UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mohammad Mahdi Kamani and Cody Messick, two doctoral students at Penn State, have been awarded the Academic Computing Fellowship. The fellowship is offered through a partnership between the Graduate School and Penn State Information Technology Services. It was established in 1987.
The Academic Computing Fellowship Program supports research doctorate students who have a background and strong interest in computing applications within their disciplines. Through support provided by the fellowship and the use of computing resources, students develop and disseminate new methods for problem solving within their disciplines.
Kamani, a doctoral student in information sciences and technology, said he enjoys researching topics with real-world impact using complex data and intensive knowledge of meteorology and statistics. He is interested in improving weather forecasting accuracy through more advanced information process technologies.
Kamani led an effort to detect visual patterns in radar images, in order to better predict destructive weather such as damaging winds, hail, thunderstorms and tornadoes. His work uses novel skeletonization and shape-matching approaches to create an automatic framework to detect these weather patterns.
After only one year in his doctoral program, Kamani has already presented his work at a first-tier peer-reviewed international conference ─ the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Big Data Conference ─ which was subsequently published as a manuscript in the conference proceedings. Additionally, the University's Office of Technology Management has filed a provisional patent application on an invention he created.
Messick, a doctoral student in physics, has excelled in classwork, research, outreach and service. His work is in an exciting new field — gravitational-wave astrophysics and astronomy. Messick is involved in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, an international collaboration of over 1,000 members, seeking to detect gravitational waves. Messick contributed to the first direct detection of a gravitational wave signal in 2015, a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, and searched for by astrophysicists since the early 1960s.
Messick is working on designing what he calls the “next-generation of gravitational-wave detection pipelines” that will be able to combine the detection of gravitational-waves into a one-step process.
Messick’s talents and skills are highly sought after. Many prestigious institutions have requested to meet with Messick and have him train their students and post-docs. This past summer he helped develop and run the first-ever, gravitational-wave summer camp at Penn State for local high school students.
Messick and Kamani were honored during the annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held on April 18 at the Nittany Lion Inn.