Undergraduate wins NCSA fellowship
MechSE undergraduate Adhithya Bhaskar was awarded the Fiddler Innovation Undergraduate Fellowship for his research in Reproducibility and Replicability in Computational Physics at the NSCA.
The fellowship is awarded to SPIN (Students Pushing INnovation) interns with the Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media (eDream) Institute at the NCSA to encourage the exploration of new topics and innovation. Its recipients are awarded $1,000 and a chance to meet Jerry Fiddler—an Illinois alumnus, innovator, and supporter of the SPIN program—to discuss the projects they have worked on and future plans for their projects.
With the help of his mentor, Matthew Krafczyk, a postdoctoral researcher at NCSA, Bhaskar aims to evaluate and improve code replicability in the field of computational physics. He hopes to make it possible to execute the code provided in a journal article and get the same results without much knowledge of the specific topic or time spent editing the code.
Initially, Bhaskar tested the replicability by replicating code from articles in the Journal of Computational Physics to verify their results. To improve certain articles’ reproducibility, he worked on creating driver scripts that would take certain input parameters and output the results in tables, plots, and figures as they were in the articles. He is currently researching different methods of improving replicability, such as containers, virtual machines, and programs utilizing “strace.”
“This internship was an immense learning experience for me, as I was given the freedom to choose different parts of the project to work on. I worked on very different things each semester, which allowed me to try out different languages, software, and types of codebases. I also worked with some team members for a few semesters, and attended technical and management group meetings for our research group, which was a great learning experience,” said Bhaskar.