DOE Fellowship

Other Employment

Begin with current or most recent employment. Please include employer, dates employment started and ended, position, and nature of work. (Max characters is 4000)

Proposed Change:

The University of Iowa, Grid Research and educatiOn group @ ioWa (GROW), 3/2006 - 6/2007, Grid Analyst and Operation Specialist
HPC systems & Grid administration.  
Led software development of the Modular Information Provider (MIP).
Technical lead for HPC systems operations.

The University of Iowa, Grid Research and educatiOn group @ ioWa (GROW), 7/2005 - 2/2006, Graduate Research Assistant

University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library, 12/2003 - 6/2005, Windows Server System Administrator and Linux Systems Integrator
Windows and Linux system administration.
Developed custom Linux operation system.

University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library, 1/2003 - 12/2003, Information Technology Support Technician
Technical support.

Original version:

Grid Analyst and Operation Specialist 03/2006 - 06/2007
Grid Research and educatiOn group @ ioWa (GROW), The University of Iowa
My primary responsibilities included the setup and administration of GROW high-performance computing clusters, storage devices, and servers. Furthermore, most of the GROW computational resources were integrated within the Open Science Grid (OSG) or Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (LCG) and it was my task to maintain the availability of these resources to these Grids. I had the role of technical lead for systems operations and participated in several research projects. I led the software development of the Modular Information Provider (MIP).

Graduate Research Assistant 07/2005 - 02/2006
Grid Research and educatiOn group @ ioWa, The University of Iowa
I focused on investigating Grid resource scheduling technologies, testing the gLite middleware, and CEMon - a information service for computing resources. I co-developed software programs and was actively involved in literature study for several high performance computing research projects.

Windows Server System Administrator and Linux Systems Integrator 01/2003 - 06/2005
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
I managed Windows and Linux servers and over 80 public workstations while providing technical support to staff workstations. I trained new employees in advanced server and workstation technologies and developed a custom Linux operating system for public workstations.  

Information Technology Support Technician 01/2003 - 12/2003
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
I worked as a core team member to provide technical support to both staff and public workstations. I established good relations with colleagues and, and thus earned respect and confidence by assuming both administrative and technical responsibilities beyond job requirements and expectations.

Research Statements

Field of Interest

“Computational science” involves the innovative and essential use of high-performance computation, and/or the development of computational technologies, to advance knowledge or capabilities in a scientific or engineering discipline. Please describe how computational science will spur advances in your particular area of scientific or engineering interest. Reserve discussion of your specific thesis research for later essays. Max words is 300


Integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and multi-scale modeling to simulate and evaluate the geographic placement of bioenergy crops at the national scale promises to provide new insights for long-term national energy security and sustainable biomass-based bioenergy production.

However, this integration approach requires an enormous amount of computation and storage resources and an innovative computational science approach to tackle the complexity of multi-scale modeling and handle the significant quantity of spatio-temporal data required to support and facilitate the modeling (e.g. land use, environmental conditions, and ecological processes).

Computational geography will enable the utilization of simulation models to evaluate large-scale land use scenarios not only for arable crops (e.g. corn and soybeans), but also next-generation bioenergy crops (e.g. miscanthus and switch grass). Fine-grained simulations at the national scale will support the evaluation of optimal land use strategies for sustainable bioenergy production. The impact of advancing computational geography to develop the aforementioned approaches is significant in addressing a practical issue of rapidly growing U.S. national priority.

Program of Study

The fellowship program of study requirement is designed to give you a breadth of competency in fields outside your own that will enhance your ability to perform computational science research. Please describe how you expect that the courses listed in your planned program of study outside your chosen discipline will contribute to your own research in the future. Max words is 300


The courses in my Program of Study are assembled to enhance my knowledge in the fundamental computational science theories and methods and to further improve my ability to integrate GIS, multi-scale modeling, and high-performance computing to gain the understanding of bioenergy sustainability.

