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MSU graduate student awarded Association for Computing Machinery Fellowship

Posted at 11:13 AM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 11:13:29-05

Jessica Micallef, a Michigan State University physics and computational science doctoral student, is the recipient of the 2017 Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowship. The fellowship provides $15,000 a year for up to five years to support graduate research in computational and data science.

“The award is exciting because it’s a computation award, and I have done my primary academic work as a physics student. I am mostly self-taught in programming, so I feel a little displaced when I go into computational classes,” Micallef said.  “The ACM award is a confidence booster and will make it possible to pour all my time into making sure I have everything I need to do my research and studies as a graduate student at MSU.”

Micallef’s fellowship will support her doctoral research focusing on nearly massless particles of the universe called neutrinos. She is studying these neutrinos using a particle detector at the South Pole made of a cubic kilometer of ice, called the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Using computational data analysis, Micallef will measure and model the neutrinos’ flavor changes as they pass through earth to arrive at the massive particle detector.

“I was delighted to hear that Jessie received this fellowship,” said Tyce DeYoung, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Micallef’s mentor. “She is a very promising student who is already making important contributions to our project, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and it’s wonderful that she received this recognition.  I’m really looking forward to working with her as she pursues her Ph.D. in physics and computational science.”

Micallef will receive recognition for her leadership and research at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis being held this week in Denver.