There’s a lot of scientific research projects out there that could produce some interesting results, if only they had access to a supercomputer. With that in mind, this week the US Department of Energy (DoE) announced that it has awarded 57 deserving projects with a total of almost 1.7 billion processor hours on two of its (and the world’s) most powerful computers. It’s part of the DoE’s cleverly-acronymed Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, the aim is of which is primarily “to further renewable energy solutions and understand of the environmental impacts of energy use.” That said, the program is open to all scientists in need of heavy-duty data crunching.
The computers that will be doing the work are the Cray XT5 ("Jaguar") at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the IBM Blue Gene/P ("Intrepid") at Argonne National Laboratory. Jaguar’s capacity is described as being roughly equivalent to 109,000 laptops all working together to solve the same problem, while Intrepid’s is more in the neighborhood of 26,000.
The winning INCITE projects were selected in a peer review process, and evaluated for computational readiness. According to the DoE, “Selected projects were chosen for their potential to advance scientific discoveries, speed technological innovations, and strengthen industrial competitiveness and for their ability to make use of hundreds of thousands of processors to work in concert to do so.”
The projects, which span everything from treating Parkinson’s Disease to simulating earthquakes to better understanding lithium/air batteries, can be seen on a DoE PDF.