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Closest Type la Supernova in Decades Solves a Cosmic Mystery

December 14, 2011

Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia’s) are the extraordinarily bright and remarkably similar “standard candles” astronomers use to measure cosmic growth, a technique that in 1998 led to the discovery of dark energy – and 13 years later to a Nobel Prize, “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe.” The light from thousands of SN Ia’s has been studied, but until now their physics – how they detonate and what the star systems that produce them actually look like before they explode – has been educated guesswork. Read More »

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A Better Way to ID Extreme Weather Events in Climate Models

December 7, 2011

You’d think that spotting a category 5 hurricane would never be difficult. But when the hurricane is in a global climate model that spans several decades, it becomes a fleeting wisp among mountains of data. Read More »

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Today’s Severe Drought, Tomorrow’s Normal

December 5, 2011

While the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s grips Oklahoma and Texas, scientists are warning that what we consider severe drought conditions in North America today may be normal for the continent by the mid-21st century, due to a warming planet. Read More »

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Supercomputers Take a Cue from Microwave Ovens

November 30, 2011

As sophisticated as modern climate models are, one critical component continues to elude their precision—clouds. Simulating these fluffy puffs of water vapor is so computationally complex that even today’s most powerful supercomputers, working at quadrillions of calculations per second, cannot accurately model them. Read More »

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Berkeley Lab Reaches Out to Women in Computing

November 30, 2011

Although women comprise the majority of the United States labor force, 60 percent of college graduates in developed countries, most of the of Internet users, and start the majority of new companies created each year in the US, they have made surprisingly few inroads into high performance computing, according to a recent HPC Wire editorial. Berkeley Lab is working to increase the number of women in computer science and HPC applying to work at the Lab. Read More »

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New Scientific Networking Division Created as Home to ESnet

November 21, 2011

ESnet, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network, will become the core of the newest scientific division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos announced Monday, Nov. 21. The new scientific networking division will report to Kathy Yelick, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences. Read More »

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Computing Tools Speed Search for New Porous Materials

November 14, 2011

A team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley are building a suite of computational tools to help in the search for new porous materials. These synthetically created materials can play key roles in physical and chemical processes, including petroleum refinement, water softening and in separations. One class, known as zeolites, has a commercial impact of about $350 billion annually. Read More »

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Accelerating Advanced Material Development

October 31, 2011

New materials are crucial to building a clean energy economy—for everything from batteries to photovoltaics to lighter weight vehicles—but today the development cycle is too slow: around 18 years from conception to commercialization. To speed up this process, a team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) teamed up to develop a new computational tool. Called the Materials Project, it launches this month. Read More »

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Experimental Mathematics: Computing Power Leads to Insights

October 13, 2011

Providence, RI—In his 1989 book "The Emperor's New Mind," Roger Penrose commented on the limitations on human knowledge with a striking example: He conjectured that we would most likely never know whether a string of 10 consecutive 7s appears in the digital expansion of the number pi. Just 8 years later, Yasumasa Kanada used a computer to find exactly that string, starting at the 17387594880th digit of pi. Penrose was certainly not alone in his inability to foresee the tremendous power that computers would soon possess. Read More »

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Computational Research Division Announces Reorganization

October 12, 2011

David Brown, who recently joined Berkeley Lab as director of the Computational Research Division (CRD), announced a reorganization of the division on Oct. 12. The reorganization is aimed at balancing the size and research areas of the departments within CRD. Read More »