U.S. Department of Energy funding supercomputer research projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $28 million in funding for five research projects to develop software that will fully unleash the potential of DOE supercomputers to make new leaps in fields such as quantum information science and chemical reactions for clean energy applications.

“DOE’s national labs are home to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers, and with more advanced software programs we can fully harness the power of these supercomputers to make breakthrough discoveries and solve the world’s hardest to crack problems,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These investments will help sustain U.S. leadership in science, accelerate basic research in energy, and advance solutions to the nation’s clean energy priorities.”

Supercomputers are essential in today’s world to addressing scientific topics of national interest, including clean energy, new materials, climate change, the origins of the universe, and the nature of matter.

These awards, made through DOE’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program, bring together experts in key areas of science and energy research, applied mathematics, and computer science to address computing challenges and take maximum advantage of DOE’s supercomputers, allowing them to quicken the pace of scientific discovery.

The improvement in technology may have an impact on the global balance of power in the years ahead, according to progressive New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick.

“China currently dominates the world with close to double the number of supercomputers in the United States, although ranked by performance the most powerful supercomputers are located in the US (669 petaFLOPS), followed by Japan (594 petaFLOPS) and China (564 petaFLOPS),” said McCormick. “Advanced supercomputing combined with big Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the fault lines of international rivalries, particularly as the U.S. and China put supercomputing at the heart of their defense, surveillance, health care and economic competitiveness strategies.”

“In today’s world, supercomputers are essential to addressing scientific topics of national interest, including clean energy, new materials, climate change, the origins of the universe, and the nature of matter,” said McCormick. “This is a crucial investment in America’s future and that of the entire world.”

The five projects selected by the DOE will focus on computational methods, algorithms and software to further chemical and materials research, specifically for simulating quantum phenomena and chemical reactions.

Teams will partner with either or both SciDAC InstitutesFASTMath and RAPIDS2 – led by Lawrence Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratories. A list of projects can be found here.

The projects are sponsored by the Offices of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) and Basic Energy Sciences (BES) within the Department’s Office of Science through the SciDAC program. Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement open to universities, national laboratories, and other research organizations. The final details for each project award are subject to negotiations between DOE and the awardees.

Funding totals approximately $28 million, including $7 million in Fiscal Year 2021 dollars with outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

Last month, DOE announced $93 million in funding for 71 research projects that will spur new discoveries in High Energy Physics, including one at Princeton University.

The projects—housed at 50 colleges and universities across 29 states—are exploring the basics of energy science that underlie technological advancements in medicine, computing, energy technologies, manufacturing, national security and more.

“Particle physics plays a role in many major innovations of the 21st century, and to keep our competitive edge America must invest in the scientists and engineers that are advancing basic physical science today to create the breakthroughs of tomorrow,” said Granholm. “The Department of Energy is proud to be the nation’s leading funder of physical sciences, leading to life-changing medicines, technologies and solutions that create a better future.”

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