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ORNL receives Exascale Computing Project awards to develop next-gen applications

September 07, 2016

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 7, 2016--The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has received funding from DOE's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) to develop applications for future exascale systems that will be 50 to 100 times more powerful than today's fastest supercomputers.

The first round of ECP funding totals $39.8 million for 22 proposals representing teams from 45 research and academic organizations. The awards, announced today, target advanced modeling and simulation solutions to specific challenges supporting key DOE missions in science, clean energy and national security, as well as collaborations such as the Precision Medicine Initiative with the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.

Exascale refers to high-performance computing systems capable of at least a billion billion calculations per second, which is up to 100 times faster than the nation's most powerful supercomputers in use today. The application efforts will help guide DOE's development of a U.S. exascale ecosystem as part of President Obama's National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI).

The ECP's multiyear mission is to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing for U.S. economic competitiveness, national security and scientific discovery. In addition to applications, the DOE project addresses hardware, software, platforms and workforce development needs critical to the effective development and deployment of future exascale systems.

"These application development awards are a major first step toward achieving mission critical application readiness on the path to exascale," said ECP director Paul Messina.

ORNL researchers and technical staff will participate in 12 of the 22 projects.

ORNL's Paul Kent will lead the development of the application QMCPACK: A Framework for Predictive and Systematically Improvable Quantum?Mechanics Based Simulations of Materials, with Argonne, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories, Stone Ridge Technology, Intel and Nvidia.

ORNL's Thomas Evans will lead development of Coupled Monte Carlo Neutronics and Fluid Flow Simulation of Small Modular Reactors, with Argonne and Idaho national laboratories and MIT.

ORNL's John Turner will lead development of Transforming Additive Manufacturing through Exascale Simulation (TrAMEx), with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

ORNL will also support application development for:
  • Exascale Deep Learning and Simulation Enabled Precision Medicine for Cancer, led by Argonne National Laboratory
  • Exascale Predictive Wind Plant Flow Physics Modeling, led by National Renewable Energy Laboratory;
  • NWChemEx: Tackling Chemical, Materials and Biomolecular Challenges in the Exascale Era, led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;
  • High-Fidelity Whole Device Modeling of Magnetically Confined Fusion Plasma, led by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory;
  • Transforming Combustion Science and Technology with Exascale Simulations, led by Sandia National Laboratories;
  • Cloud-Resolving Climate Modeling of the Earth's Water Cycle, led by Sandia National Laboratories;
  • Enabling GAMESS for Exascale Computing in Chemistry & Materials, led by Ames National Laboratory;
  • Multiscale Coupled Urban Systems, led by Argonne National Laboratory;
  • Exascale Models of Stellar Explosions: Quintessential Multi-Physics Simulation, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
About ECP

The ECP is a collaborative effort of two DOE organizations - the Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. As part of President Obama's National Strategic Computing initiative, ECP was established to develop a capable exascale ecosystem, encompassing applications, system software, hardware technologies and architectures, and workforce development to meet the scientific and national security mission needs of DOE in the mid-2020s timeframe.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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