PPPL to participate in the US DOE's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing Program

August 15, 2001

Plainsboro, New Jersey -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been awarded funding under the new "Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC)" Program. Nationally, 51 projects will receive a total of $57 million this year from the DOE to advance fundamental research in several areas, including climate modeling, fusion energ, chemical sciences, nuclear astrophysics, high-energy physics, and high-performance computing. The projects involve collaborations among 13 DOE laboratories and more than 50 colleges and universities.

Managed by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy, PPPL performs research in fusion energy science, leading to the development of an abundant and environmentally attractive means of generating electricity.

SciDAC is an integrated program that will help create a new generation of scientific simulation codes. The codes will take full advantage of the extraordinary computing capabilities of terascale computers (computers capable of doing trillions of calculations per second) to address ever larger, more complex problems. The program also includes research on improved mathematical and computing systems software that will allow these codes to use modern parallel computers effectively and efficiently. Additionally, the program will develop "collaboratory" software to enable geographically separated scientists to effectively work together as a team, to control scientific instruments remotely, and to share data more readily.

"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 Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "A major strength of many of the projects is a partnership between scientists at the Energy Department's national laboratories and universities."

PPPL researchers will participate in four SciDAC projects focused on the development and improvement of physics models and computer resources needed for integrated simulations of plasma confinement systems and data analysis. Plasmas are the hot, ionized gases that fuel the fusion process. Three of the projects will focus on fundamental phenomena including electromagnetic-wave-plasma interactions, plasma turbulence, and macroscopic stability of magnetically confined plasmas. The fourth project aims to develop a software "collaboratory" allowing workstation and supercomputer resources to be shared among fusion experiments for high-speed data analysis. The project will include tasks relating to security, high performance distributed computing, and networked collaborative visualization of scientific results. All totaled, PPPL will receive approximately $2 million for the four projects during the next three years.

DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

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