Jet Fuel for Trailblazers
Today's itinerary: Innovations helped by big investments; an AgTech hub in North Carolina; 3D printing and Name that City
August 26, 2019
Pitt lands $800K for 3D printing innovations
Image from Pixaby
You know that thing where you’re 3D printing your gas turbine components, and everything’s going swell, and the hot gas path turbine components that you created with laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing technology are coming out like butter? But then later you discover that your components have porous defects and are prone to detrimental thermomechanical fatigue? Man, that suuuuuucks.
That’s what Xiayun Zhao and Albert To, professors of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Richard W. Neu thought too. So they did what any self-respecting gas turbine 3D-printing professors would do: They landed an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to come up with a solution. That award, combined with $200,000 support from Pitt, resulted in a cool million-dollar grant to solve the 3D printing problem.
And how will they do that? They will use machine learning to develop a cost-effective method for rapidly evaluating the 3D printing process to make sure there are no defects during printing.
The good doctors’ quality assurance system promises to reduce the cost of testing and to improve confidence during fabrication of the turbine components. So the next time you’re 3-D printing your gas turbine components and they don’t come out porous or prone to detrimental thermomechanical fatigue, you will know whom to thank.
“Bridges-2” scores $10 million grant
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, a joint project of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, has landed a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The project, dubbed “Bridges-2,” will give researchers massive computational capacity, with the goal of advancing science, improving quality of life, and enhancing national competitiveness, which would be an upgrade from coastal supercomputing’s gifts to mankind: serving up photos of your friend’s kimchi tacos and videos of cats walking across piano keyboards.
The Bridges-2 supercomputing project, which will get an assist from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will harness large, complex data and powerful simulation and modeling capabilities to help researchers make discoveries in a wide array of disciplines, including the human brain, agriculture, sustainable energy, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence, according to a University of Pittsburgh press release.
The massive computing power required to assemble genomes of crop species, say, or explore the universe via multi-messenger astrophysics, would have been out of reach without the grant, the release said. Bridges-2 also promises to enable technologies for smart cities.
The supercomputer will be available at no cost to researchers and educators across the nation. Perhaps one of them will figure out how to travel back in time and explain to people in the 1970s what any of these words mean.
KC's CrossFirst Bankshares: Terms for its IPO
In August, CrossFirst Bankshares revealed plans to offer 7.1 million shares (19% insider) priced at $15 to $17, with the goal of raising $114 million.
Founded in 2008, CrossFirst Bankshares is a registered holding company for CrossFirst Bank, its wholly owned subsidiary.
Book-running managers for the proposed offering are Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., and Stephens Inc. Acting as co-manager is Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P.
The offering is available only by a prospectus. If you’d like to obtain copies of the preliminary prospectus, you can contact Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc.
A GlobeNewswire press release describing the proposed offering cautions that the information contains “certain forward-looking statements.” That’s CYA-speak for verbiage like “believes,” “intends,” “expects,” “projects,” “anticipates,” and “future.” In other words, it’s early days. But it could be worth watching.
IU to get to the bottom of weed question
What's the effect on brain systems that are dependent on the brain's cannabinoid receptor system? In other words, what’s the long-term impact of pot on young adult brains?
That’s what a team at Indiana University will be researching after receiving a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse.
According to the IU website, over the next five years, “the team will look at 60 marijuana users and 60 non-users. They will then measure activity in cerebellum-connected brain networks when the brain is at rest, as well as during cerebellum-related tasks such as judging time intervals and eye-blink conditioning.”
Hetrick is a professor and chair in IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Collaborators on the award include professors Brian O'Donnell, Sharlene Newman, Ken Mackie, and Olaf Sporns, and senior research scientists Amanda Bolbecker and Dae-Jin Kim, all in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
North Carolina builds a global AgTech hub
Image by Pixaby
What do you get when you mix agriculture and tech? Hint: The answer is not an ear of corn that can FaceTime your mom (that we know of). The answer is North Carolina. With 52,000 farms, 8.5 million acres of farmland, and the state’s legendary Research Triangle, the Tar Heel state is on its way toward building a global AgTech hub, according to the Research Triangle Park blog.
The powerful combination of research universities—University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State—combined with a long history of farming, has already generated $83.3 billion in economic output.
North Carolina already has more than 100 ag tech companies, and the state produces more than 80 agriculture commodities, according to the blog. AgTech companies include Sygenta, AgBiome, Bayer CropScience, BASF, and Boragen. There is a growing startup community competing for talent, deep pockets of capital, and, of course, the power of university research.
The companies and universities are working on some pretty important AgTech that will impact how we grow, buy, and eat our food. That includes food security, sustainability, and, we hope, meals that can Instagram themselves.
It's name that flyover city!
Back by popular demand
Can you name the flyover three cities using the clues below?
- The Big Mac was created in this city by Jim Delligatti, an early Ray Kroc franchisee.
- The citrusy and highly caffeinated soda Mountain Dew was invented in this city by bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman.
- This city is home to an interlinked collection of enclosed pedestrian footbridges that enables people to walk in climate-controlled comfort year-round.
I bet you Mary Tyler Moore show fans got the third one! Go here for the complete answers.
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