Big Buzzwords and a Busy Summer

Big Buzzwords and a Busy Summer
This is me in Greenland in 2019. I was working the Ice-core project EGRIP and
was visiting the Greenland ice-cap, which can be seen in the background

Hello Everyone, friends and newcomers! My name is Niels S. Hvidberg and I am a 23 year old Physics student living in Copenhagen Denmark. This summer I will use High Performance Computing on geospatial data, which in this case will be satellite pictures from the Sentinel-2 mission. In the next section I will talk a bit about my self and the Summer of HPC program. If you already know enough about me, and just want to get in to the good stuff, feel free to scroll down to the section called “The big Two: Python and Linux”.

To the rest of you, I hope you enjoy my story none the less!

Physics… and everything else.

Many questions and ideas in physics often starts with the word: Why? Why is the sky blue? Why does the apple fall? Questions that needs answering. Naturally, as a person who is always curious and wondering, I had to study physics. Now, after completing my bachelors degree, I study Computational Physics at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. Programming is for me just another big Why which has to be answered. It is fun and challenging and gives you the high of finally running a program that actually works (Programmers High – See Runners High).

After the summer holiday I will begin my master thesis, in which I will analyze Dansgaard-Oeschger events, found in ice-core records from Greenland. The project will involve a lot of programming, statistics and hopefully some machine learning. Geophysics is a fantastic field in physics. You have the world as you experiment, and since the field spans so much, the research field similarly spans over a wide range of methods to study the earth system.

From the Wikipedia page on Dansgaard-Oeschger events. A graph of the permille heavy water isotopes found in ice from Greenland. The Delta-oxygen-18 curve is proportional to temperature. DO-events in short, is rapid warming followed by a slow cooling. These are observed in Ice-cores from Greenland drilled as part of an ungoing project now called EastGRIP.

Participating in Summer of HPC means I will be working with an exciting project during the summer, developing my programming skills and meeting new people, even if it is online. The product of my work will be summarized in a 5 minute video, and a report together with all the 65 other participants great work.

The big Two: Python and Linux

In my project I will be working in python which means everything can be replicated by you. Along the way, the methods and programming that I will use in the project will be explained. Although python can do a lot, most supercomputers use C-programming to do high performance computing. I will be using Cython, which is a package for python that compiles and run code in C when you run the python program. I am very excited about learning Cython to utilize the power of C in python.

I will also be developing my Linux skills, since all communication to the supercomputer will be through the terminal in Linux. If you do not know what the terminal is, I can only recommend that you install Linux right now, and learn to use a computer like they did in the 90’s. Also you will get to be extra prepared for projects like this.


See you, and have a great summer!

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