Systems to fake nuclear explosions

The Energy Department this week awarded a $4.5 million contract to Fakespace Systems Inc. to custom-build visualization systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory that will help scientists better understand nuclear weapons phenomena without having to do underground testing.

The large-scale visualization systems will include new digital projection technology from Christie Digital Systems Inc.'s Mirage 2000 systems. Multiple Mirage 2000 projectors will be tiled to create a Fakespace Immersive WorkWall display for viewing extremely large computer data sets in high-resolution detail.

Once completed, the system will be able to display 31 million pixels and is expected to be the largest display of its type ever built, according to Ontario-based Fakespace, which has its federal headquarters in Rockville, Md.

The WorkWall will be used to display immense and extremely complex simulations developed for DOE's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative. As part of DOE's stockpile stewardship program, ASCI uses experimental programs and computer simulation to maintain the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile without underground testing.

The new visualization systems will be installed in the Strategic Computing Complex, a simulation and computing facility being built at Los Alamos. The complex will house more than 200 nuclear weapons scientists, engineers and designers, and it will provide large-scale visualization laboratories as well as a large-scale visualization theater.

Fakespace's other federal customers include the Army and NASA.

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