Jefferson Lab's Data Center, JLab photo: Aileen Devlin

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Gets SciDAC Boost

Efforts to harness the power of supercomputers to better understand the hidden worlds inside the nucleus of the atom recently received a big boost. A project led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is one of three to split $35 million in grants from the DOE via a partnership program of DOE’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC).

Each of the projects receiving the grants are joint projects between DOE’s Nuclear Physics (NP) and Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) programs via a partnership program of SciDAC.  As supercomputers become ever-more powerful, scientists need advanced tools to take full advantage of their capabilities. For example, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Lab now hosts the world’s first public exascale supercomputer. Its Frontier supercomputer has achieved 1 exaFLOPS in capability by demonstrating it can perform one billion-billion calculations per second.

“Nuclear physics is a rich, diverse and exciting area of research explaining the origins of visible matter. And in nuclear physics, high-performance computing is a critically important tool in our efforts to unravel the origins of nuclear matter in our universe,” said Robert Edwards, a senior staff scientist and deputy group leader of Jefferson Lab’s Center for Theoretical and Computational Physics.

Edwards is the principal investigator for one of the three projects. His project, “Fundamental nuclear physics at the exascale and beyond,” will build a solid foundation of software resources for nuclear physicists to address key questions regarding the building blocks of the visible universe. The project seeks to help nuclear physicists tease out questions about the basic properties of particles, such as the ubiquitous proton.

JLab photo credit: Aileen Devlin

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