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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 »

NERSC Played Key Role in Nobel Laureate’s Discovery

October 4, 2011

In the 1990s, Saul Perlmutter discovered that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. He confirmed his observational conclusions by running thousands of simulations at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). As a result of this groundbreaking work, Perlmutter was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. His research team is believed to have been the first to use supercomputers to analyze and validate observational data in cosmology. This melding of computational science and cosmology sowed the seeds for more projects, establishing Berkeley Lab and NERSC as centers for the emerging field. Read More »

Turning Grass into Gas for Less

September 30, 2011

Pull up to the pump these days and chances are your gas will be laced with ethanol, a biofuel made from corn. Corn-ethanol is relatively easy to make, but with growing populations and shrinking farmland, there will never be enough of the starchy food crop to both feed and fuel the world. Read More »

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A Better Lithium-ion Battery on the Way

September 23, 2011

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere, in smart phones, laptops, an array of other consumer electronics, and the newest electric cars. Good as they are, they could be much better, especially when it comes to lowering the cost and extending the range of electric cars. To do that, batteries need to store a lot more energy. Read More »

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Lin Lin, 2011 Alvarez Fellow

September 22, 2011

As a 2011 Luis W. Alvarez Fellow, Lin Lin will apply mathematical tools to solve real world problems in computational physics, chemistry and material science. He is specifically interested in the electronic structure analysis of complex materials. Read More »

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Kathy Yelick Appointed to National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

September 15, 2011

Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences Kathy Yelick has been appointed to the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Academies, which includes the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. Read More »

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Supernova Caught in the Act

August 25, 2011

A supernova discovered yesterday is closer to Earth—approximately 21 million light-years away—than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion, a rare feat made possible by a specialized survey telescope and state-of-the-art computational tools. Read More »

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Small Particles, Big Impact

August 24, 2011

Using systems at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), atmospheric scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have found that small scale effects of aerosols—tiny particles of dust or pollution in the atmosphere—can add up and over time and lead to large, accumulated errors in climate prediction models. Read More »