Lindenwood group spreads holiday cheer

News-DemocratDecember 11, 2013 

Lindenwood University-Belleville's Enactus put its skills to work this holiday season collecting food and toys for needy area families.

Team sponsor Mark Roselli said Enactus is an international organization dedicated to making the world a better place through entrepreneurial action. Teams are formed on university campuses. Students identify needs in their community and develop projects to address these needs. There is an annual competition where teams showcase their projects before panels of judges.

Partnered with the Salvation Army and Walmart in Belleville, the organization:

* Collected $1,500 from students, sports teams, and employees at Lindenwood-Belleville

* Received matching funds in the form of a $1,500 from Walmart

* Will supply 30 gift boxes containing food and toys during the Holidays

* The group will supply another set of boxes in February and meet with the recipients to discuss their needs for future projects.

About 25 students participated in the project in its inaugural year.

McKendree University was among the honorees at the inaugural Arcus Awards sponsored by the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association on Nov. 26. McKendree was a finalist in the Achievement in Educational Attainment category for its First Generation Student Success program, selected from hundreds of nominees by a panel of business leaders and scholars. The St. Louis Regional Chamber created the Arcus Awards to celebrate the achievement of organizations that are making the metropolitan area a more attractive place to live, work and invest.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Igor Crk and Mark McKenney attended the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking and Storage Analysis (SC13) held in Denver during late November. The SIUE computer science faculty members returned to campus with a LittleFe computing mini-cluster to enhance classroom experiences.

Crk and McKenney are both assistant professors of computer science in SIUE's School of Engineering. At SC13, they participated in a build-out event and brought back one LittleFe mini-cluster to SIUE. During the workshop, they assembled and configured the hardware, and discussed and tested existing and potential educational modules for classroom use with the LittleFe.

"The mini-cluster is largely intended for use in instructional activity involving high performance computing (HPC), parallel programming, and computational and data-driven science," Crk said. "Its portability, due to its small size, makes it ideal for classroom demonstrations.

"LittleFe is a welcome addition to the computer science department, where it will be a valuable resource for teaching distributed computing concepts that today's data scientists in both the industry and academia find essential."

According to its website, LittleFe originated in 2005 as an idea by Paul Gray from the University of Northern Iowa, Kean University's Dave Joiner, Tom Murphy of Contra Costa College and Earlham College's Charlie Peck. While the faculty members were teaching computational science education, they realized their curricula depended on local computing resources that were not always present.

During November 2010, the LittleFe project was awarded a grant from Intel. The grant's purpose was to build 25 clusters to be given to faculty members across the United States. These computational science educators, would use their LittleFe clusters to improve or develop curricula for their students, and ultimately for such globally available resources as HPC University (HPCU) and the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD).

Crk and McKenney are currently developing learning modules to be used as classroom projects involving cluster computing both at SIUE and within the LittleFe community.

They received support from the SC13 HPC Educators Program and the LittleFe Project to attend the conference.

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