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  Contact: Don Johnston
  Phone: (925) 423-4902
  E-mail: johnston19@llnl.gov
  September 29, 2009
SF-09-09-01

Early science runs on Dawn push the forefront of predictive simulation

LIVERMORE — The 500-teraFLOPS Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program's Sequoia Initial Delivery System (Dawn), an IBM machine of the same lineage as BlueGene/L, has immediately proved itself useful as several initial science results — performed from April through August — demonstrated ground-breaking science, enhanced code performance, and some of the highest resolution, largest simulations ever run in their respective scientific field.

Delivered to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in January and February, Dawn (an IBM Blue Gene/P system) will lay the applications foundation for multi-petaFLOPS (floating point operations per second) computing on Sequoia, a 20-petaFLOPS IBM system to be delivered in late 2011.

All three ASC labs — Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia — have been busy using Dawn for the past five months and have been generating exciting new results across a broad spectrum of applications.

“The rapidly increasing performance of new supercomputers, such as Dawn, allows us to perform calculations unimaginable only a few years ago,” said Denise Hinkel, AX Division's Plasma Theory Group Leader at LLNL. “Today's supercomputers are the enabling technology for predictive laser-plasma interaction modeling, and recent large-scale simulations on Dawn are helping guide focal-spot-size decisions for the National Ignition Facility beams and helping with ignition design optimization.”

Below are examples of NIF laser and other simulations recently run on Dawn.

Backscatter simulation
Laser beam propagation simulation showing simulated backscatter inside an ignition target (left panel: laser light resonantly scatters off ion acoustic waves; right panel: laser light resonantly scatters off electron plasma waves). Such simulations help to optimize NIF target performance. (LLNL)

 
Plasma simulation
Evolution of electron temperature due to heating from a high-energy beam heating in a charged particle plasma-beam interaction simulation, providing insight about interactions that might occur in a fusion fast ignition experiment. (LLNL)

 
Rayleigh-Taylor instability
Vertical slice through Rayleigh-Taylor instability — - important in many science applications — layer showing clear asymmetry with "spikes" falling on the light fluid side and "bubbles" rising on the heavy fluid side. (Los Alamos)

 
Precipitation
Snapshot of precipitable water in the Earth's atmosphere. High resolution climate models are key to obtaining information of sufficient resolution to assess national security and societal impacts of climate change. (Sandia)

 

Glass crack simulation and actual experiment
Comparison of Dawn simulation (left) and physical experiment (right) of glass crack patterns. This simulation of dynamic brittle fracture is critical in the understanding of crack propagation using new peridynamics simulations. (Sandia)

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.