NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog

Supercomputer simulations of blast waves on the brain are being compared with clinical studies of veterans suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and University of New Mexico. The intent is to help improve helmet designs.

The research team hopes to identify threshold levels of stress and energy on which better military and sports helmet designs could be based. They could be used to program sensors placed on helmets to show whether a blast is strong enough to cause injuries.

Read about the work.

About the photo:
Each millimeter square in this model represents the type of tissue in that square. Sandia and UNM researchers are comparing supercomputer simulations of the physical effects of blast waves on the brain with Ford's analyses of patients who have suffered such injuries. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Nov 19, 2012 at 10:00 am

NNSA’s Sequoia supercomputer, housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is ready to shake out and fully develop its capabilities required to fulfill its national security missions, starting early next year.

Researchers from NNSA's three nuclear weapons laboratories are testing Sequoia's power and versatility by running unclassified science codes relevant to NNSA missions. Science being explored by Lawrence Livermore researchers includes high energy density plasmas and the electronic structure of heavy metals.

The early science runs are part of the "shakeout" of the 20-petaflop peak IBM BlueGene/Q system, which will transition in March 2013 to classified work for NNSA's Advanced Simulation and Computing program, a cornerstone of the effort to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent without underground testing. Sequoia's mammoth computational power will be used to assess physical weapons systems and provide a more accurate atomic-level understanding of the behavior of materials in the extreme conditions present in a nuclear weapon.

Read more about Sequoia.

Sequoia

Nov 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Criticality safety expert Michaele C. “Mikey” Brady RaapCriticality safety expert Michaele C. “Mikey” Brady Raap, from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was recently appointed a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Criticality Safety Support Group (CSSG). The CSSG supports the DOE Nuclear Criticality Safety Program by providing operational and technical expertise involving experiments, nuclear data, methods, training, organizational structures and criticality safety evaluations. As a CSSG member, She will provide technical support to DOE missions including stockpile stewardship, materials stabilization, transportation, storage, facilities decommissioning and waste disposal.

Brady Raap was selected for her exceptional experience and knowledge, including 25 years of contributions in criticality safety and nuclear engineering. She has supported NNSA across a variety of programs. She was the lead criticality safety engineer supporting the disposition of excess plutonium from the nation’s dismantled nuclear weapons.

She contributed to nuclear criticality safety assessments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex. Currently she provides technical expertise for NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials at civilian sites worldwide. She has also supported DOE projects related to waste tank storage and the transportation, storage and disposal of commercial spent nuclear fuel.

Nov 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Jolie A. Cizewski, APS November Woman Physicist of the Month

Jolie A. Cizewski of Rutgers University has been selected as the Woman Physicist of the Month for November by the American Physical Society (APS). She is the director of NNSA’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliance (SSAA) Center of Excellence for Radioactive Ion Beam Studies for Stewardship Science and has served in that capacity since 2003. The Center conducts leading-edge nuclear physics research using short-lived nuclei produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Michigan State University and elsewhere.

“The award by the American Physical Society is a tribute to the excellent work done by Professor Cizewski and her team,” said Dr. Chris Deeney, NNSA’s Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Stewardship. “We are extremely proud of the NNSA’s academic programs and the superb scientists we support.”

The award recognizes female physicists who have positively impacted other individuals’ lives and careers.

Read more about Cizewski.

About the photo:
Jolie A. Cizewski and her former postdoc Nick Fotiades who is currently a LANL staff member check out the GEANIE array of Compton suppressed Ge detectors at The Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE).

Nov 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Scholarship winners Sara Lemmonds and Wes Jenkins

In its ongoing support of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, Y-12 recently awarded a total of $5,000 in scholarships to Roane State Community College freshmen Wes Jenkins and Sara Lemmonds.

Recipients of the Y-12 STEM Scholarship must be full-time students at Roane State pursuing a degree in one of the STEM fields of study. Jenkins is a Harriman High School graduate and plans to major in biology. Lemmonds graduated from Oak Ridge High School and is enrolled in the college’s pre-med program.

Read more about the scholarships.

About the photo:
From left: Y-12 Commercialization manager Jeremy Benton chats with STEM Scholarship winners Sara Lemmonds and Wes Jenkins about Y-12’s opportunities for students pursuing a degree in one of the STEM fields of study.

Nov 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NNSA’s nearly two decade partnership with IBM, which has produced an unparalleled record of top-ranked supercomputers and award winning computational science, was celebrated recently at LLNL.

Calling computing the “intellectual electricity” of the laboratory, Parney Albright, LLNL's Laboratory Director, said that “we embed computation into the DNA of LLNL organizations” and as a result “it’s hard to find a project at the Lab that doesn’t involve computing.” High performance computing (HPC) will remain critical to the Lab’s ability to fulfill its stockpile stewardship mission well into the future, he said.

The strength of the relationship allowed the development of Deep Computing Solutions, a partnership within LLNL’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC), which aims to “make Vulcan and the Laboratory’s HPC ecosystem available to U.S. industry to advance the nation’s competitiveness,” Albright said.

Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA's Chief Scientist and director of the Office of Science and Policy,, said the strength of the relationship has produced “ a remarkable line of success: novel insight into national security issues, novel product lines, breaking the speed of computing over and over; lasting marks in this enterprise.” Of the 34 cycles of worldwide top supercomputer rankings from 1996 through 2012, NNSA has been recognized 21 times for #1 systems, 14 of which with IBM and 11 with IBM and LLNL.

“There are many complex faces of this partnership,” Kusnezov said. “It can be very ugly at times. At other times there is glory to be celebrated. We recognize the differences in our needs,” he said. “It is the communication between all of us that has made this work. If we did not build in the flexibility rooted in trust into our partnership, we would fail.”

The impact of the partnership on NNSA’s national security missions has demonstrated simulation as the increasingly cost-effective means to examine the array of national security problems we face, and help frame the context for next generation exascale systems, Kusnezov said.

John Kelly III, director of IBM Research, reminded the audience that the IBM relationship went back to 1954 with the purchase of IBM 701 machines. The HPC advancements under the ASCI program, which began in the mid-1990s have contributed to IBM’s commercial success, Kelly said. “In the end we’re a business. The technologies we’ve developed have broader application and have made it into our commercial systems.”

The development of the BlueGene line of supercomputers “put us on an entirely different trajectory,” he said. “It took risk. Failure was not an option. What galvanized us was your mission and your success in that mission. It’s what inspires us moving forward.”

Nov 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Titan, a new supercomputer located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has taken over the top spot as the world’s most powerful according to the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. NNSA’s Sequoia supercomputer, housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is now ranked as the second fastest supercomputer. Sequoia was previously ranked as the fastest last June.

This brings the total number of DOE systems in the fastest 20 to five, with: Mira at Argonne National Laboratory, ranked fourth; Cielo, located at Los Alamos National Laboratory and operated jointly by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, ranked 18th; and Hopper at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ranked 19th.

“The nation that leads the world in high-performance computing will have an enormous competitive advantage across a broad range of sectors, including national defense, science and medicine, energy production, transmission and distribution, storm weather and climate prediction, finance, commercial product development, and manufacturing,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “Titan joins the Department’s top-ranking supercomputers in equipping our nation’s researchers with the tools needed to keep the United States on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Read more about DOE’s rankings. Check out complete list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

Nov 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

A new American Quarter Horse sculpture is now on display at Pantex outside Building 16-12, a first stop for visitors. The horse is a unifying symbol within the community, and horses with various designs are on display across Amarillo at banks, restaurants, civic organizations, hospitals, factories, schools and retail stores.

The Plant’s 125-pound fiberglass American Quarter Horse sculpture was painted by artist Gary Ward and features a rendering of the American flag, an eagle, and wind turbines. It was purchased from Amarillo Center City as part of its Hoof Prints project, which began in 2002 to provide eye-catching landmarks. Proceeds benefit Center City, an organization that works to enhance downtown Amarillo.

Nov 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently held a workshop focusing on how high performance computing can accelerate the development of new energy technologies. The activities are part of NNSA’s Livermore Valley Open Campus.

Under a pilot program called the “hpc4energy Incubator,” U.S. energy companies are using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers and collaborating with LLNL technical experts to design a cleaner, more efficient combustion engine; improve gas drilling technology; better analyze energy use in buildings; and make the electric grid more reliable. The "hpc4energy incubator" workshop represented a new way for industry and government labs to work together on problems of national importance.

Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA's Chief Scientist and director of the Office of Science and Policy, delivered opening remarks at the workshop on the challenges facing U.S. competitiveness and the importance of leveraging national laboratories to meet broad national needs. Participants included energy industry executives and project technical leads from Robert Bosch LLC, GE Energy Management, GE Global Research, ISO New England, Potter Drilling, Inc., and United Technologies Research Center.

Nov 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Kirsten E. McNeil, Foreign Affairs Specialist, U.S. Export Enforcement Support, Office of Nonproliferation and International Security at NNSA, has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Linton Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service. She was recognized today for her outstanding service to NNSA. Former NNSA Administrator Brooks and NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino presented the medal to Kirsten.

Among Kirsten's many accomplishments, she was instrumental in NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) development of a sustained effort to adapt a unique set of NNSA assets to support U.S. enforcement. Kirsten’s commitment, professionalism and cutting-edge efforts have resulted in a dedicated support program through which NNSA provides coordinated training and real-time technical reach-back support for U.S. enforcement agencies.

Additionally, as the lead point of contact between NNSA and all U.S. export enforcement agencies, Kirsten has created strong working level interagency partnerships, and has helped to elevate the dual–use smuggling issue. These accomplishments demonstrate her devotion to the NNSA mission and commitment to excellence in the service of national security.

Kirsten has a Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University and both a Master and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University. Kirsten resides in northern Virginia with her husband Sean and their 14-month old daughter, Claire.

The Linton F. Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service, named for former NNSA Administrator Brooks, was established in 2008 to recognize employees with fewer than five years of civilian Federal service and fewer than five years of professional experience, whose actions and deeds exemplify the spirit of public service commitment.

Nov 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm