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April 2013

New simulation speed record set on Sequoia

Computer scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have set a high performance computing speed record that opens the way to the scientific exploration of complex planetary-scale systems.

In a paper to be published in May, the joint team will announce a record-breaking simulation speed of 504 billion events per second on LLNL’s Sequoia Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, dwarfing the previous record set in 2009 of 12.2 billion events per second.

Sequoia has a peak performance of 25 petaflops and is the second fastest supercomputer in the world, with a total speed and capacity equivalent to about one million desktop PCs. A petaflop is a quadrillion floating point operations per second.

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SRS employees devote time to 'Days of Caring'

Dozens of Savannah River Site employees recently spent time off volunteering at 16 area United Way agencies as participants in this year’s Projects SERVE, CARE and VISION  - part of the “Days of Caring” United Way program at SRS.

Each year a large number of employees commit their day off to projects that will improve the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged children, low-income senior citizens, disabled community members and others. Team projects typically include clearing debris, painting, repairing flooring, putting up drywall, building wheelchair ramps, installing smoke detectors, fixing faulty plumbing and yard work.

About the photo:
Cynthia Williams of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs volunteers at the Salvation Army as part of Project SERVE.

Michelle Racicot, a contract family nurse practitioner at Sandia

Michelle Racicot, a contract family nurse practitioner at Sandia National Laboratories, was one of 14 women recognized by first lady Michelle Obama at the White House as Champions of Change. The event during Women’s History Month honored women veterans who have made a major impact on the nation’s communities, businesses and schools. Hundreds were nominated for the award.

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 Gordon Bell visits Livermore

Researcher emeritus Gordon Bell spoke at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory this week and joked that when it comes to the security badge requirements for getting on site, "nothing has changed since my first visit in 1961."

But when it comes to high performance computing at LLNL, much has changed thanks to the computing technology revolution Bell helped bring about. Bell's presentation, “The Supercomputer Class Evolution: A Personal Perspective,” was a PowerPoint journey through time from LLNL's earliest supercomputing systems in the early 60s to today's era of massively parallel computing systems.

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NNSA has 'Natitude'

Headquarters employees and their friends and families enjoyed the annual NNSA-EM-LM Day at the ballpark this week. The Nationals lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2.

More photos are available on NNSA's Flickr page.

Nick Williams, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retiree

Nick Williams, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retiree, spends a lot of time explaining science concepts to 5th grade students. And now his time has paid off. He has been selected as a finalist in the 2013 Flame Challenge, an international contest that asks scientists to communicate complex science in ways that interest and inform an 11-year-old. The contest is sponsored by the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

Williams' entry (#154)  was selected as one of the top 6 finalists in two categories: written and video. As a finalist in the written category, he is competing with two other entries.

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Brig. Gen. Dawkins honored at Air Force promotion ceremony

Brig. Gen. James Dawkins, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application for NNSA's Office of Defense Programs, was formally honored at a promotion ceremony at the Pentagon last week. Special guests were invited to witness his promotion from Colonel to Brigadier General.   

Brig. Gen. Dawkins began working at NNSA in January 2013. He is responsible for maintaining global nuclear deterrence through effective planning, maintenance and enforcement of a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile and its associated materials, capabilities and technologies. He serves as a bridge between the NNSA and the DoD on joint nuclear operational and infrastructural matters, engaging in frequent dialogue with the various military services concerning weapons issues specific to each service and supporting related programming and budget matters pertinent to the NNSA and the DoD.

More photos are available on NNSA's Flickr page.

Pantex sponsored its Electric Battery Car Race this weekend as part of the annual Science Bowl Competition. Nearly 30 teams from middle schools across the Texas Panhandle competed in the races, which were won by Bovina Middle School. Panhandle Junior High came in second and Dumas Junior High was third.

Pantex Electric Battery Car Race

Workers at the Pantex Plant are in the process of erecting nearly 400 metal supports that will be used to hang approximately 4,800 linear feet of new steam and condensate piping. The steam lines, which are as large as 14 inches in diameter, will run from the onsite steam generating plant to scores of buildings, where the steam will be used for various processes.

The $10 million project, which began construction in September 2012, will replace trenched steam lines with elevated lines that are less prone to corrosion. The project is being executed by a pair of local small businesses and is on schedule for completion in September.

Pantex erects nearly 400 piping metal supports

Sandia director honors R&D 100 awardees

Sandia National Laboratories Director Paul Hommert shows appreciation for  Sandia scientists and engineers who won four R&D 100 awards for 2012. Visit NNSA's Flickr page for more photos.

The awards were won in competition with an international pool that included universities, corporations and other government labs. R&D Magazine presents the awards each year to researchers whom its editors and independent judging panels determine have developed the 100 most outstanding advances in applied technologies.

The awards, with their focus on practical impact rather than pure research, reward entrants on their products’ design, development, testing and production. The Chicago Tribune science writer Jon Van once described the contest as “the Oscars of invention.”