The University of California, Santa Barbara has been awarded $360,000 from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation to support graduate fellows and undergraduate interns in scientific computation, establishing a unique new program linking two UCSB colleges.

Together, the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science's Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences will administer the program. According to UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, the program will advance science and engineering worldwide by enabling the university to foster new and unconventional collaborations between diverse disciplines, creating a conduit through which creative energy and ideas can flow freely and whole new areas of knowledge and technology can be discovered.

"This support for cross-disciplinary integration in the broad spectrum of scientific computation will generate leading-edge research and powerful coursework," said Yang. "It will also attract students, both undergraduate and graduate, to exciting new fields of research where computing is used to discover unknown phenomena and to solve complex problems."

According to Venky Narayanamurti, dean of the College of Engineering, "The Parsons Fellowships will provide resources essential to UCSB's efforts to recruit, retain, support and honor the finest students in scientific computation, allowing UCSB to stay on the cutting edge of research and technology development that is so vital to our nation's global competitiveness."

The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Undergraduate Interns will have the support and opportunity to focus on applying their knowledge in new ways as they learn how to ask scientific questions and set up experiments. They will have the opportunity to make independent decisions about how to collect and analyze scientific data using highly sophisticated computing tools.

Scientific computation is a new and evolving field which entails the development of software and mathematical tools for the solution of real-world problems with high-performance computers. It is expected to contribute to major areas of research at UCSB, spanning such diverse fields as: computational fluid dynamics, ground motion during earthquakes, computer visualization and modeling of molecular structures, and entirely new forms of large scale computational methods such as quantum computation.

"Through this initiative, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation will help advance the global field of scientific computation, as well as strengthen the pipeline, preparing more students to pursue careers on the cutting edge of science, technology and research," said Narayanamurti.

The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, of Los Angeles, supports projects that benefit humankind in engineering, technology, and science. It also funds programs with social, cultural and civic impact.

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