LLNL researchers to play key role in $60 million DOE program to advance scientific computing

LIVERMORE, Calif. — More than 40 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers working on 14 multi-institutional scientific computing projects will benefit from $60 million in funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing program, or SciDAC, announced last week the selection of 30 computational science projects for funding over the next three to five years. The $60 million for fiscal year 2007 will be divided among science applications, centers for enabling technology, institutes and other computing infrastructure projects.

The goal of SciDAC is to advance the state-of-the-art in scientific simulation in DOE-relevant mission areas by creating multi-disciplinary teams comprised of mathematicians, computer scientists and applied science experts from national labs and research universities. SciDAC has been expanded to include the development of new data management and knowledge discovery tools for large data sets resulting from both experiments and simulation. The program is being called "SciDAC-2" to reflect its expanded scope. Initiated in 2001, SciDAC already has resulted in significant new advances in astrophysics, particle accelerator design, climate, combustion, fusion and other fields.

"By tapping a broad range of expertise from top research institutions, SciDAC is helping to accelerate the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing for the benefit of basic science as well as national and homeland security," said Dona Crawford, associate director for Computation at LLNL. "The large number of Livermore researchers participating in SciDAC projects this year reflects the leadership role the Laboratory plays in advancing scientific simulation."

Livermore will participate in 14 projects including seven centers for enabling technology (CETs), one institute, and six scientific applications. Two of the centers are led by LLNL researchers.

CET project areas include visualization, scalable data management, interoperable meshing/geometry tools, scalable linear and nonlinear solvers, structured AMR algorithms, component technologies, and the Earth System Grid (ESG). The institute project is focused on performance engineering research.  The biggest area of expansion for LLNL researchers is in the area of scientific application partnerships.

The CET projects led by LLNL include:

● Lori Diachin is the principal investigator leading the "Center for Interoperable Technologies for Advanced Petascale Simulations," an applied mathematics CET, to be funded at $2.5 million per year over five years. Participating institutions include Brookhaven, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Sandia national laboratories and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and State University of New York at Stony Brook. Diachin’s Lab co-investigators are Bill Henshaw, Mark Miller and Craig Kapfer.

SciDAC applications have a demonstrated need for advanced software tools to manage the complexities associated with sophisticated geometry, mesh, and field manipulation tasks, particularly as computer architectures move toward the petascale. The Center for Interoperable Technologies for Advanced Petascale Simulations (ITAPS) will deliver interoperable and interchangeable mesh, geometry and field manipulation services that are of direct use to SciDAC applications with minimal intrusion into application codes.

● Dean Williams is the principal investigator leading the project, "Scaling the Earth System Grid to Petascale Data Center for Enabling Technologies," in the Distributed Computing CET to be funded by $2.75 million per year over five years. Partners include Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Southern California. Williams’ Lab co-investigators are Robert Drach and Kyle Halliday.

Current efforts in climate modeling and climate science are generating massive amounts of data that are distributed across the globe. Under SciDAC-1, the ESG was developed and deployed to make climate simulation data easily accessible to the climate modeling community. The ESG currently has 2,300 registered users and manages 140 terabytes of data.

It is estimated that more than 200 scientific publications are under way from analysis of ESG-delivered data in the past year alone. Despite these successes, ESG faces significant challenges in coming years as the size, complexity and the number of climate data sets grow dramatically. The goals of this proposed five-year project are to: sustain the successful existing ESG system; address projected scientific needs for data management and analysis; extend ESG to support the major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment in 2010; support the Climate Science Computational End Station at the DOE Leadership Computing Facility at ORNL; and support climate model evaluation activities under the proposed SciDAC-2 climate application.

An additional 40 Livermore lab researchers will participate as co-investigators in SciDAC science applications, CETs or institute projects. Science application projects range from astrophysics, fusion science and climate modeling and simulation to simulations of stress corrosion cracking and turbulent flows. For details about applied science, institute and CET projects not mentioned here, see the DOE press release and SciDAC fact sheets posted at the SciDAC Web site.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and to apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.