Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A new record for a high-performance computing calculation set on the Laboratory’s Sequoia supercomputer was awarded the Gordon Bell Prize for peak performance at the SC13 Conference in Denver, Colorado, last November. Scientists at ETH Zurich and IBM Research, in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich and Lawrence Livermore, performed the largest simulation ever in fluid dynamics using 6.4 million threads on the 96-rack Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q machine. The prize was awarded for an 11-petaflops (quadrillion floating-point operations per second) simulation of cloud cavitation collapse (shown at right). Livermore computer scientists Adam Bertsch and Scott Futral were members of the winning team. Named for C. Gordon Bell, one of the founders of supercomputing, the Gordon Bell Prize is awarded to innovators who advance high-performance computing. The prize is administered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

In another announcement at the conference, the 20-petaflops Sequoia retained its No. 1 ranking on the Graph 500 list, which ranks the world’s most powerful computer systems for data-intensive computing. The list gets its name from graph-type problems, or algorithms, that are a core part of many analytics workloads. Sequoia traversed more than 15,363 billion graph edges per second. Dave Fox, systems lead for Sequoia, led the Livermore work on the Graph 500 calculation, and Fabrizio Petrini led the IBM team. Data-intensive computing, also called “big data,” has become increasingly important to Laboratory missions as high-performance computing platforms have become increasingly powerful, producing enormous quantities of information.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recognized three of Lawrence Livermore’s projects with 2013 Sustainability Awards. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) received a Best in Class Award for waste reduction and pollution prevention. The NIF and Photon Science Principal Directorate has implemented numerous program improvements that have significantly reduced low-level radiological waste generation, product use, and costs and time spent managing hazards. In addition, the Laboratory garnered a Best in Class Award for its holistic waste reduction program and an Environmental Stewardship Award for sustainable landscape.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium’s (FLC) Far West Region competition honored four Lawrence Livermore teams for outstanding technology development, outstanding partnerships, and outstanding commercialization. FLC is a nationwide network of federal laboratories and provides a forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies with the marketplace.

A team of scientists and engineers received an Outstanding Technology Development Award for developing DNA-Tagged Reagents for Aerosol Experiments (DNATrax), a safe and versatile material that can be used to reliably and rapidly diagnose airflow patterns and problems in both indoor and outdoor venues. (See S&TR, October/November 2013, DNA-Tagged Sugar Particles Simulate Aerosol Airflow Patterns.) The Livermore scientists who developed DNATrax include team lead George Farquar, Elizabeth Wheeler, Ruth Udey, Beth Vitalis, Roald Leif, Brian Baker, Christine Hara, Cindy Thomas, Maxim Shusteff, and Sally Hall.

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) garnered an Outstanding Partnership Award for developing a rapid method for detecting viable anthrax-causing spores. The collaboration team includes Staci Kane, Sonia Letant, Gloria Murphy, and Teneile Alfaro of Lawrence Livermore and Sanjiv Shah of EPA.

Another collaboration was honored with an Outstanding Partnership Award for developing the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF), which serves the data-driven needs of the climate research community. The collaborative team includes Livermore’s Dean N. Williams, principal investigator for ESGF, and 11 partner institutions.

Finally, in 2008, QuantaLife, Inc., a Pleasanton, California, startup company, licensed a Laboratory technology called digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The technology is a refinement of real-time PCR that allows researchers to quantify and amplify nucleic acids, including DNA and RNA. Livermore Business Development Executive (BDE) Catherine Elizondo and former BDE Ida Shum worked with Laboratory researchers and QuantaLife to negotiate and manage the license agreement and business relationships. The work of the Laboratory’s Industrial Partnerships Office, QuantaLife, and its successor company received an Outstanding Commercialization Success Award. The founder of QuantaLife and the co-inventor of the technology is Bill Colston, a former Livermore employee.

Two Laboratory scientists were selected as 2013 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). John Moody of the NIF and Photon Science Principal Directorate was cited in the plasma physics category for “pioneering experiments contributing to understanding propagation, scattering, transmission, and redirection of high-intensity laser beams in large-scale plasmas for inertial confinement fusion.” Pravesh Patel of the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate was cited in the plasma physics category for “pioneering contributions in the science of ultraintense laser–matter interaction and particle acceleration and applications for creating and probing high-energy-density plasma states, and for his leadership in advancing the fast-ignition concept for inertial confinement fusion.”