Contact: Tom Weber (207) 581-3777
ORONO — Members of the University of Maine engineering faculty were recognized at the recent Maine STEM Summit for an innovative project that will allow middle-school students to access the university’s supercomputers from their classroom laptops.
The daylong gathering, held Jan. 24 the Augusta Civic Center and hosted by the Mathematics and Science Alliance, was part of a statewide effort to increase student aspirations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to build collaborations among Maine’s educators, business leaders and legislators.
Among the featured speakers were Gov. John Baldacci, former Gov. Angus King and UMaine Chancellor Richard Pattenaude, who each emphasized the vital connection between STEM education and Maine’s future economic prosperity.
Yifeng Zhu and Bruce Segee, UMaine professors of electrical and computer engineering, were applauded for their innovative three-year educational program called “Inquiry-based Dynamic Earth Applications of Supercomputing: Seeing the Big Picture with Information Technology.”
The program, funded by a $1.2 million research grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to introduce the state’s middle-school teachers and their students to large-scale numeric environmental models running on UMaine supercomputers that are equipped with more than 500 processors.
The professors say their goal is to stimulate interest in STEM by placing young students at the very frontiers of information technology and scientific discovery.