Friday, November 4, 2011

What are you working on today, Roadrunner?

Roadrunner belongs to the Department of Energy via Los Alamos National Lab. That means it often spends its processing time on rather ominous problems like nuclear weapons modeling and simulation to “assure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.” In other words, Roadrunner’s work is super top-secret classified.

But Roadrunner was willing to tell us--whilst glancing over both shoulders and dropping its voice slightly--that “models and simulations could include hydrodynamic mixing and turbulence of exotic materials under extreme conditions - temperatures at the core of the sun, time scales in the microseconds, and velocities of millions of miles per hour (full story).”

Secret security supercomputer Cielo, what are you working on today?

Maintaining America's nuclear deterrent is a 24x7 job, but Cielo isn't complaining

Installed this year, Cielo is Los Alamos National Labs’ newest nuclear weapons modeling and simulation platform. As such, specifics on what it’s working on at any given time are closely held. Cielo works for three national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Like its sister system Roadrunner, it performs advanced physics and predictive simulations to assure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent (full story).

Also in Popular Science:

Advanced supercomputer models supplant real-world nuclear weapons tests

After live nuclear testing ended in 1992, supercomputers supplanted explosions so scientists could continue studying how they work. The nation’s stockpile stewardship program, run by the NNSA at three national laboratories, checks the nation’s nukes for any problems.

Supercomputers at Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national labs conduct tests that can in some ways go beyond the detail of any live explosion (full story).

Supercomputers offer tools for nuclear testing — and solving nuclear mysteries

The simulation of the B-83, a device designed and developed by Livermore in the late years of the Cold War, marked the first time such a major fault in a nuclear weapon was detected largely by computer simulation, Goodwin said. “We have a more fundamental understanding of how these weapons work today than we ever imagined when we were blowing them up,” he added (full story).

Scientist: Global warming 'is real'

Los Alamos National Laboratory senior scientist Manvendra Dubey expressed similar sentiments Tuesday. "The uncertainties are big enough that I don't think we should be talking catastrophe," said Dubey, a co-chairman of this week’s Global and Regional Climate Change conference in Santa Fe (full story).

Also in the Journal this week:

Los Alamos tops nation in millionaires

Los Alamos has a higher percentage of millionaires than any other city in America, according to a new survey.

But it isn’t exactly “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” up there (full story).

LANL wins grant for antibody research

From the ABQ Journal - Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory will be getting a financial boost as they work to unravel the secrets of how many human genes function. The lab’s bioscience division has been awarded a grant worth more than $4 million from the NIH for the Antibody Library Project.

One way to expose a gene’s function is to take the protein it produces and generate specific antibodies. That’s usually done by vaccinating mice or rabbits (full story).

With improved cybersecurity, Los Alamos moves to cloud, wireless

The Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory has done a yeoman's job in fixing its cybersecurity problems from a decade ago, and now is moving into the cloud and going wireless.

Tom Harper, Los Alamos's chief information officer, said the organization is running an internal virtualized cloud to create an infrastructure-on-demand platform for its applications (full story).

LANL wins cyber security award

The SANS Institute announced Monday that Los Alamos National Laboratory has won the 2011 U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Award for their innovative use of vShield and other defense tools that represent a breakthrough model for securing virtual computing and private cloud deployments. As federal agencies and commercial organizations move quickly to take advantage of cloud computing, they are also concerned about the increasing risk of cyber-attacks
(full story).

Also in the Monitor this week:

It’s not if, but when

Rick Aster, the associate department chair and professor of geophysics at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology said "the building design is certainly seismically very, very strong. There is no doubt that the lab and DOE are taking this remote but nonzero probability of a large earthquake very seriously (full story)."

NNSA honors LANL's emergency operations team

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Defense Programs today announced the recipients of the Defense Programs’ Employee of the Quarter Awards.

The Emergency Operations Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory was recognized for “outstanding performance in the operations of the Emergency Operations Center and field response throughout the Los Conchas Fire, the largest wildfire in state history (full story).

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