Applied Linear Algebra covers essential topics such as matrix operations and transformations, and provides the applied mathematical utilities required to develop GIS and modeling implementations. Techniques and methods learned in ‘Statistics and Probability I’ will be necessary to calibrate and validate models and analyze the accuracy of the findings, because computational models are commonly based on probability assessment and randomness principles. Building on the knowledge acquired in linear algebra, ‘Introduction to Numerical Analysis’ will introduce topics to help evaluate and improve model quality. This course also teaches the mathematical theories for commonly used techniques in computational geography that will enhance my domain knowledge.

The ‘Introduction to Parallel Programming’ course will extend my parallel computing knowledge and help me understand the techniques to build parallel multi-scale models. In addition, I will benefit from the performance evaluation topics of this course in terms of developing petascale computational methods in my research. Algorithms will strengthen my foundational knowledge in various numerical and GIS algorithms. The knowledge gained in both of these courses will be important to help develop efficient and scalable multi-scale models.

High-Performance Computation and Research

One of the major sources of supercomputer time to support scientific research and discovery is the DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program (see INCITE designates large chunks of supercomputer time and data storage space – as much as 18.2 million supercomputer processor-hours total and hundreds of terabytes of disc space – for computationally intensive, large-scale research projects. It is not designed to merely shorten the time for a simulation or experiment. Rather, researchers use the supercomputer resources to conduct novel and highly detailed simulations of physical, chemical and biological structures and phenomena. The program provides the cycles necessary to produce major discoveries in a broad range of fields.

In 300 words or less, outline how you would make a case for access to high performance computing through a program like INCITE in order to impact your own research.


Biomass energy is recognized as a major energy source to meet the future energy demand and to simultaneously decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Though crop biomass production on a regional scale has been studied for decades, current modeling frameworks cannot meet the challenge of identifying crop biotechnology targets and best agricultural practices to further increase sustainable biomass production.

Optimizing crop placement strategies while constrained by environment, economics, and transportation requirements will improve the development of sustainable biofuels. Multi-scale fine-grained simulations integrated with GIS can play a key role in optimizing land-use strategies to increase bioenergy production efficiency by simultaneously considering the impact of various economic, ecological and environmental factors.

Such an integrated approach based on GIS and multi-scale modeling requires massive storage and computational resources such as those provided by the INCITE. Spatially-explicit modeling from the levels of the individual plant competing for resources to the entire U.S. is extremely computationally intensive. Adding to the computational intensity, spatio-temporal environmental data (e.g. climate, soil, terrain, and water) is crucial to calibrate and validate multi-scale models.

In summary, my Program of Study will be enabled by INCITE-like supercomputing resources to synthesize and analyze massive geospatial data (Shook et al. 2007), and empower large-scale fine-grained simulations integrated with GIS. This study promises to have a significant impact on the state of the art knowledge of sustainable bioenergy that will become very important to our national energy security.


Topic of Interest

1 line

  • ⇐50 characters
  • Bioenergy sustainability, GIS, land use modeling

List of publications

(Max characters is 3200)

Peer Reviewed Publications
Shook, E., Wang, S., Briggs R., Padmanabhan, A., and Hansen, T.. 2007. “Modular Information Provider: A Grid-Independent Approach”. In: Proceedings of the National Science Foundation TeraGrid 2nd Annual Conference (CDROM).
Wang, S., Shook, E., Padmanabhan, A., Briggs, R., and Pearlman, L.. 2006. “Developing the Modular Information Provider (MIP) to Support Interoperable Grid Information Services”. In: Proceedings of Grid and Cooperative Computing GCC 2006: The Fifth International onference, IEEE Computer Society, pp. 448-453.

Book Chapters
Padmanabhan, A., Shook, E., Liu, Y., Wang, S.. 2007. "An Interoperable Information Service Solution". Forthcoming in: Cyberinfrastructure Technologies and Applications (Edited by Cao, J. et al.). Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Non-peer Reviewed Abstracts and Presentations
Shook, E., Wang, S., Zhu, X., and Liu, Y.. 2007. “Synthesizing Spatial-Temporal Data to Enable Geospatial Analysis of Biomass-based Bioenergy”. Paper presented at the AAG (Association of American Geographers) Westlake Annual Conference, November, 2007, Urbana, IL.

