DOE boosts advanced computing

The Energy Department announced Aug. 14 its first awards under the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program, with 51 projects receiving a total of $57 million this fiscal year for research in myriad areas.

The SciDAC program will help create new scientific simulation codes using terascale computers, which are capable of doing trillions of calculations per second, to address larger, more complex problems.

Research areas of the program include:

    * Climate modeling.

    * Fusion energy sciences.

    * Chemical sciences.

    * Nuclear astrophysics.

    * High-energy physics.

    * High-performance computing.

The program also includes research on improved software for mathematical and computing systems that will enable the simulation codes to use modern parallel computers.

The "collaboratory" software developed by the SciDAC program will enable scientists to work with distant colleagues, control scientific instruments remotely and more easily share data, said James Decker, acting director of DOE's Office of Science.

Decker said the projects represent a greater emphasis on "integrated teams" performing computational research. He said the program's strategy "is to support coordinated efforts by the scientists working to solve complex problems in physics, chemistry and biology, and the applied mathematicians and computer scientists working to develop the computational tools required for that research."

The SciDAC program received more than 150 proposals. Award recipients include 23 large projects that will each receive $500,000 to $4 million per year for three to five years, and 27 smaller projects, each with funding of up to $500,000 per year for three years.

The projects involve collaborations among 13 DOE laboratories and more than 50 colleges and universities.

"This innovative program will help us to find new energy sources for the future, understand the effect of energy production on our environment and learn more about the fundamental nature of energy and matter," said Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in a release. "A major strength of many of the projects is a partnership between scientists at the Energy Department's national laboratories and universities."

A complete list of SciDAC awards, principal investigators and project descriptions, is available at the program's Web site (www.sc.doe.gov).

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