17-Jul-2012 Special report: Graphics processing units speed results in extreme-scale supercomputers
Can scientists and engineers benefit from extreme-scale supercomputers that use application-code accelerators called GPUs (graphics processing units)? Comparing GPU accelerators with today's fastest central processing units (CPUs), early results from diverse areas of research show 1.5- to 3-fold speedups for most codes. That acceleration means increased realism of simulations and decreased time to results. A special report details these findings.
12-Jul-2012 Idaho researcher building used nuclear fuel sensor
Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by US power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.
5-Jun-2012 Snubbed protons tattle on neutron structure
Protons and neutrons are the fraternal twins of the sub-atomic world and the building blocks of all atomic nuclei. While similar in many respects, it's their differences that give them their unique properties. Now, scientists are exploiting these differences to gain deeper insight into these fundamental particles that build our visible universe.
24-May-2012 Supernovas explode in 3-D detail at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Understanding a Type Ia supernova -- an exploding white dwarf star -- requires supercomputers. A team of astrophysicists and computational scientists is using the power of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar to virtually blow up these white dwarfs. In the process the researchers are revealing the secrets of the biggest thermonuclear explosions in the universe and finding the answers needed to measure the size of the universe.
7-May-2012 NREL catalyst brings drop-in fuels closer
We live in a petroleum-based society, and the oil we use comes from plants that were buried eons ago and changed under pressure and high temperatures. As countries across the globe face dwindling oil supplies and the environmental impacts of tapping hard-to-process shale oil, the question arises: is there a greener way to replicate Mother Nature?
17-Apr-2012 New nanoparticle technology cuts water use, energy costs
Nuclear and coal power plants are some of the thirstiest machines on earth. The turbines that spin inside of them to generate electricity require tons and tons of steam, and all of that water has to come from somewhere.
4-Apr-2012 Carbon dioxide caused global warming at ice age's end, pioneering simulation shows
Climate science has an equivalent to the "what came first -- the chicken or the egg?" question: what came first, greenhouse gases or global warming? A multi-institutional team led by researchers at Harvard, Oregon State University, and the University of Wisconsin used a global dataset of paleoclimate records and the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to find the answer. The results, published in the April 5 issue of Nature, analyze 15,000 years of climate history.
29-Feb-2012 Climate scientists compute in concert
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are sharing computational resources and expertise to improve the detail and performance of a scientific application code that is the product of one of the world's largest collaborations of climate researchers. The Community Earth System Model couples components of atmosphere, land, ocean, and ice to reflect their complex interactions. By continuing to improve science representations and numerical methods in simulations, and exploiting modern computer architectures, researchers expect to further improve the CESM's accuracy in predicting climate changes.
29-Feb-2012 Computation proves predictive capabilities of nuclei through fluorine-14 simulation
Aa team led by Iowa State University physicist James Vary used Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility resources to predict the behavior of fluorine-14, a relatively unknown isotope. It published its predictions in Physical Review C in February 2010. Six months later, a group of researchers at Texas A&M University's Cyclotron Institute performed an experiment producing fluorine-14, and the results nearly mirrored those of Vary's group.
22-Feb-2012 Big, bad bacterium is an 'iron pirate'
Life inside the human body sometimes looks like life on the high seas in the 1600s, when pirates hijacked foreign vessels in search of precious metals.
8-Feb-2012 Computer scientists collect computing tools for next-generation machines
Researchers using the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's can foresee substantial changes in scientific application code development. The OLCF's new supercomputer, Titan, will use a hybrid architecture of conventional, multipurpose CPUs and high-performance GPUs. The machine will supplant the OLCF's current fastest supercomputer, Jaguar, a Cray XT5 using an entirely CPU-based platform. Members of the OLCF's Application Performance Tools group understand the challenge. Their goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible.
26-Jan-2012 Nanotube 'glow sticks' transform surface science tool kit
Many physical and chemical processes necessary for biology and chemistry occur at the interface of water and solid surfaces. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory publishing in Nature Nanotechnology have now shown that semiconducting carbon nanotubes -- light-emitting cylinders of pure carbon -- have the potential to detect and track single molecules in water.
11-Jan-2012 Biofuels from bacteria is biochemist's goal
Environmental proteomics does not just aid development of new biofuels but helps further understanding of the impact of climate change and the use of organisms for bioremediation.
30-Dec-2011 Foy's fun with science a career highlight
During a science experiment, Frances Foy helped a fifth grade student dip a blown-up balloon into a container of liquid nitrogen. As the balloon shriveled amid a cloud of white vapor while classmates 'oohed' and 'aahed' in amazement, Foy asked, "What is happening? Something is changing."
For two decades, Foy has been demonstrating the wonders of science like this one that explains the states of matter.
27-Dec-2011 Materials modeling shows big future for boron nitride nanoribbons
Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies a proposed graphene substrate: boron nitride. Graphene, which is carbon in the form of freestanding 1-atom-thick sheets, is a natural for next-generation computer chips, communications equipment, and solar energy devices. Electrons flow through the material at an astonishing 1 million meters per second. To live up to its potential, however, graphene needs support. On its own, its edges wrinkle, tear, or roll up.
7-Dec-2011 Home sweet, energy efficient, home
Two new research facilities at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will serve as a test bed for studying energy efficient and smart homes.
5-Dec-2011 Big business and big science partner in computing to speed products to market
Jack Wells spoke about collaborative opportunities in high-performance computing at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. He highlighted pathways by which industrial users can gain access to supercomputers. Approximately 60 percent of time available on Jaguar, America's fastest supercomputer, is allocated through the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program, whereas 30 percent is allocated through the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research Leadership Computing Challenge and 10 percent through Director's Discretion.
29-Nov-2011 Scientist wins energy award at technology event
Xin Zhao has won a World Technology Network award in the individual Energy category for innovative work of "the greatest likely long-term significance" in his field. Zhao designed and patented a supercapacitor that would use graphene. The invention could someday see batteries in electric vehicles and similar devices boosted or replaced by high-power, high-capacity, fast-charge/discharge energy storage systems using graphene.
17-Nov-2011 'Colony' software speeds up high-performance computing processes
As the number of processors continues to increase in leadership-class supercomputers, their ability to perform parallel computation -- doing multiple calculations simultaneously -- becomes increasingly important. The surge in machine size and complexity has led the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility computer scientists to try new and interesting strategies to keep large systems running at the highest efficiency. Their efforts have nearly tripled performance for synchronizing collective operations.
10-Nov-2011 Building block detectors for plants
While a plant's overall health can often be determined through simple observation, researchers sometimes need to see what's happening on the inside. That's where Jefferson Lab group leader Drew Weisenberger and his colleagues come in. They are working to develop tools that can image inside plants.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.