DOE 2008 Incite Press Release

DOE Awards 265 Million Hours of Supercomputing Time to Advance Leading Scientific Research Projects

January 17, 2008

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science today announced that 265 million processor-hours were awarded to 55 scientific projects, the largest amount of supercomputing resource awards donated in the Department’s history and three times that of last year’s award.  The projects-with applications from aeronautics to astrophysics, and from climate change to combustion research-were chosen based on their potential breakthroughs in the science and engineering research and their suitability of the project for using supercomputers.  These awards will allow cutting-edge research to be carried out in weeks or months, rather than years or decades, giving scientists access to some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers at DOE national laboratories.

“The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has two of the top ten most powerful supercomputers, and using them through the INCITE program is having a transformational effect on America’s scientific and economic competitiveness,” DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach said. “Once considered the domain of only small groups of researchers, supercomputers today are tools for discovery, driving scientific advancement across a wide range of disciplines. We’re proud to provide these resources to help researchers advance scientific knowledge and understanding and thereby to provide insight into major scientific and industrial issues.”

The allocations of supercomputing and data storage resources will be made under DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, which supports computationally intensive, large-scale research projects.  The 2008 projects were awarded time at DOE’s Leadership Computing Facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, as well as at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, and the Molecular Science Computing Facility at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington. Of the 31 new projects and 24 renewal projects selected, eight are from industry, 17 from universities and 20 from DOE labs as well as other public, private and international researchers.

University researchers receiving INCITE awards include: Auburn University in Auburn, GA; Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO; Fisk University in Nashville, TN; Northwestern University in Evanston, IL; University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ; University of California campuses at Davis, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Cruz, CA; University of Chicago in IL; University of Colorado in Boulder, CO; University of Maryland in College Park, MD; University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI; University of Rochester in Rochester, NY; University of Washington in Seattle, WA; University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.

DOE scientists receiving awards conduct research at: DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL; DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA; DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM; DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, WV, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ; DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories in  Albuquerque, NM; DOE’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Stanford, CA, and DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA.

INCITE awards also were made to leading industry partners, including: ANSYS, Inc.; The Boeing Company; Corning Incorporated; Gene Network Sciences, Inc.; General Atomics; General Motors Corporation; Pratt and Whitney; and Procter and Gamble.

Awards were also made to researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany; CERFACS, the European Center for Research and Advanced Training in Scientific Computation in France; and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Through INCITE, now in its fifth year, scientists at national laboratories, universities and industry are tackling a wide range of scientific challenges such as studying protein folding to improve disease treatment and prevention, modeling climate change to improve the accuracy of scientific predictions, developing future energy sources and simulating combustion chemistry to design cleaner, more efficient energy systems.

This year’s INCITE applications ranged from developing nanomaterials to advancing the nation’s basic understanding of physics and chemistry, and from designing quieter cars to improving commercial aircraft design.

The projects cover:

  • Energy, including cleaner-burning coal, designing advanced systems for fusion energy and nuclear power, and improving combustion to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Biology, such as studying the causes of Parkinson’s disease, simulating electrical activity in the heart, and understanding protein membranes.
  • Climate change, including improving climate models, studying the effects of turbulence in oceans, and simulating clouds on a global scale.
  • Astrophysics, such as modeling supernova explosions and simulating black holes.

As DOE supercomputing centers increase the size of their systems, scientists can receive more computing time, which allows them to conduct more detailed and accurate simulations of scientific problems.  Processor-hours refer to how time is allocated on a supercomputer.  A project receiving one million hours could run on 1,000 processors for 1,000 hours, or about 41 days.  Running a one-million-hour project on a dual-processor desktop computer would take more than 57 years.

The next round of the INCITE competition will be announced this summer.  Expansion of the DOE Office of Science’s computational capabilities should approximately quadruple the 2009 INCITE award allocations to close to a billion processor hours.  This opportunity, available to all on a competitive basis, will lead to scientific discovery on an unprecedented scale.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and ensures U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines.  The Office of Science offers more information about DOE’s world-class supercomputer capabilities.

Media contact: Angela Hill, (202) 586-4940