Friday, July 21, 2017

Trinity Supercomputer’s Haswell and KNL partitions are merged

Trinity Supercomputer, LANL photo.    

Trinity supercomputer’s two partitions – one based on Intel Xeon Haswell processors and the other on Xeon Phi Knights Landing – have been fully integrated are now available for use on classified work in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, according to an announcement today. The KNL partition had been undergoing testing and was available for non-classified science work.

“The main benefit of doing open science was to find any remaining issues with the system hardware and software before Trinity is turned over for production computing in the classified environment,” said Trinity project director Jim Lujan. (Full story)

If these (Martian) rocks could talk

The ChemCam instrument aboard Mars Curiosity, NASA image.

Finding the element boron might not seem exciting, but if you find it on Mars and you’re interested in alien life, it’s a big deal. Like manganese, another element that NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered in surprising abundance on Mars, boron has a lot to say about the habitability of the Red Planet.

Understanding how these elements got there and the implications to our search for life on Mars is part of Curiosity’s mission. To help find out, Los Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the French Space Agency CNES, developed an instrument called ChemCam. (Full story)

LANL scientists engage industry at DisruptTECH

Miles Beaux, right, helped develop new “vacuum balloons” as a low-cost replacement for helium balloons, LANL photo.

New, cutting-edge technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratory got their first public hearing on potential market applications at the lab’s third annual DisrupTECH conference on Thursday.

Lab scientists unveiled nearly a dozen inventions to about 100 investors, businesspeople and technology transfer professionals from around New Mexico and elsewhere at the event, organized in partnership with the New Mexico Angels investor group. (Full story)

Los Alamos scientist explores the outer reaches of the periodic table

Stosh Kozimor, LANL photo.

In a Q&A, Los Alamos National Laboratory Staff Scientist Stosh Kozimor discusses the challenges of doing research on the actinides and their potential application in cancer therapy.

How difficult is it to work with actinides?

When you have highly radioactive samples, you want to limit your personal exposure to them, and the material is usually very scarce and incredibly valuable. So there’s a lot of up-front work using nonradioactive surrogates to make sure the entire process is well rehearsed and your hands develop muscle memory. (Full story)

NASA about to test a nuclear fission reactor

Kilopower reactors on Mars, illustration from big think.

NASA has given new life to the idea of using nuclear fission to power space missions, something it last considered in the 1960s. Now for three years, it's been funding the development of a project called Kilopower that could be the key to colonizing Mars and other planets.

The reactors are being developed at the Los Alamos National Lab, in partnership with NASA Research Centers and other DOE National labs. (Full story)

Encryption keys too predictable, warn security researchers

Whitewood entropy engine, from Whitewood.    

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have found that most random number generators used for encryption keys are not truly random. They found that encryption keys are potentially predictable because software-based random number generators – typically part of the operating system – have a limited capacity.

To address this problem, the quantum security team at LANL spent a decade developing and perfecting the ability to deliver pure entropy – the foundation of randomness – using quantum technology. (Full story)

National awards recognize Los Alamos National Laboratory leadership In nuclear safeguards

Nancy Jo Nicholas and Martyn Swinhoe, LANL photos.

Two Los Alamos National Laboratory employees were recognized today by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management for their contributions to the nuclear safeguards profession.

Nancy Jo Nicholas, the Laboratory’s associate director for threat identification and response, was recognized with the Edway R. Johnson Meritorious Service award. Martyn Swinhoe, a physicist in the safeguards science and technology group, received the Vincent J. DeVito Distinguished Service award. (Full story)