|Volume 7, Issue 1 -
Caltech to Participate in National Computer Simulation Initiative
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently selected Caltech and four other U.S. universities to participate in a $250 million initiative to advance large-scale computer modeling and simulation that will be used to determine nuclear weapon reliability and solve other computationally intensive problems. The 10-year Academic Strategic Alliance Program (ASAP) is part of the DOE's nuclear stockpile stewardship program and builds on the Clinton Administration's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI).
ASAP centers Caltech, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Utah/Salt Lake, and the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign will work with Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia National Laboratories to develop advanced software solutions in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, as well as broader national goals.
"Now, thanks to these alliances, our universities are being unleashed to do what was previously impossible," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peņa in his July 31 announcement about the program. "Using our computers, researchers will now have the tools to solve difficult problems, such as simulating a hole in the ozone layer or testing the side effects of a drug that once required experiments with 200 generations of laboratory mice. By combining the Department of Energy's enormous computing resources with the creative insights found in our universities, the possibilities are endless."
Caltech's Computational Facility for Simulating the Dynamic Response of Materials will investigate the effect of shock waves induced by high explosives on various materials in different phases. The work will prove beneficial in a number of civilian practices that employ high explosives, such as mine accident rescue and building demolition, by applying explosives at precisely targeted areas and minimizing damage to surrounding areas.
Research at the other universities will focus on solid propellant rocket simulation; gas turbine engine design for airplanes, boats, and other vehicles; numerical simulation of accidental fires and explosions; and simulation and analysis to solve the long-standing problem of astrophysical thermonuclear flashes.
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