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April 2002

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
William Goldstein

Quantum Simulations Tell
the Atomic-Level Story

Forensic Science Center Maximizes the Tiniest Clue

Bright Future for Compact Tactical Laser Weapons

Engineering's Tradition Turns Ideas into Reality

Patents

Awards

 

The Laboratory
in the News

Livermore rated “outstanding”
For the first time, the Laboratory has achieved an overall rating of “outstanding” on its annual assessment by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
This fiscal year 2001 assessment (October 2000 through September 2001) covers Livermore’s performance in institutional management, science and technology, and operations and administration. The comprehensive evaluation system, along with annually negotiated performance standards, is defined in the University of California’s contract with DOE.
Institutional management was rated “outstanding”—the highest rating possible and an increase over last year’s “excellent”—and is the result of improvements by the director and his management team in strategic planning, establishing and communicating performance expectations, internal and external communications, asset and infrastructure management, accountability and commitment, and community relations.
Livermore science and technology also received an overall rating of “outstanding,” an improvement over last year’s “excellent” rating. “We continue to prove ourselves as a world leader in science and technology,” says Jeff Wadsworth, deputy director for Science and Technology. “Every single employee contributed to these outcomes, and we can all be proud of what the Lab has achieved.”
The “outstanding” rating for operations and administration is the highest since the rating system went into effect in 1992. For John Gilpin, director of Contract Management, this rating “demonstrates the professionalism and commitment of all employees and managers to accomplishing missions and achieving long-term performance improvement.”
Contact: Lynda Seaver (925) 423-3103 (seaver1@llnl.gov).

Tiny fuel cell boosts battery power
Livermore’s Center for Microtechnology Engineering has developed and demonstrated a prototype miniature thin-film fuel-cell power source, which may provide portable electric power for consumer electronics and remote, autonomous military, environmental, and security electronics and sensor applications.
The miniature fuel-cell technology incorporates a thin-film fuel cell and microfluidic fuel-processing components in a common package. This power module uses easy-to-store liquid fuels such as methanol and provides more than three times the operating time possible with rechargeable batteries.
“Livermore’s fuel cell can be cheaper, smaller, with more energy capacity than any battery or alternative fuel-cell technology,” says Jeffrey Morse, principal investigator on the fuel cell project.
The patented design and method for making thin-film fuel cells combines microcircuit processes, microfluidic components, and microelectrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology. Morse predicts that the lighter-weight, longer-lasting MEMS-based fuel-cell power source will replace rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion and lithium-ion polymer in a range of consumer electronics, including cell phones, handheld computers, and laptops. Other applications include military electronics and sensors for remote and autonomous uses that require extremely long-lasting power.
Contact: Jeffrey Morse (925) 423-4864 (morse3@llnl.gov).

Full-system nuclear simulation complete
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories have completed the largest computer simulations ever attempted, the first full-system, three-dimensional simulations of a nuclear weapon explosion.
These simulations represent the achievement of an important milestone for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, which is responsible for maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Both calculations ran on ASCI White—the world’s fastest and most capable supercomputer—at Livermore.
Two years ago, Livermore and Los Alamos scientists completed the first three-dimensional simulations of, respectively, a weapon primary and a weapon secondary, the two stages of modern nuclear weapons. The new simulations of a weapon’s complete operation built on those achievements.
The Livermore and Los Alamos teams used different approaches to meeting the full-system milestone, and both completed their simulations more than two months ahead of schedule. A Laboratory-sponsored external review panel of distinguished physicists and computer scientists conducted a detailed independent review of the computational methods and results of these simulations and affirmed the success of both approaches.
The Los Alamos simulation ran remotely on the ASCI White machine at Livermore, more than 5,500 kilometers away, through the secure network connecting the laboratories. Researchers in New Mexico viewed data on the ASCI Blue Mountain supercomputer and its EnSight graphics package at Los Alamos. The amount of data transmitted between the laboratories was about 35 times the information contained in the Library of Congress.
The Livermore simulation ran on more than 1,024 processors of ASCI White and took 39 days to execute.
Contact: Lynda Seaver (925) 423-3103 (seaver1@llnl.gov).




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UCRL-52000-02-4 | May 6, 2002