Initiative III – Enhance Research, Scholarship, Creative Activity and Academic Innovation

3,809,675,848,848,510 - Bytes of research data stored by UTech research storage systems.

6,750,000 - Computational jobs run in UTech High Performance Computing clusters during 2017.

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A Research University

Initiative III promotes the enhancement of research and innovative academics by improving all aspects of research at CWRU. The data numbers and success stories demonstrate that UTech is continuously seeking new ways to excel in research and creative activity:

  • UTech worked with the School of Medicine and the Office of Research Technology Management to secure the REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) web application used for online and offline data capture for research studies at CWRU. UTech moved the REDCap service to the Secure Research Environment and assumed shared management responsibilities.
  • UTech works extensively with research labs in both the Case School of Engineering and the School of Medicine that utilize health care records and diagnostic tools such as magnetic resonance imaging for their work. The High Performance Computing system and the Secure Research Environment both enable storing and processing data that can be interrogated by statistical methods to enable discoveries in the field of medicine. This includes activities such as the detection of prostate cancer through Artificial Intelligence and identifying genetic variants that protect humans against Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In response to the increasing need for faculty to work with enormous amounts of data, UTech designed and deployed a new Research Dedicated Storage service that provides the needed storage capacity at a performance, availability and cost target that is conducive to research. To date, nine RDS systems are deployed totaling approximately one petabyte of storage.
  • UTech supports more than 100 different commercial and open source software applications in its High Performance Computing clusters to facilitate compute-intensive research.
  • UTech’s Research Data Archival service was expanded to an uncompressed capacity of 1.6 PB for research data not requiring real-time access.
  • UTech’s Secure Research Environment provides a secure computing, storage and analysis service for 484 users in nine different research groups at CWRU. The SRE now holds 208,600,000,000,000 bytes of sensitive data used for research purposes.
  • UTech is working with campus partners to help formulate and implement data management plans that allow for the archiving and preservation of research data. Activities such as this allow partners to focus on research and less on administrative tasks.
  • In the past year, UTech has participated in 14 external funding efforts with budgets totaling $36 million.
  • UTech collaborated with Case School of Engineering researchers to create server infrastructure in Amazon Web Services for a project involving the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • At the DataFest event, UTech provided HPC access to the student participants and on-site assistance during the weekend competition.
  • UTech built the Gender Equity Index system to collect data from universities and colleges and report on their progress. Reporting includes university scores on five different factors, benchmark data for peer institutions and comparisons to national averages.
  • The university uses its Internet2 membership to connect CWRU to the national research and education community along with discounted offers for software and services offered via the Internet2 Net+ program.
  • Supported by UTech, the iLab system is now used by 25 research core facilities to provide a unified billing and reporting system.
  • UTech worked with the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension Research Center to provide a new data lake platform for storing and processing real time data from multiple power plant sites, experimental data and retrospective data from manufacturers. 
  • UTech deployed iThenticate—a plagiarism prevention service—to provide researchers the ability to check manuscripts and funding proposals for proper citation and originality of content.
  • UTech hosted Cyberinfrastructure Day 2018, an opportunity for CWRU faculty and students to share their compute-intensive research with the campus community.

Success Stories

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UTech launched “SpartaIRB” to replace older software for research staff. The new system handles Institutional Review Board (IRB) submissions, review and approvals for human subjects research at CWRU and University Hospitals. The new system, designed to be more user-friendly and to make the process of submitting to the IRB easier and more straightforward, had been two years in the making with committed efforts from many people at both organizations.

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Red Hen Lab, a global laboratory and consortium for research based at CWRU and UCLA, relied on UTech to set up a massive new storage server that’s part of the CWRU High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster. Red Hen is using the new storage server and HPC, along with specialized software supported by UTech, in its fourth Google Summer of Code, funded by Google, with 14 coders to advance their research.