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Steven Hamilton, an R&D scientist in the HPC Methods for Nuclear Applications group at ORNL, leads the ExaSMR project. ExaSMR was developed to run on the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s exascale-class supercomputer, Frontier. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The Exascale Small Modular Reactor effort, or ExaSMR, is a software stack developed over seven years under the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project to produce the highest-resolution simulations of nuclear reactor systems to date. Now, ExaSMR has been nominated for a 2023 Gordon Bell Prize by the Association for Computing Machinery and is one of six finalists for the annual award, which honors outstanding achievements in high-performance computing from a variety of scientific domains.  

A rendering of the CFM RISE program’s open fan architecture. (bottom) A GE visualization of turbulent flow in the tip region of an open fan blade using the Frontier supercomputer at ORNL. Credit: CFM, GE Research (CFM is a 50­–50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines)

Outside the high-performance computing, or HPC, community, exascale may seem more like fodder for science fiction than a powerful tool for scientific research. Yet, when seen through the lens of real-world applications, exascale computing goes from ethereal concept to tangible reality with exceptional benefits.

Clouds of gray smoke in the lower left are funneled northward from wildfires in Western Canada, reaching the edge of the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. A second path of thick smoke is visible at the top center of the image, emanating from wildfires in the boreal areas of Russia’s Far East, in this image captured on July 13, 2023. Credit: NASA MODIS

Wildfires have shaped the environment for millennia, but they are increasing in frequency, range and intensity in response to a hotter climate. The phenomenon is being incorporated into high-resolution simulations of the Earth’s climate by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with a mission to better understand and predict environmental change.

Reuben Budiardja, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory computational scientist, worked with the early users who helped prepare Frontier, the world’s first exascale supercomputer, for scientific operations. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

With the world’s first exascale supercomputer now fully open for scientific business, researchers can thank the early users who helped get the machine up to speed.

CFM’s RISE open fan engine architecture. Image: GE Aerospace

To support the development of a revolutionary new open fan engine architecture for the future of flight, GE Aerospace has run simulations using the world’s fastest supercomputer capable of crunching data in excess of exascale speed, or more than a quintillion calculations per second.

Exascale Computing Project

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Lori Diachin will take over as director of the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project on June 1, guiding the successful, multi-institutional high-performance computing effort through its final stages.

Ashley Barker. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL

At the National Center for Computational Sciences, Ashley Barker enjoys one of the least complicated–sounding job titles at ORNL: section head of operations. But within that seemingly ordinary designation lurks a multitude of demanding roles as she oversees the complete user experience for NCCS computer systems.

Steven Hamilton. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL.

As renewable sources of energy such as wind and sun power are being increasingly added to the country’s electrical grid, old-fashioned nuclear energy is also being primed for a resurgence.

This image depicts a visualization of an outflow of galactic wind at a single point in time using Cholla. Credit: Evan Schneider/University of Pittsburgh

A trio of new and improved cosmological simulation codes was unveiled in a series of presentations at the annual April Meeting of the American Physical Society in Minneapolis.

Michael Parks

ORNL has named Michael Parks director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division within ORNL’s Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate. His hiring became effective March 13.