Program of Study

The Program of Study (POS) must contain coursework in three areas: a scientific or engineering discipline, computer science and applied mathematics that will be completed prior to the third year of the fellowship (Exception: Students who begin their doctoral studies coincident with the award of this fellowship will have three years to complete their POS; at least one course in each disciplinary area must be completed within the first two years of the fellowship.) Both graduate coursework and undergraduate coursework that will be granted graduate credit in your home department are acceptable for the POS. (POS example). An important factor in reviewing your application is the extent to which your program of study satisfies the objectives of the fellowship program. Submission of the POS constitutes an explicit commitment to take the courses that meet the requirements of the program description. Catalogue course descriptions are required.

Federal Lab/Industry Lab Experience

Begin with current or most recent Lab. Please include employer, dates, position, and nature of work. (Max characters is 4000)

  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, 07/2005 - 02/2006, Graduate Research Assistant
    • Assist the implementation of the information systems of the Open Science Grid, a high performance and distributed computing facility that is jointly supported by the DOE Office of Science and National Science Foundation.

Academic Awards and Honors

Include undergraduate and graduate honors (if applicable). (Max characters is 4000)

The first place winner of Doctoral-Level Student Paper Competition - the AAG (Association of American Geographers) Westlake Annual Conference, November 2007, Urbana, IL 
Beatty Fellowship - Department of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Magna Cum Laude - University of Northern Iowa
Upsilon Pi Epsilon (Honor Society for Computer Science) - University of Northern Iowa

Extracurricular Activities

Include technical societies and service organizations. (Max characters is 4000)

Eagle Scout
Association of American Geographers (AAG)
Program Committee Member - The Second International Workshop on Internet Computing in Science and Engineering (ICSE’07), May 27-30 2007
Student Volunteer, StorCloud team - SC2005, November 2005
Student Volunteer, StorCloud team - SC2004, November 2004
Student Volunteer - SC2003, November 2003
President of Computer Club - University of Northern Iowa, Spring 2005

Completed Courses

Please list only those courses you have completed that you believe are particularly pertinent to your proposed or current research in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Engineering, and Computer Science. This section is not expected to contain every course you have ever taken at the university level. It is not a substitute for your transcript. We do not expect to see Calculus I or entry level science/engineering courses listed here. Please be selective!

  1. Biological Modeling - A+
  2. Earth Systems Modeling - A+
  3. Distributed Systems and Algorithms - A
  4. High Performance and Parallel Computing - A-


List three persons familiar with your academic preparation and technical abilities

  1. Shaowen Wang
  2. Paul Gray
  3. Bruce Hannon

/* Computer Science

  1. Algorithms - 3/4
  2. Introduction to Parallel Programming - 4
  3. Introduction to Numerical Analysis - 3/4
  4. Numerical Linear Algebra - 4 - NO
  5. Numerical Approximation and Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs) -


  1. Statistics and Probability I - 4
  2. Applied Linear Algebra - 3
  3. Graph Theory - 3
  4. Euclidean Geometry - 3


  1. Challenges of a Sustainable Earth System ?
    • GEOL 497 - special topics
    • Taught by Bruce Hannon in Spring 2008
  2. Ecological Numeracy
  3. Spatial Ecosystem Modeling
  4. Applied GIS to Environmental Studies
  5. Advanced GIS
  6. Programming for GIS
  7. Dynamic Simulation of Natural Resource Problems
  8. Computational GIS
    • 480 / Shaowen Wang ?
  9. GeoVisualization
    • 473 / Shaowen Wang ?
  10. Advanced Spatial Analysis - possibly not taught
  11. Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Geography - possibly not taught

Ag and Biology

  1. Renewable Energy Systems - 4 NO

Atmospheric Sciences

  1. Climate Change Assessment - 3 - NO