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Academics

Facilities

Center for Computational Science

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is home to a 16 processor Beowulf cluster, which serves as a resource for teaching and research in all disciplines with an interest in computational science. The system was acquired initially via a grant from the Ohio Supercomputer Center, as part of its Cluster Ohio program. This OSC initiative seeks to develop distributed computing resources in support of teaching and research throughout the state.

The original system was installed in June 2003, and was a distributed-shared-memory parallel computer. It had eight nodes, each containing a pair of 733 MHz Intel Itanium (IA64) processors and 4Gb of main memory. The system is currently being reconstructed by students with 16 single-processor nodes, each with a 2.4 GHz P4 CPU and 2Mb of memory. Total system memory is 32Gb. Each node also contains a 17Gb SCSI hard drive for use as temporary storage. Inter-node communication (for message passing) is handled via Myrinet.

The software environment is Linux, with Intel C, C++ and Fortran compilers, the Etnus Totalview debugger, and various libraries and other tools. The MPI and OpenMP parallel programming standards are supported, and batch requests are handled by PBS with the Maui scheduler.

Peak performance will be more than 150 billion floating-point calculations per second (150 GFLOPs).

Weitkamp Observatory

Otterbein University's observatory and planetarium were donated in 1955 by Alfred Henry Weitkamp '04 in memory of Mary Geeding Weitkamp '09, and rededicated in honor of both in 1982. The Arch B. Tripler, Jr. Solar Observing Facility was donated in 1990. Professor Dr. Uwe Trittmann is the director of the Weitkamp Observatory.

Facilities include 14 and 8 inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, a Meade CCD camera and guidance system, and a Spitz planetarium projector.

The Observatory is located on the fifth floor of the McFadden-Schear science building at Otterbein University, 155 W. Main St., Westerville, Ohio (building 37 on the campus map). Use the stairwell with the planetarium signs (north side of the building, second from the eastern end).

"Starry Mondays" Astronomy Lecture Series

Presented by Dr. Uwe Trittmann, "Starry Mondays" occur on the first Monday of each month during the academic term, and include an informal lecture followed by observing of the night sky from Weitkamp Observatory (weather permitting).

All sessions meet in room 237 of the Science Building. The 2012-2013 Starry Monday series will meet at 7:00 p.m. on October 1, November 5, December 3, February 4 and March 4, and at 8:00 p.m. on April 1 and May 6. Contact the department for directions and weather-related cancellations.

Observing Opportunities

Apart from the Astromony Lecture Series, visitors and students may come to Weitkamp Observatory throughout the semester to observe the night sky. Check back continuously for dates, times and weather related cancellations. Please contact the department at ckasson@otterbein.edu, or call us at 614-823-1316.