2019 February 2019 News

Teasing out history’s big picture with digital tools

SMU history professor Jo Guldi’s book, The History Manifesto (Cambridge University Press, 2014), recently was named one of the most influential books of the past 20 years by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Writing with Harvard’s David Armitage, she argues that historians need to shed their enthusiasm for micro-history and return to examining history’s big picture to better influence the future.Guldi and Armitage propose that historians embrace new technology as the key to analyzing the grand scope of history in ways that were not possible before. Supercomputing capable of sorting daunting amounts of data encourages scholars to synthesize information in new ways, seeing things that do not emerge in the close examination of single decades.
“Applying computer technology to research empowers historians to step back, analyze longer periods of time and search for trends and patterns that might otherwise remain hidden,” Guldi says. “It revolutionizes how we work.”
Algorithms, big data and data text mining are key to the historian’s new digital toolbox, she says Using these tools, and at SMU, the University’s supercomputer, ManeFrame,  researchers can now interpret long-term historical trends and giant topics like inequality, capitalism and climate change in ways that were impossible before the emergence of search technology.
Read more at SMU News.

2017 June 2017 June 2017 Main News

Crowdsourcing to beat cancer

Biochemistry professors Pia Vogel and John Wise in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences and Corey Clark, deputy director of research at SMU Guildhall, are leading the SMU assault on cancer in partnership with fans of the best-selling video game Minecraft.
Vogel and Wise expect deep inroads in their quest to narrow the search for chemical compounds that improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
“Crowdsourcing as well as computational power may help us narrow down our search and give us better chances at selecting a drug that will be successful,” said Vogel. “And gamers can take pride in knowing they’ve helped find answers to an important medical problem.”
Up to now, Wise and Vogel have tapped the high performance computing power of SMU’s ManeFrame, one of the most powerful academic supercomputers in the nation, to sort through millions of compounds that have the potential to work. Now, the biochemists say, it’s time to take that research to the next level — crowdsourced computing.
A network of gamers can crunch massive amounts of data during routine gameplay by pairing two powerful weapons: the best of human intuition combined with the massive computing power of networked gaming machine processors.
Taking their research to the gaming community will more than double the amount of machine processing power attacking their research problem.
Read more at SMU Research.


SMU Launches New Ph.D. Program In Theoretical And Computational Chemistry