|I'm taking a very interesting class this semester called Computational Physics. The goal in the course is to select a research project that requires the use of parallel computing. We can use our university cluster or, because of the close association of the university with Oak Ridge National Labs, we have the opportunity to use the world's fastest supercomputer, Titan (17-27 pFLOPS). The usage of the entire machine at once is reserved for very special projects, but I'm sure I'll still be able to use a large number of nodes because projects that can be done on smaller supercomputers aren't allowed on Titan.|
The professor recommended choosing something that relates to published research in physics or our own research field (mine is chemical engineering -> molecular dynamics). This freedom to choose whatever is really exciting, and I've got some interesting ideas, but I imagine there a lot of experts in their field who post on HN, and so someone may have a good idea for a new and exciting project.
My initial idea is to contribute to the effort of porting Quantum Monte Carlo code to GPUs. Titan's processing power is unique among supercomputers in that most of it comes entirely from nVidia Tesla K20X GPUs. QMC is among the most accurate methods that exist in predicting physical phenomena; the problem is that the methods are incredibly computationally demanding, something which highly parallelized GPUs are well-suited to handling. But I don't know. Maybe that's too much to do in a semester.