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US Department of Energy National Science Bowl

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Scientific discovery through advanced computing

The Department of Energy today announced its first awards under the new Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program

Nestor Zaluzec, Argonne National Laboratory, is one of the first innovators of TelePresence Microscopy (TPM), which is a remote user system within the Materials MicroCharacterization Collaboratory. AAEM TelePresence Microscopy Site

August 14—Fifty-one projects will receive a total of $57 million this fiscal year to develop the scientific computing software and hardware infrastructure needed to use terascale computers to advance fundamental research in several areas related to the department's missions, including climate modeling, fusion energy sciences, chemical sciences, nuclear astrophysics, high energy physics and high performance computing.

The SciDAC program will help create a new generation of scientific simulation codes. The codes will take full advantage of the extraordinary computing capabilities of terascale computers (computers capable of doing trillions of calculations per second) to address ever larger, more complex problems. The program also includes research on improved mathematical and computing systems software that will allow these codes to use modern parallel computers effectively.

The "collaboratory" software developed within the SciDAC program will enable geographically separated scientists to use scientific instruments and computers remotely and be able to work together with distant colleagues as a team, sharing data more readily.

"This innovative program will help us to find new energy sources for the future, understand the effect of energy production on our environment and learn more about the fundamental nature of energy and matter," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "A major strength of many of the projects is a partnership between scientists at the Energy Department's national laboratories and universities."

Selected from over 150 proposals, the SciDAC activities include 23 large projects that will each receive $500,000 to $4 million per year for three to five years, and 27 smaller projects, each with funding of up to $500,000 per year for three years.

"These projects represent a significant change in the way we do computational research, with greater emphasis on integrated teams," said James Decker, acting director of the department's Office of Science. "Our strategy is to support coordinated efforts by the scientists working to solve complex problems in physics, chemistry and biology, and the applied mathematicians and computer scientists working to develop the computational tools required for that research."

Success of the SciDAC program requires multi-disciplinary teams from universities and laboratories to work in close partnership. The projects involve collaborations among 13 DOE laboratories and more than 50 colleges and universities.

Thirty-three projects are in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. Specifically, 14 university projects will advance the science of climate simulation and prediction. These projects involve both novel methods and computationally efficient approaches for simulating components of the climate system and work on the integrated "climate model of the future."

Ten projects will address the areas of quantum chemistry and fluid dynamics, which are critical for modeling energy-related chemical transformations such as combustion, catalysis and photochemical energy conversion. The scientists involved in these activities will develop new theoretical methods and efficient computational algorithms to predict complex molecular structures and reaction rates with unprecedented accuracy.

Five projects are focused on developing and improving the physics models needed for integrated simulations of plasma systems to advance fusion energy science. These projects will focus on such fundamental phenomena as electromagnetic wave-plasma interactions, plasma turbulence, and macroscopic stability of magnetically confined plasmas.

Four projects in high energy and nuclear physics will significantly extend our exploration of the fundamental processes of nature. The projects include the search for the explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae, development of a new generation of accelerator simulation codes and simulations of quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

Seventeen projects are to develop the software infrastructure to support research collaboration using distributed resources and scientific simulation on terascale computers.

Three Applied Mathematics Integrated Software Infrastructure Centers will take on the challenge of providing scalable numerical libraries.

Four Computer Science Integrated Software Infrastructure Centers will address critical issues in high performance component software technology, large scale scientific data management, understanding application/architecture relationships for improved sustained performance, and scalable system software tools for improved management and utility of systems with thousands of processors.

Four national collaboratory, two middleware, and four network research projects will have general applicability and will seek to research, develop, deploy and refine the underpinning software environment that will enable innovative approaches to scientific computing through secure remote access to shared distributed resources, large-scale transfers over high-speed networks, and integration of collaborative tools with the researcher's desktop.


For a complete list of SciDAC awards, principal investigators, and project descriptions, see the new SciDAC website at http://www.science.doe.gov/scidac


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