Friday, June 26, 2009

IBM 'Roadrunner' holds world's fastest computer crown

The Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos. LANL photo.

IBM's Roadrunner supercomputer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory held on to its title as the world's fastest computer, followed once again by Cray's Jaguar.
The biannual Top500 list, released Tuesday at the 2009 International Supercomputing Conference, also saw two new systems enter the top 10.

Both systems -- the IBM BlueGene/P called Jugene and the Juropa, which is built from Novascale and Sun Microsystems Sun Blade x6048 server -- were at Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany. See the f
ull story here.

LANL's Roadrunner Still World's Fastest

Los Alamos National Laboratory's Roadrunner supercomputer remains the fastest in the world. It's the third time in a row the northern New Mexico laboratory's computer has led the Top 500 list, issued twice a year.

The Roadrunner turned in a performance of 1.105 petaflops per second. A petaflop is a quadrillion floating-point operations per second. See the
full story here.

World's fastest computer

There's a computer at Los Alamos National Lab that's ranked as the fastest in the world, and it gets that distinction for the third time running. As KSFR's Cynthia Cook reports, people at the Lab think there's more going on there than just bragging rights. Hear the
KSFR report here!

LANL has role to play in evolving discussion on energy efficiency

Dean Peterson suggests we seriously consider the advantages of superconducting. A Los Alamos scientist, Peterson is associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Superconductivity Center, where a number of research and development projects have been underway for the last several years. See the
full story here.

A new approach to engineering for extreme environments

Michael Demkowicz, an assistant professor in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is part of a team based at Los Alamos National Laboratory that recently received a federal Energy Frontier Research Centers grant to develop nanocomposite materials that can endure high temperatures, radiation and extreme mechanical loading. See the
full story here.

NASA's Mars Odyssey alters orbit to study warmer ground

Pastel colors swirl across Mars, revealing differences in the composition and nature of the surface. (NASA)

Mars Odyssey, launched in 2001, is managed by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project. Science partners include Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, which provided the [spacecraft's] neutron spectrometer. See the full story here.

Bomb squad takes over plane to train

The [robot] rodeo may sound like fun, but the event is all pressure as there are stages that get more complex as the competition goes along.

Los Alamos National Lab's bomb squad team member Robert Clark says, "We are pushing ourselves and the robots to the limit so that we know our limit, we know the robots limit, and we can operate within that envelop." See the video here.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for June 19

LANL, UCLA study monitoring of pandemics

Hunting for the source of the next pandemic disease is a bit like hunting for a unique and strategically placed feather amid a 100-acre Southeast Asian animal farm.

The building blocks for a massive outbreak could be hiding anywhere, just waiting to come together inside the bodies of birds, pigs or humans, among the myriad other creatures out there.

Keeping an eye on disease risk in the billions of animals we rely on daily for food and other products is a daunting task at best, but scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles, are developing a new strategy that could make the task much easier. See the full story here.

Fast neutral hydrogen detected coming from the moon

IBEX Hi sensor, built by Los Alamos National Lab and Southwest Research Institute. (SRI photo)

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft has made the first observations of very fast hydrogen atoms coming from the moon, following decades of speculation and searching for their existence.

During spacecraft commissioning, the IBEX team turned on the IBEX-Hi instrument, built primarily by Southwest Research Institute and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which measures atoms with speeds from about half a million to 2.5 million miles per hour. See the full story here.

Oppenheimer and Fermi: two developers of the first atomic bomb

I'm Sarah Long. And I'm Steve Ember with People in America in VOA Special English. Today we report about two scientists, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi, who helped lead the world into the nuclear age. Hear the broadcast here!

Lab publishes June issue of Currents magazine

This special issue of the Lab’s employee magazine is geared to the summer students of Los Alamos.

The cover story highlights Joseph Aguilar, a graduate student studying archaeology who works with the Lab’s Cultural Resources Team.
See Currents here!Link Link

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Agilent, Los Alamos, UCLA team up on pathogen detection tool

An artist's representation of how a High-Throughput Laboratory Network might look when fully developed. LANL illustration.

Agilent Technologies announced today that it is working with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health to develop an automated genotyping system for quickly identifying pathogens such as the influenza A H1N1 virus.
Read more here.

Panel hears eco-park proposal

Dr. Nate McDowell of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (U.S. House of Representatives photo)

In a statement at the [Congressional] hearing, Nate McDowell, director of the Los Alamos Environmental Research Park, said the seven [National Environmental Research Parks] represented six major vegetative zones and that they can play a valuable role in understanding the relationships between the terrestrial environment and the changing climate. See the
whole story here.

