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March 2013

This weekend, Roadrunner, the World's Fastest Supercomputer from 2008, will be switched off but not be forgotten.    
Without ceremony, the first supercomputer to reach the once elusive petaflop - one million billion calculations per second - a feat accomplished in 2008 by Roadrunner, an IBM system installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, will be decommissioned. Advancements made possible by Roadrunner have informed current computing architectures and will help shape future designs.    

During its five operational years, Roadrunner, part of NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program, was a workhorse system providing computing power for stewardship of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and in its early days, a wide variety of unclassified science.

Read more about Roadrunner here.

Roadrunner

Los AlamosMeasurements from two recent aerial flyovers to determine the presence of background and man-made radioactivity brought good news for Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The radiological surveys, conducted in August 2011 and June 2012, found that radioisotopes and their associated exposure rates are consistent with those expected from normal background radiation.

The survey provided valuable data in several areas. First, the information updates a radiological survey conducted in 1994. Secondly, the survey showed the Las Conchas fire from 2011 did not impact background radiation levels. It also provides additional confirmation that the Rendija Canyon area remains at natural background radiation levels. There is an area north of Rendija Canyon under evaluation for return to public use.

The information will be incorporated into the lab’s Long-Term Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Strategy report.

Pantex Smart Cookies workshop

A group of Pantex female engineers held a Smart Cookie workshop for Girl Scouts this weekend. The objective of the workshop was to foster a love of science and math in young girls who might make up the next generation of engineers at Pantex.

The Smart Cookie program started in January with a half dozen young women engineers from Pantex who decided to expose engineering to the next generation with a workshop for Girl Scouts. Since then, the number of women engineers who are involved in the project has doubled. Plans are underway to enlist experts from Pantex in math, science and information technology, for future events with the Girl Scouts.

About the photo:
Female engineers from Pantex this weekend demonstrated a scientific principle known as nucleation. The engineers used Mentos dropped into Diet Coke to demonstrate the principle. The surface texture of the Mentos causes the carbon dioxide to be explosively released.

Participants in Sandia’s Weapon Intern Program recently visited and toured NNSA's Kansas City Plant. The program, established in 1998, was created to meet Sandia's changing mission needs. Through a combination of classroom study taught by active and retired weaponeers, site visits and individual and team projects, weapon interns have honed their skills, broadened their knowledge base and expanded their network of colleagues in the nuclear weapons community.

Sandia’s Weapon Intern Program at KCP

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