about FREE XSEDE Expert Resources for Using HPC and Developing Science Gateways.


When: Wednesday, December 6
Where: Bishop Barnwell, Student Union Building
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Pizza? Yes!

Tell your friends (and your friends’ friends)!

More About the Talk

Expect to Learn About:

Extended Collaborative Support Service program (ECSS), FREE expert help with optimizing use of XSEDE resources (funded by the National Science Foundation), including:

  • Performance analysis
  • Visualization
  • Workflows
  • Data analytics
  • Efficient use of accelerators
  • I/O optimization
  • Petascale optimization

Science Gateways Community Institute: Science gateways allow science & engineering communities to access shared data, software, computing services, instruments, educational materials, and other resources specific to their disciplines. These FREE services include:

  • Bootcamps
  • Extender developer support
  • Scientific Software Collaborative
  • Community Engagement & Exchange
  • Workforce Development – internships, workshops, young professionals network, mentoring, financial support, learning about gateway related career paths

Bio: Nancy directs the NSF-funded Science Gateways Community Institute and is a co-principal investigator on the NSF XSEDE award where she co-directs the Extended Collaborative Support program. She has been with the San Diego Supercomputer Center since 1993 and has held a variety of management positions there. Prior to that she held engineering positions with General Atomics and General Dynamics in San Diego. Nancy received her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College in Mathematics and Philosophy and her Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University.

CLUSTER Community: Hands-On Coding Workshop – Nov. 1


Boise State’s Research Community Invited to a Hands-On Coding Workshop to Learn How to use Snakemake to Automate Data Analysis Pipelines

When: Wednesday, November 1
Where: Bergquist Lounge, Student Union Building
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Pizza? Yes!

Tell your friends (and your friends’ friends)!

More About the Talk

Description: Many areas of natural and social science, as well as engineering, require data analysis that involves a series of transformations: filtering, aggregating, comparing to theoretical models, culminating in the visualization and communication of results. Because this process is rarely static, components of the analysis pipeline are subject to replacement and refinement, which makes reproducing computational results challenging. Legacy tools like GNU Make are useful for describing analyses as a directed network of transformations and prerequisites. Snakemake is a next-generation tool based on this concept and designed specifically for bioinformatics and other complex, computationally challenging analyses. This presentation will introduce a simple analysis, implement it in Snakemake, and discuss additional best practices for reproducible research.

NOTE: Some prior experience with the command line is assumed, and attendees are encouraged to follow along on their own computers.

About Byron Smith: Byron is a senior graduate student in the lab of Dr. Thomas Schmidt at the University of Michigan. He will be completing his PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology during the summer of 2018. Byron attended a Software Carpentry workshop first as a learner, then as a teaching assistant, and was trained as an instructor in 2015. Since then, he has supported best practices for computation and analysis in the sciences by teaching workshops and contributing to lesson materials. Byron develops and uses bioinformatic tools and statistical models to integrate diverse data towards understanding complex microbial communities. His PhD research focuses on the ecology of starch fermentation by microbial communities in the gut.

CLUSTER Community: Dr. Aaron Halfaker from Wikimedia Foundation – Oct. 18


Join Dr. Aaron Halfaker from the Wikimedia Foundation for an informal discussion about the tools, infrastructure, and processes they’re using at Wikimedia to produce useful knowledge from web-scale data, including the content and the human interactions that make it happen!

When: Wednesday, October 18
Where: Computer Science Building (City Center Plaza, 777 West Main Street), Room 221
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Pizza? Yes!

Tell your friends (and your friends’ friends)!

More About the Talk

Dr. Halfaker is a principal research scientist at the Wikimedia Foundation and a senior scientist at the University of Minnesota. He studies the intersection of advanced algorithmic technologies and social issues in open production communities (like Wikipedia) using a mixture of experimental engineering, data science, and ethnographic methods. His studies of Wikipedia’s editor decline and his development of Objective Revision Evaluation Service (ORES), an open artificial intelligence (AI) platform, have received substantial attention from the technology press. See more about Dr. Halfaker at

User Group Meeting + Pizza – April 6

""Learn how to access and create various geospatial datasets using the Python bindings for the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL). We’ll step through a simple example to illustrate a few spatial operations and the data models GDAL uses to represent Geospatial data. We’ll also eat pizza!
Tell your friends (and your friends’ friends).
When: Thursday, April 6
Where: Library 201C
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Pizza? Yes.

Questions? Email

Coffee & Donuts for Researchers – April 6

Donuts GraphicVisualizing data directly from HPC clusters can produce very useful information out of computed data. They are used to generate imagery from scientific computations such as seismic modeling, cosmological simulation, and nuclear explosions.  In this talk, we’ll show some tools that can be used to directly display images from the R2 research cluster on the Boise State Campus.

Location: The Visualization Lab, CS Department, City Center Plaza, Room 364, 777 West Main Street
When: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Boise State, Idaho Power Develop Weather and Water Supply Modeling

hydropower damThe recent collaboration between Boise State University’s Lab for Ecohydrology and Alternative Futuring (LEAF), led by professor Lejo Flores in geosciences, and technical staff at Idaho Power Company on Boise State’s newest computing cluster, R2, enhances both partners’ ability to forecast weather and water supply.

Flores’ research group is pleased to have the opportunity to team up with Idaho Power’s experts, who also are collaborating on other existing projects with LEAF.

“It really provides us an opportunity to ensure that our research is quickly translated into knowledge and information that can help the operations of one of Idaho’s largest and most important companies,” Flores said. “It also gives our student-researchers a chance to understand how their knowledge and skills are important outside of academia and can impact the private sector.”

Read more about the LEAF Lab’s effort in Campus UPDATE.


Boise State, Idaho Power Launch High-Performance Computer

high performance computer clusterThe debut of Boise State’s newest R2 cluster allows Boise State to be part of an ecosystem that includes large, national HPC centers, such as those funded by the National Science Foundation, which all use HPC units with very large clusters to support their research needs.

“Now at Boise state, as part of this ecosystem, we have graduate students and professors with very hard applications – seismology, geology, gene sequencing, all earth science environmental data – they have access to this large compute system,” Cutchin said. “This gives them the ability to tackle large problems, have an impact in their area, and have a pathway to working on research problems on a national scale. It’s a growth route to collaborating with colleagues at larger institutions.”

Read more about the R2 cluster and High Performance Computing at Boise State in Campus UPDATE.

Coffee & Donuts for Researchers – March 2

Donuts GraphicSpatial data are permeating many areas of research. Join Boise State’s Research Computing Support staff for a primer on open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools and learn about our ArcGIS services.

Come to this Coffee & Donuts and expect to learn about free and open GIS as well as ArcGIS services provided by Research Computing Services.

Location: 201C Albertsons Library, Second floor through the College of Innovation and Design (CID)
When: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.