New buildings at PNNL boost computing research

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The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced the opening celebrations for new buildings on its campus that will boost research “in biological, computational and subsurface science and developments in bioenergy, carbon sequestration and homeland security.”

It’s interesting to me that these facilities seem to emphasize both the physical and computational sciences. In my day job its often one or the other, not both

In the [Biological Sciences Facility] BSF, scientists will focus on gaining a fundamental understanding of biological systems that are needed to more effectively use microorganisms for renewable bioenergy and carbon sequestration; prevent contaminants from moving through groundwater; and improve our systems-level understanding of how low-dose radiation and other factors affect human health. BSF will house state-of-the-art analytical equipment and powerful computing capabilities that enable scientists to combine experimental and computational approaches. For example, scientists are studying communities of microbes in hopes of predicting their behavior and then manipulating them to produce a valuable product or process such as renewable bioenergy.

In the [Computational Sciences Facility]CSF, scientists will develop solutions for the growing challenge of data overload -common to the scientific and national security communities. For example, a single scientific experiment can produce a terabyte of data – too much for a person to interpret. Intelligence analysts face similar challenges collecting and processing real-time data streams – from video to audio to text -they must analyze to better predict and detect threats. PNNL researchers are leaders in the development of data-intensive computing solutions – a way to capture, manage, analyze and help users understand massive amounts of data using innovative computing hardware and software technologies. CSF includes 10,000 square feet of raised floor space to accommodate data-intensive and high-performance computing hardware and data storage solutions.

CSF is home to the Center for Adaptive Supercomputing Software, which provides solutions for improving the execution speed of irregular, data-intensive applications like power grid analysis and bioinformatics. PNNL researchers who support the National Visualization and Analytics Center will also work in CSF. NVAC is a Department of Homeland Security program operated by PNNL that is helping local and state emergency responders and government analysts understand and address terrorist threats.