Friday, October 30, 2009

Fastest supercomputer in the world models dark matter, HIV family tree simultaneously

Roadrunner Universe model seeks to better understand both dark energy and dark matter, the least understood constituents of the cosmos. LANL image.

In November of last year, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory switched on Roadrunner, the world's fastest computer. IBM and the Department of Energy built the machine to model nuclear explosions, but two new studies, both released today, are proof that the computer's massive power has been at least as devoted to peaceful science as to simulating thermonuclear weapons. Full Story.

Roadrunner supercomputer maps HIV family tree

LinkHIV phylogenetic tree is color coded by infected patient. LANL image.

Physicist Tanmoy Bhattacharya and HIV researcher Bette Korber are creating an evolutionary genetic family tree based on samples taken by the international Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology consortium, in order to compare the evolutionary history of more than 10,000 sequences from more than 400 people with HIV. Full Story.

Roadrunner models nonlinear physics
of high-power lasers

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Lin Yin and Brian Albright, along with Los Alamos guest scientist Kevin Bowers, are using an adapted version of a particle-in-cell plasma physics code . . . on the Laboratory's Roadrunner supercomputer to model the nonlinear physics of laser backscatter energy transfer and plasma instabilities to assist colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as they attempt to reach fusion ignition at NIF next year.
Full Story.

First-ever simulation of stretching silver nanowire over period of millisecond

Very tiny wires, called nanowires, made from such metals as silver and gold, may play a crucial role as electrical or mechanical switches in the development of future-generation ultrasmall nanodevices.
Full Story.

Additional stories this week about science on the Roadrunner supercomputer can be found at
United Press International and Electrical Engineering Times.

Carefully cleaning up the garbage at Los Alamos

Technical Area 21 at Los Alamos National Laboratory during a brief morning rain and hail storm. New York Times photo.

No one knows for sure what is buried in the Manhattan Project-era dump here. At the very least, there is probably a truck down there that was contaminated in 1945 at the Trinity test site, where the world's first nuclear explosion seared the sky and melted the desert sand 200 miles south of here during World War II. Full Story.

Creating an intelligent tomorrow

EspaƱola Schools Superintendent Janette Archuleta attributed some of these [math and science] gains to the LANL-supported Math and Science Academy programs. The MSA is a virtual academy that teaches the teachers, and has gradually won support for its rigorous professional development from five school districts in Northern New Mexico.
Full Story.

Navigator recalls bomb drop

The Enola Gay crew in 1945.

The man who navigated the world's first atomic bomb to its destructive destination in Hiroshima recalled on Sunday the explicit instruction his team was given that historic August day in 1945. Full Story (requires subscription or viewing an ad).

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