Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iowa State Physicists Among Teams Preparing for New Energy Department Supercomputer

02.10.2014

A team of Iowa State University nuclear physicists is preparing to scale up its computer codes for Cori, the next-generation supercomputer being developed by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

Iowa State’s Pieter Maris and James Vary want to use the supercomputer to study the basic physics of the burning sun and exploding stars. Those studies could one day lead to safer, more efficient forms of nuclear power.


Photo by Bob Elbert/Iowa State University

Iowa State University's Pieter Maris, left, and James Vary will get a head start on scaling up their computer codes for the Energy Department's next-generation supercomputer.

“We’ll work with a select group of top computer scientists and applied mathematicians to co-develop new math algorithms and new schemes in order to get the best science out of this new supercomputing architecture,” said Vary, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy.

The $70 million supercomputer is expected to go online in 2016. It’s named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science. And it’s being developed by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center based at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. The center is the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Cori is designed to be extremely energy efficient, lowering one of the barriers to developing supercomputers at the exascale – machines capable of a quintillion calculations per second.

Research teams across the country recently competed for a head start on scaling up their codes for Cori. The 20 winners will now work with staff from the computing center and with Cori’s developers from Cray Inc. and Intel Corp.

Those research teams “will be doing the ‘heavy lifting’ during the project and will help us ensure that the workload is ready when Cori is deployed,” Harvey Wasserman of the computing center said in a statement. “This exciting machine architecture is now being followed by exciting science in the national interest.”

The Iowa State research will be led by Maris, a research associate professor of physics and astronomy. He and Vary have collaborated on other projects and have won supercomputing time to study the structure and reactions of rare and exotic nuclei.

They’ll use Cori to study two classes of nuclear states – the weakly bound states and the resonant states – in the nuclei of various isotopes of light elements such as hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllium. Isotopes of the elements contain varying numbers of neutrons and often have very short lifetimes yet play critical roles in nuclear fusion, a valuable energy source for the future.

Helium-4, for example, is stable and has two protons and two neutrons. But the isotope helium-6 has two extra neutrons and quickly decays.

Those neutrons can be weakly bound to the nucleus or, in a resonant state, the extra neutrons come and go, forming a kind of cloud around the nucleus.

So why do we need to understand those isotopes and their reactions? And why would the energy department include a study of them in its latest supercomputer project?

First, Vary and Maris have already developed supercomputer software (called “Many Fermion Dynamics – nuclear physics”) to study isotopes, their structures and their reactions, studies that are very difficult and expensive to do in a laboratory.

And second, “We’re seeking to understand how the sun burns and how stars explode,” Vary said. “We want to understand how these astronomical environments tick.”

That, he said, could lead to a much better understanding of fusion and fission energy.

“The value of precise information about how fission works is the ability to design better reactors, reactors with less waste and more safety,” Vary said. “We need the basic science to predict what’s unknown. And that can help the fission and fusion energy industries.”

Contact Information

James Vary, Physics and Astronomy, 515-294-8894, jvary@iastate.edu 

James Vary | newswise
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>