Interview: Larissa Reames
Blue Waters – Larissa Reames
Kenneth: Hello everyone, and welcome to the second installment of our Blue Waters Fellows interviews. Today I am interviewing Larissa. How are you doing Larissa?
Larissa: I’m good, how are you Ken?
K: Doing well, thank you. I thank you again for meeting with me. So to start things off, can you please explain to me and everyone what your research is about?
L: My research is about using numerical weather prediction models to look at how urban environments can effect supercell storms, so really intense storms.
K: And how long have you been working in this field? Did your (time in) undergrad lead up to this a lot?
L: I’ve been at the same university in the school of meteorology for nine and a half years now. So I started my undergrad in 2006, I got my undergraduate (degree) in meteorology, my master’s degree was also in meteorology. I didn’t do any modeling, I didn’t use computer models, but I did use some severe storms research.
K: Nine and a half years, that’s a long time (we both laugh). There’s a lot of passion there then obviously, right?
L: Yes, I very much enjoy it.
K: Can you please explain to me your process to becoming a Blue Waters Fellow?
L: It was just an application, but I submitted this probably about a year ago, and then I heard back in mid-April that I’d received the fellowship.
K: There was still some selection process of some sort that would’ve had to happen?
L: Yes, as far as I know I think they had about 50 applications, and they selected 6 of us.
K: Very exclusive group then.
L: I hope so (both of us laugh).
K: So can you tell me, since becoming a Blue Waters Fellow, do you feel like there’s been any added pressure of any sort since receiving the fellowship? Like are there higher expectations for success with your results?
L: I don’t feel that way, but then I’m already really far into my research, so I already knew that what I proposed could be done, because I’m planning on graduating in August, which is the time that my Fellowship is done. So when I applied, I had already done lots of preliminary simulations on our local high performance system, so I knew that it could be done, so I don’t really feel like there’s any more pressure than there was before.
K: Well congratulations on your pending graduation then!
L: Thank you.
K: So can you tell me how it is working with Blue Waters then?
L: I like it a lot. What it really enables me to do on our local, our university does have a supercomputer but it’s obviously nothing compared to Blue Waters, but we’re severely limited to how many resources we can take up at any one time on the local computer. At Blue Waters, that doesn’t exist, really. Technically it does, but not to the same extent. So it enables me to run a lot more simulations at once, so I can get a lot more done in a much shorter period of time. Whereas here, it would have to be do one simulation and then wait for it to finish, and then do another one. Blue Waters enables me to have 10 different things going at once on Blue Waters and it wouldn’t be a problem.
K: Obviously, limitations are lifted.
L: Yes, very much so.
K: So with the limitations lifted, are there any new avenues that you’ve been presented with?
L: I haven’t gotten there yet, but it will allow me to do more than I was going to be able to. I should be able to hopefully have more confidence in my results. Where I might’ve been only been able to do 50 runs before, I might be able to do 100 runs now, which might give me double the confidence in any of the results that I do get. And then there’s some other more unique avenues that I might be able to look into that might just add onto what I’ve already been able to do.
K: So it’s definitely been able to allow you to stay on your own path with your research, and on top of that improve it.
L: Oh yes, very much!
K: That’s very interesting, and I thank you for your time today.
L: Okay, thank you Ken!
K: Thank you, have a nice day!
L: You too!