Aug. 24, 2001

Lab collaborations get $23 million to advance science research on supercomputers

The Lab has received more than $23 million to research a variety of subjects from supernovae to climate modeling to plasma microturbulence to supercomputer simulation tools.
The funds are part of a series of grants from the Department of Energy through its new Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program. The money will be used to advance fundamental research in several areas including climate modeling, fusion energy sciences, chemical sciences, nuclear astrophysics and high performance computing.

SciDAC is an integrated program that will help create a new generation of scientific simulation codes by using the computing capabilities of terascale or supercomputers (those capable of doing trillions of calculations per second) to address larger, more complex problems. In addition, the program will develop collaborative software that will enable geographically separated scientists to effectively work together as a team to share data more readily.

Most of the Lab’s programs are collaborative projects with partners including other national laboratories, universities and research institutions. The Lab collected a total of $23.9 million to help fund 10 separate projects. Livermore researchers lead two of the 10 projects.

One such project, the SciDAC Center for Supernova Research involves Livermore astrophysicists Rob Hoffman and Frank Dietrich of N-Division. Chris Fryer and Mike Warren of Los Alamos National Laboratory; Stan Woosley and Gary Glatzmaier of UC Santa Cruz and Adam Burrows and Phil Pinto of the University of Arizona have teamed up with Livermore to model supernovae, to discover how these explosions occur, and to study in detail the complex physical processes that take place in supernovae.

Though initial year funding starts out with $520,000, Hoffman said the three-year Office of Science grant totals $2 million.

"With this grant, we are trying to understand some of the most challenging issues in theoretical and computational physics," Hoffman said. "These processes include hydrodynamics, neutrino and radiation transport, the nuclear equation of state, convection, thermonuclear fusion and flame propagation. These are precisely the issues at the forefront of research at the national laboratories, and progress in these areas advances our national security interests as well as our understanding of basic science".

A supernova is the cataclysmic death of a star, literally the explosion of a star. Observed in nearby galaxies at a rate of more than one per week, these titanic events release immense amounts of energy that can temporarily rival that of their host galaxy. "A supernova releases as much kinetic energy as the sun will radiate over its entire lifetime," Hoffman said. "They are the best bang since the big one."

Other LLNL SciDAC projects and first year funding include:

� The Plasma Microturbulence Project with General Atomics, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, University of Maryland, University of Colorado and the University of California, Los Angeles. $450,000.

� Collaborative Design and Development of the Community Climate System Model for Terascale Computers with Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley, Pacific Northwest and Argonne national laboratories and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. $4 million.

� Earth System Grid II: Turning Climate Datasets into Community Resources with Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories and the University Center for Atmospheric Research. $1.82 million.

� High-End Computer Systems Performance: Science & Engineering with Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois, University of Maryland and University of California San Diego. $2.4 million.

� Center for Component Technology for Terascale Simulation Software with Argonne, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Sandia national laboratories, Indiana University and the University of Utah. $3.1 million.

� Scientific Data Management Enabling Technology Center with Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge national laboratories, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Northwestern University and UCSD. $3 million.

� Terascale Optimal PDE Simulations (TOPS) with Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories, Old Dominion University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California Berkeley, University of Colorado and the University of Tennessee. $3.3 million.

� Terascale Simulation Tools & Technologies Center with Brookhaven, Argonne, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Sandia national laboratories, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and State University of New York Stony Brook. $2.6 million.

� Algorithmic and Software Framework for Applied Partial Differential Equations with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, New York University, University of Washington, University of North Carolina, University of California Davis and the University of Wisconsin. $2.7 million.