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Star-P Helps MIT Scientists Clear Pollution From the Air

Fri, 04/06/2007 - 8:05am

A new MIT-developed computational method for molecular modeling aims to help scientists reduce soot in hydrocarbons, understand what causes ozone degradation, and discover other chemical molecular behaviors that could potentially improve the atmosphere. Using Interactive Supercomputing Inc.'s Star-P software, researchers at MIT's Department of Chemistry discovered a new method for calculating thermochemical properties derived from first principles, fundamental laws of chemistry that are not derived from any other source. The method is significant because, until now, scientists have struggled to calculate the energy surfaces, equilibrium, and reaction rates of molecules at varying temperatures because they lacked accurate models. Instead, research has relied on conventional approximations of molecular behavior. Star-P was instrumental in the research because the massive data and mathematical models required parallel processing capabilities, yet scientists also needed to be able to quickly interact with and manipulate the resulting data. Star-P is an interactive parallel computing platform that enabled MIT scientists to use the models they already developed on PCs using their preferred desktop application, MATLAB. Star-P automatically parallelizes the models and runs them instantly and interactively on an 8-processor SGI Altix 350 server.

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