What did we learn from the swine flu scare?

Dr. Tim Germann, the LANL scientist responsible for the EpiCast pandemic mapping system, tells SFR that predictions were made too early to be reliable and only now is data emerging that will help researchers adapt their computer models to H1N1.

"The big uncertainty is how many people have been exposed without becoming sick," Germann says. "It may be that there are a lot more people who have been exposed and developed resistance that we don't know about." Read more here.

A helmet of sensors maps brain function

Physicist Robert Kraus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory has helped develop a helmet of sensors that can be used with a technique called magnetoencephalography to observe tiny electrical currents in the brain. Listen to the webcast here.

NNSA favors continued operation of Los Alamos accelerator

NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino.

A top federal nuclear official this week endorsed continued operation of a Los Alamos National Laboratory research complex, splitting with Obama administration budget officials who had said the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center was no longer needed.

Tom D'Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, told members of a Senate subcommittee that the Neutron Science Center is important to maintaining U.S. nuclear weapons. Read the
whole story here.

Brachytherapy software enables precise dose calculation with high speed

New brachytherapy software enables clinicians to rapidly calculate patient doses for brachytherapy treatments, a form of radiotherapy, with an extremely high level of accuracy.

A significantly more accurate way of calculating the dosimetry of cancer treatments, the BrachyVision Acuros, was presented by Varian Medical Systems, Inc. at the GEC-ESTRO exhibition in Porto, Portugal.

“The release of BrachyVision Acuros marks the culmination of decades of research, first at Los Alamos National Laboratory and then at Transpire. . . .”

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News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for June 5

LANL sends 'hotter' waste to WIPP

Remote handled waste truck arrives at WIPP. WIPP photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory shipped its first cask of a new category of highly radioactive waste Tuesday to a permanent disposal site. The waste left Los Alamos at 5 p.m. Tuesday, headed for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeast New Mexico….read more here.

LANL sends first batch of remote-handled waste to WIPP

Santa Fe New Mexican photo.

The truckload that left Los Alamos National Laboratory at 4:59 p.m. Tuesday for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad looked a bit like a dumbbell fit for the Incredible Hulk, but its insides weren't made of metal. Instead, the strange package contained a type of nuclear waste that has been waiting for about two years to leave lab property for final disposal, said Fred de Sousa, a LANL spokesman. See the complete story here.

Models' projections for flu miss mark by wide margin

Tim Germann, a computational scientist who worked on a 2006 flu forecast model at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he imagined there were now "a few hundred thousand" cases. (At their peaks, epidemics are thought to double in as little as three days, which could drive the number into the millions, but Dr. Germann said he would not use such a rapid doubling rate unless it was a cold November and no countermeasures, like closing schools, were being taken.) See the whole story here.

Safeguards by design

Facility design can aid or frustrate international safeguards efforts
There has been considerable enthusiasm and promise for a nuclear renaissance, but the renaissance can only occur if there is public confidence in nuclear power.

A crucial part of the effort to expand nuclear power in the United States and other technologically advanced states—and introduce nuclear power to developing states—will be the “3S” concept: safety, security and safeguards.
Read more here.

Researchers break through plant cell barrier

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have discovered weak spots within the lignocelluloses of plant cell walls which could be targeted by cellulose enzymes, resulting in more efficient material break- down and more cost-effective ethanol production. SOURCE: LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have identified potential weaknesses among sheets of cellulose molecules comprising the lignocelluloses in plant cell walls - a discovery which could lead to more cost-effective cellulosic ethanol production. Read more here.

LANL cheers on local volunteers

Eric Holmes speaking at Tuesday's volunteer recognition event at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos.

If a normal work year amounts to 2,080 hours at 40 hours a week, how did Los Alamos National Laboratory “top volunteer” Eric Holmes rack up 1,637 volunteer hours last year?

“Twenty-four hours a day on weekends and eight hours at night,” he said. See the
story here.

Also this past week in the Los Alamos Monitor:

A rover named Curiosity

The NASA rover was previously named the Mars Science Laboratory. NASA illustration.

The Mars rover that will be carrying two instruments from Los Alamos National Laboratory has a name. In a national competition, Clara Ma, a sixth-grader from Kansas submitted the winning entry, "Curiosity."

She wins a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Roger Wiens, principle investigator for ChemCam, the remote-sensing laser instrument that will be on the mast of Curiosity, said he liked the name because it in line with the two current robot explorers, and the one before that, Sojourner. See the full story here.

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