Friday, April 11, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for April 7-11

Knocking on the Door of the Petaflops Era (HPC Wire)

The International Supercomputing Conference has long had the reputation as the conference to attend to get the answers to the most pressing questions in high performance computing. But when ISC '08 convenes June 17-20, one question is likely to predominate: will the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world's top supercomputers be dominated by a system performing one quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop/s)? "While I was willing to go out on a limb in 1997 and predict that within eight years we would only have teraflops systems on the TOP500 list in 2005 -- and fortunately this was the case -- I am not quite ready to predict what we will see in June at position number one," said Prof. Hans Meuer, general chair of ISC '08 and co-founder of the TOP500 list. "But there is certainly a hot candidate in IBM's Roadrunner machine at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S." (full story)

Sonoma eyes wastewater as an energy source

When most people think alternative energy, solar, wind or biofuels come to mind. Sonoma County officials want to add another source to the list: treated wastewater. A pilot program taking root in a nondescript business park near the Charles M. Schulz Airport just north of Santa Rosa would use highly treated water pumped from a nearby plant to heat and cool buildings, with the additional promise of using the piped water to irrigate landscaping and vineyards. If the ambitious, expensive plan gets off the ground, environmental planners in similar-size cities around the country theoretically could use the template - developed in part by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory - to slash power bills and better use every last drop of water. (full story)

BBC visits Laboratory

Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering Terry Wallace, with Stephen Fry, left, listen to producer John Paul Davidson, right, in the Scanning Probe Microscopy Laboratory at Los Alamos's Materials Science Laboratory last Friday. The BBC television crew was preparing for the filming of an episode of Stephen Fry in America. The BBC production is scheduled to air in England this fall and in the United States in 2009.

Davidson is the nephew of the late Manhattan Project pioneer Hans Bethe.

Read all about it!

Sound unleashes strength beneath surface
LANL scientist says vibrations break down material underground, helping spread quakes

The ground doesn't quickly forget the loud pumping guitar riffs of an outdoor AC/DC conc
ert. It remembers the sound for 24 hours or longer, well after the band has packed up and the throngs of screaming fans have left the area. This memory isn't something you can see, not with the naked eye. But if you pass the same sound through the ground again in that 24-hour phase, the sound wave will travel faster than it did the first time, and gradually slow down until the ground resets a day or two later, said Paul Johnson, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (full story)