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April 14, 2017

Ben Toms receives DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

M.S. student Ben Toms has been awarded a 2017 Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. The DOE CSGF, administered by the Krell Institute of Ames, Iowa, is funded by the DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Each year, the program grants fellowships to support doctoral students whose education and research focus on using high-performance computers to solve complex science and engineering problems of national importance. Less than 5 percent of applicants are chosen for the fellowship each year.

DOE CSGF students receive full tuition and fees plus an annual stipend and academic allowance, renewable for up to four years. In return, recipients must complete courses in a scientific or engineering discipline plus computer science and applied mathematics. They also must do a three-month research practicum at one of 21 DOE laboratories or sites across the country.

Toms joins a group of 20 first-year fellows in 2017, bringing the total number of current DOE CSGF recipients to 79 students in 14 states. Toms will apply the fellowship to using machine learning algorithms such as neural networks to analyze massive quantities of data related to the Madden-Julian oscillation.

“The general question is: can machine learning algorithms infer relationships beyond those distinguished via typical objective analysis techniques? I’ll initially be applying these machine learning algorithms to cloud-resolving model output, but I will also integrate reanalysis data and satellite-based observations into my analyses,” Toms explained.

According to Department Head Jeff Collett, this is only the second DOE CSGF awarded to an ATS student. Toms also was offered a Department of Defense fellowship but was allowed to accept just one, due to federal rules.

“What a wonderful achievement this is, being offered two highly prestigious fellowships. Congratulations Ben! It is a pity that you have to choose one,” Sue van den Heever, Ben’s advisor, said in response to the announcement.

More information on the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship