Paul Morin

University of Minnesota

Earth Sciences

ArcticDEM Production

Mar 2017 - May 2018

UIUC’s Supercomputer Has a Projected $1B Impact On Illinois’ Economy

Nestled on the outskirts of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus — at the corner of Oak Street and St. Mary’s Road — is Blue Waters, a supercomputer that was first instituted as a result of a 2007 National Science Foundation grant and an initial $60 million investment from the State of Illinois.A report released this past week on the economic impact of this supercomputer — on the UIUC campus, its five surrounding counties, as well as nationwide spillover effects — puts a whole new meaning to the term “return on investment.”.

10 ways advanced computing catalyzes science

When researchers need to compare complex new genomes, or map new regions of the Arctic in high-resolution detail, or detect signs of dark matter, or make sense of massive amounts of functional MRI data, they turn to the high-performance computing and data analysis systems supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).High-performance computing (or HPC) enables discoveries in practically every field of science -- not just those typically associated with supercomputers like chemistry and physics, but also in the social sciences, life sciences and humanities.The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and its lead scientist Thomas Jordan use massive computing power to simulate the dynamics of earthquakes. In doing so, SCEC helps to provide long-term earthquake forecasts and more accurate hazard assessments..

These gorgeous new Alaska maps could transform our understanding of the Arctic

Late last week, the White House announced something seemingly mundane — a series of new topographic maps of the U.S.’s only Arctic state, Alaska. Ninety percent of the enormous state has now been mapped at a far higher resolution than ever before – 2 meters — through satellite-based imaging combined with high-powered computing. ... “Elevation data is one of the most fundamental datasets for both earth science and all aspects of mapping and cartography,” said Paul Morin, who led the research at the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. “It tells you the shape of the Earth and it tells you what the Earth is. That’s key for all kinds of things, from the biology to plate tectonics and glaciology.”.

University of Minnesota-Led Project Releases 3-D Elevation Maps of Alaska for White House Arctic Initiative

Less than one year after President Barack Obama announced a White House Arctic Initiative that included better mapping of the area, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Center released the first-ever publicly available set of high-resolution, three-dimensional topographic maps of the entire state of Alaska.The digital elevation models, or DEMs, serve as a benchmark for measuring future climate changes in the Arctic by assisting scientists studying glaciers, permafrost collapse, and coastal retreat. ... “With these digital elevation models we can see detailed topography of the land, including individual trees, lakes, roads and buildings,” said Paul Morin, director of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center..

Alaska maps released this week are most precise ever

From the Aleutian Islands to the North Slope, Alaska's massive and varied terrain has now been mapped in an unprecedented way, exactly a year after President Barack Obama announced the new Arctic mapping project during his visit to Alaska. The first fruits of the mapping project were released Sept. 1, said Paul Morin, director of the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota, a leading partner in the project..

UMN researchers release 3-D elevation maps

In the past year, a small team of University of Minnesota researchers compiled 3-D maps of Alaska to help understand and combat climate change.The University’s Polar Geospatial Center (PCG), Ohio State University and Cornell University used satellite images to form topographical maps of the region, which they released this month — almost a year after President Obama’s call to protect the Arctic wilderness and increase scientific observations of the region. ... While photos collected from aircraft can have higher resolutions, they often cost more and are restricted to certain times of the year, said Paul Morin, director of University’s Polar Geospatial Center..

Awesome New Maps Show Alaska in High-Resolution Detail

A trip to the Arctic, while difficult, certainly isn’t as challenging as a trip to the moon or Mars. Yet the moon and Mars have awesome maps that took decades and billions of dollars in research funding to produce. The Arctic? The maps there have been lacking. But not anymore. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency has released a new set of maps of Alaska’s Arctic on par with the best maps of the red planet, Joel K. Bourne, Jr. at National Geographic reports. Historically, Alaska’s coast especially has been poorly mapped—some documents were based on maps originally created by British explorer Captain James Cook in the 1700s. Previous topographic maps of Alaska only resolved to about 100 feet across. But the new data, called Arctic Digital Elevation Models, or ArcticDEMs, based on satellite imagery, has a resolution of between 7 to 17 feet. They are currently available online. Alaska isn’t the only place getting the high-res treatment. By the end of the 2017, the entire Arctic above 60 degrees of longitude will be available. “This changes how science will be done in the Arctic,” Paul Morin, director of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, which is in charge of producing the maps tells Bourne..

Blue Waters supercomputer used in White House Arctic initiative

The Blue Waters supercomputer, housed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on campus, is playing an instrumental role in a White House project aimed at mapping out the Arctic. High-resolution topographic maps of Alaska that were released last week were created by Blue Waters. They are the first high-resolution, high-quality images of the region.Collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities are working with Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, on his ArcticDEM project, using Blue Waters to create digital elevation models of the region..

Something’s going on in the arctic

Where Fido does the business is probably not your most pressing thought right now. Yet innocuous actions take on epic importance when your life relies on clean surface water from a Greenlandic lake sitting on permafrost. Such is life in the Arctic.In Greenland, where the bulk of the country a sheet of ice, keeping fresh water sources free of contaminants is vital. But defining boundaries around watersheds was a challenging task, until now. Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota's Polar Geospatial Center (PGC), and his ArcticDEM project collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities, are using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) to create digital elevation models, or DEMs, that are swiftly changing what we know about the Arctic..

Supercomputing 3D Elevation Maps of Alaska on Blue Waters

Today, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and NSF released 3-D topographic maps that show Alaska’s terrain in greater detail than ever before. Powered by the Blue Waters supercomputer, the maps are the result of a White House Arctic initiative to inform better decision-making in the Arctic. Paul Morin, head of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center (PGC), and his ArcticDEM project collaborators from Ohio State and Cornell universities are using Blue Waters to create digital elevation models, or DEMs, that are swiftly changing what we know about the Arctic. A DEM is a computer-generated 3D topographic map that shows the height of everything on the earth’s surface..

3-D, high-res maps of the last frontier

The public release of the first unclassified 3-D topographic maps of Alaska will aid researchers in studying a wide range of issues, including ice loss, glacial changes and surface water flow. The computer-generated maps (otherwise known as digital elevation models, or DEMs) were developed by the National Science Foundation, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and a number of academic and private sector partners. Models of the entire Artic are scheduled to be released in 2017. The maps are the first to be released by the ArcticDEM project, created after a January 2015 executive order to improve decision making in the region. Image data for the maps comes from commercial satellites owned and operated by Colorado-based DigitalGlobe. The data is then fed into University of Illinois’ Blue Waters supercomputer..

The Polar Geospatial Center

The icy surface of Antarctica is a dynamic environment; and conditions can change drastically from year to year or even week to week. Because of these endless changes, making a map of the ever-changing ice cover can be like putting together a map of the clouds. The Polar Geospatial Center has been using satellite data to provide invaluable, up-to-date information about surface conditions across the continent for nearly a decade. "We make sure that [scientists] can get to where they need to go, that they know what the ground looks like and that the pilots can land," said Paul Morin of the University of Minnesota, the founder and director of the center..

Hyperion Research Announces HPC Innovation Excellence Award Winners

Hyperion Research (the former IDC HPC team) today announced the newest recipients of the HPC Innovation Excellence Award at ISC High Performance 2017, the major supercomputing conference being held June 18-June 22, in Frankfurt, Germany. The program’s main goals are to showcase return on investment (ROI) and success stories involving HPC; to help other users better understand the benefits of adopting HPC; and to help justify HPC investments, including for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). ... HPC User Innovation Award -- ArcticDEM Project: Responding to Climate Change (National Center for Supercomputing Applications, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Ohio State University, PGC, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Minnesota)..

Satellite Advances, NSF Computation Power Rapid Mapping of Earth’s Surface

New satellite technologies have completely changed the game in mapping and geographical data gathering, reducing costs and placing a new emphasis on time series and timeliness in general, according to Paul Morin, director of the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota. In the second plenary session of the PEARC conference in New Orleans on July 12, Morin described how access to the DigitalGlobe satellite constellation, the NSF XSEDE network of supercomputing centers and the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have enabled his group to map Antarctica—an area of 5.4 million square miles, compared with the 3.7 million square miles of the “lower 48” United States—at 1-meter resolution in two years..

Takeaways from the Milwaukee HPC User Forum

Milwaukee’s elegant Pfister Hotel hosted approximately 100 attendees for the 66th HPC User Forum (September 5-7, 2017). In the original home city of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles the agenda addressed artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and drug repositioning. Innovation Award Winners Paul Morin (The Polar Geospatial Center University of Minnesota) and Leigh Orf (University of Wisconsin at Madison). Dr. Morin caught my attention when he claimed he could use all possible cycles in the world to analyze geospatial mapping of the poles. ... His plan is to process 80 trillion pictures of the entire arctic at a resolution of two meters. Then repeat – effectively providing time-dependent photography that can track changes in elevation. He uses Blue Waters as a capacity machine today but its scheduler had to be rewritten to handle thousands of job launches..