PRIME focuses on the use of new technologies in a wide variety of areas. It has been an integral part in facilitating interdisciplinary research in a globalized setting. PRIME research reinforces PRAGMA’s mission to enable small-to-medium size international groups to make rapid progress in conducting research and education by providing and developing international, experimental cyberinfrastructure. The main areas of PRIME research to date include: Computational Biology/Chemistry, Environmental Observing Systems, Earthquake Engineering, Cultural Heritage, Computer Science, and Visualization.

The following areas are those in which we currently have mentors and projects. We welcome other mentors and areas.

Computational Biology/Chemistry

Many of these areas will be at the interface of life sciences and grid/cloud computing. Projects broadly consist of high-throughput virtual screening for drug discovery, molecular simulation studies, distributed computational chemistry, and structural biology.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Rommie Amaro, Jason Haga, Wilfred Li
  • Host Sites: Habibah Wahab (U Sains Malaysia); Jung Hsin Lin (National Taiwan U)

Bioengineering and Biomedical Imaging

Research involves the use of engineering principles to solve medical problems. Project areas include bioimaging and orthopaedic biomechanics, computational cardiac physiology, modeling transport (e.g. calcium ions) in cardiac myocytes using geometry from imaging.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Robert Sah, Koichi Masuda
  • Host Sites: Nozomu Inoue (Doshisha)

Environmental Observing Systems in Lakes, Coral Reefs, and Forest

Many important problems in environmental science, natural resource management and disaster response require similar types of cyberinfrastructure for deploying and managing sensor networks. Researchers must be able to quickly and efficiently deploy sensor networks in remote and sometimes hostile environments to provide real-time data that will inform scientific analyses and policy decisions. These systems must support a variety of sensors, and need to provide sustainable power and communications services in areas where line power and wired networks are rare. These systems allow researchers to determine the effectiveness of experimental techniques to combat invasive species in lakes, acquire information necessary to detect changes in ocean acidification affecting coral reefs, or capture data about the impact of climate change on forest ecoystems.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Tony Fountain and Sameer Tilak
  • Host Mentors: Chau-Chin Lin, Sheng-Shan Lu, Yu-Huang Wang (Taiwan Forest Research Institute); Fang-Pang Lin (NCHC)

Earthquake Engineering

The Pacific Rim has been called the Ring of Fire. There is a great deal of research going on across the region in both the science of earthquakes as well as understanding the earthquake engineering needed in structural design. In the United States, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES,, a network of 15 large-scale experimental sites linked to a centralized data pool and earthquake simulation software, bridged together by the high-speed Internet, gives researchers the tools to learn how earthquakes and tsunamis impact buildings, bridges, utility systems and other critical components of today's society. Other research groups around the Pacific Rim collaborating with U.S. researchers include the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering in Taiwan, and the University of Auckland’s Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research.

Cultural Heritage

New technologies are being used to provide cultural heritage content to the public as well as preserve national treasures of different nations. Areas of research include development of interactive user-interfaces for museums, visualization of artistic content, and mobile application development for museums.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Jason Haga, Jurgen Schulze
  • Host Sites: Shinji Shimojo (NICT and Osaka University), Haruo Takemura (Osaka University)

Computer Science

Cloud computing, virtualization of resources include networks, virtual machine development, distributed data, and networking. These are all key areas technologies for the emerging cyberinfrastructure. Building an effective infrastructure for science with new approaches from computer science, allows for the infrastructure to support the growing number of small and distributed groups (the “long tail” of science) to collaborate effectively and in new ways.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Philip Papadopoulos, Jurgen Schulze, Tony Fountain, Sameer Tilak
  • Host Sites: Weicheng Huang (NCHC), Fang-Pang Lin (NCHC), David Abramson (U Queensland, Kohei Ichikawa (NAIST), Kevin Dong (CNIC), Shinji Shimojo (Osaka), Karpjoo Jeong (Konkuk U) and many other sites


Visualization allows researchers to display complex data to identify patterns more easily than the raw data. Building approaches to facilitate the analysis, taking advantage of both large display capabilities as well as the improved network bandwidth will be important in this era of “big data”.

Mentors associated:

  • UCSD: Jurgen Schulze
  • Host Sites: Fang-Pang Lin (NCHC), Shinji Shimojo (NICT)

In 2011 - 2014, PRIME students fanned out across the Pacific Rim to work on a variety of projects which had one thing in common: they took advantage of advances in cyberinfrastructure. PRIME grew out of the PRAGMA collaborative and people framework, and PRIME projects are based on collaborations that have developed between UC San Diego scientists and engineers, and their counterparts at institutions in Asia and Australasia. While the cultural component of PRIME is vital, in this section we look back at the research carried out by PRIME students at host sites, together with mentors on both sides of the Pacific.

Following is a list of projects undertaken over 24 months in the life of PRIME; click on the title of the project to read more about it: