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Exascale Computing Project


The DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) project office is located at ORNL. The ECP mission is to deliver exascale-ready applications and solutions that address currently intractable problems of strategic importance and national interest; to create and deploy an expanded and vertically integrated software stack on DOE HPC exascale and pre-exascale systems, defining the enduring US exascale ecosystem; and to leverage US HPC vendor R&D activities and products into DOE HPC exascale systems. The vision is to accelerate innovation with exascale simulation and data science solutions to national problems that enhance US economic competitiveness, improve our quality of life, and strengthen our national security.

ECP supports 22 application development projects that are being designed and optimized for use on the proposed Frontier exascale platform that will debut at ORNL’s Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) in 2023. The application development teams consist of principal investigators and members throughout the DOE national laboratory complex, spanning scientific fields including nuclear energy, materials, astrophysics, climate, and others. The nuclear energy application ExaSMR is led by ORNL and includes researchers and developers from ORNL, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), MIT, and Idaho State University. ORNL is leading the ECP Energy Security Applications area, and within that portfolio, ORNL leads the ExaSMR project for modeling and simulation of small modular reactors (SMRs).

The ExaSMR project is focused on developing a virtual test reactor for advanced designs via experimental-quality simulations of reactor behavior with the aim of design and commercialization of SMRs. ExaSMR is coupling the most accurate available methods to perform virtual experiment simulations. Coupled neutronics and fluid dynamics will be used to create virtual experimental datasets for SMRs under varying operational scenarios. The Monte Carlo radiation transport capabilities in the ORNL Shift code are being significantly enhanced to perform simulations on exascale computing architectures, and high-resolution computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools are also being prepared. This powerful multiphysics capability will be applied to fundamental design parameters, including the turbulent mixing conditions necessary for natural circulation and steady-state critical heat flux margins between the moderator and fuel, providing validation for low-order engineering simulations and reducing conservative operational margins resulting in higher updates and longer fuel cycles.