NNSA Blog

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NNSA’s nearly two decade partnership with IBM, which has produced an unparalleled record of top-ranked supercomputers and award winning computational science, was celebrated recently at LLNL.

Calling computing the “intellectual electricity” of the laboratory, Parney Albright, LLNL's Laboratory Director, said that “we embed computation into the DNA of LLNL organizations” and as a result “it’s hard to find a project at the Lab that doesn’t involve computing.” High performance computing (HPC) will remain critical to the Lab’s ability to fulfill its stockpile stewardship mission well into the future, he said.

The strength of the relationship allowed the development of Deep Computing Solutions, a partnership within LLNL’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC), which aims to “make Vulcan and the Laboratory’s HPC ecosystem available to U.S. industry to advance the nation’s competitiveness,” Albright said.

Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA's Chief Scientist and director of the Office of Science and Policy,, said the strength of the relationship has produced “ a remarkable line of success: novel insight into national security issues, novel product lines, breaking the speed of computing over and over; lasting marks in this enterprise.” Of the 34 cycles of worldwide top supercomputer rankings from 1996 through 2012, NNSA has been recognized 21 times for #1 systems, 14 of which with IBM and 11 with IBM and LLNL.

“There are many complex faces of this partnership,” Kusnezov said. “It can be very ugly at times. At other times there is glory to be celebrated. We recognize the differences in our needs,” he said. “It is the communication between all of us that has made this work. If we did not build in the flexibility rooted in trust into our partnership, we would fail.”

The impact of the partnership on NNSA’s national security missions has demonstrated simulation as the increasingly cost-effective means to examine the array of national security problems we face, and help frame the context for next generation exascale systems, Kusnezov said.

John Kelly III, director of IBM Research, reminded the audience that the IBM relationship went back to 1954 with the purchase of IBM 701 machines. The HPC advancements under the ASCI program, which began in the mid-1990s have contributed to IBM’s commercial success, Kelly said. “In the end we’re a business. The technologies we’ve developed have broader application and have made it into our commercial systems.”

The development of the BlueGene line of supercomputers “put us on an entirely different trajectory,” he said. “It took risk. Failure was not an option. What galvanized us was your mission and your success in that mission. It’s what inspires us moving forward.”

Nov 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Titan, a new supercomputer located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has taken over the top spot as the world’s most powerful according to the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. NNSA’s Sequoia supercomputer, housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is now ranked as the second fastest supercomputer. Sequoia was previously ranked as the fastest last June.

This brings the total number of DOE systems in the fastest 20 to five, with: Mira at Argonne National Laboratory, ranked fourth; Cielo, located at Los Alamos National Laboratory and operated jointly by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, ranked 18th; and Hopper at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ranked 19th.

“The nation that leads the world in high-performance computing will have an enormous competitive advantage across a broad range of sectors, including national defense, science and medicine, energy production, transmission and distribution, storm weather and climate prediction, finance, commercial product development, and manufacturing,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “Titan joins the Department’s top-ranking supercomputers in equipping our nation’s researchers with the tools needed to keep the United States on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Read more about DOE’s rankings. Check out complete list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

Nov 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

A new American Quarter Horse sculpture is now on display at Pantex outside Building 16-12, a first stop for visitors. The horse is a unifying symbol within the community, and horses with various designs are on display across Amarillo at banks, restaurants, civic organizations, hospitals, factories, schools and retail stores.

The Plant’s 125-pound fiberglass American Quarter Horse sculpture was painted by artist Gary Ward and features a rendering of the American flag, an eagle, and wind turbines. It was purchased from Amarillo Center City as part of its Hoof Prints project, which began in 2002 to provide eye-catching landmarks. Proceeds benefit Center City, an organization that works to enhance downtown Amarillo.

Nov 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently held a workshop focusing on how high performance computing can accelerate the development of new energy technologies. The activities are part of NNSA’s Livermore Valley Open Campus.

Under a pilot program called the “hpc4energy Incubator,” U.S. energy companies are using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers and collaborating with LLNL technical experts to design a cleaner, more efficient combustion engine; improve gas drilling technology; better analyze energy use in buildings; and make the electric grid more reliable. The "hpc4energy incubator" workshop represented a new way for industry and government labs to work together on problems of national importance.

Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA's Chief Scientist and director of the Office of Science and Policy, delivered opening remarks at the workshop on the challenges facing U.S. competitiveness and the importance of leveraging national laboratories to meet broad national needs. Participants included energy industry executives and project technical leads from Robert Bosch LLC, GE Energy Management, GE Global Research, ISO New England, Potter Drilling, Inc., and United Technologies Research Center.

Nov 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Kirsten E. McNeil, Foreign Affairs Specialist, U.S. Export Enforcement Support, Office of Nonproliferation and International Security at NNSA, has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Linton Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service. She was recognized today for her outstanding service to NNSA. Former NNSA Administrator Brooks and NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino presented the medal to Kirsten.

Among Kirsten's many accomplishments, she was instrumental in NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) development of a sustained effort to adapt a unique set of NNSA assets to support U.S. enforcement. Kirsten’s commitment, professionalism and cutting-edge efforts have resulted in a dedicated support program through which NNSA provides coordinated training and real-time technical reach-back support for U.S. enforcement agencies.

Additionally, as the lead point of contact between NNSA and all U.S. export enforcement agencies, Kirsten has created strong working level interagency partnerships, and has helped to elevate the dual–use smuggling issue. These accomplishments demonstrate her devotion to the NNSA mission and commitment to excellence in the service of national security.

Kirsten has a Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University and both a Master and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University. Kirsten resides in northern Virginia with her husband Sean and their 14-month old daughter, Claire.

The Linton F. Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service, named for former NNSA Administrator Brooks, was established in 2008 to recognize employees with fewer than five years of civilian Federal service and fewer than five years of professional experience, whose actions and deeds exemplify the spirit of public service commitment.

Nov 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Representatives from 23 federal agencies, including NNSA, recently observed emergency response drills in Washington State’s Puget Sound. The full-scale exercise was designed to prevent and respond to a simulated small vessel radiological/nuclear smuggling scenario. It was part of the Puget Sound Area Maritime Training and Exercise Program led by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

The full-scale exercise comprised two scenarios: a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device on a Washington State ferry and radiological/nuclear smuggling on a small vessel. Dick Pappas of NNSA’s Office of Second Line of Defense observed the drills and full-scale exercise. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided technical support for the specialized detection equipment, training, drills, and exercise.

The Small Vessel Preventative Radiological/Nuclear Detection effort began as a Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office pilot in 2007. The continued initiative is now funded via port security grants with the Seattle Fire Department as the regional grantee.

About the photos:
(left)  Dick Pappas (left) observes a joint U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection boarding team during drills in Sequim Bay, Wash.
(right)  Law enforcement members detain a “threat vessel” during a port security simulation exercise.

Law enforcement members detain a “threat vessel."Dick Pappas (left) observes drills in Sequim Bay, Wash.







Nov 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogA Knoxville engineering resources firm recently became the newest licensee of technology developed at the Y-12 National Security Complex. MK Technologies Corporation is now the exclusive commercial patent licensee of SIMWyPES®, a method of enhancing cleaning items so that they leave dry surfaces ultraclean.

The environmentally friendly method of removing contamination on a nanoscale level incorporates a highly effective nontoxic proprietary treatment that transfers no residue to cleaned surfaces. A variety of items including cloths, swabs, polishers, filters and sponges can be treated. The company plans to start production in 2013. Read about the cleaning technology.

About the photo:
MK Technologies CEO and founder Mike Carroll and director of strategic development and acquisition Chris Van Beke met Y-12 chemist and inventor Ron Simandl in his Y-12 laboratory to see the SIMWyPES® production process along with a sampling of its numerous applications. From left, Simandl shows Van Beke and Carroll two of a variety of items enhanced with SIMWyPES® technology.

Oct 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogPantexans are proud of the work they do to “Secure America,” but Wanda Call was looking to make an impact on a more local security issue in her spare time. Call, the Internal Audit Manager for B&W Pantex, found the opportunity she was looking for three years ago when she became treasurer for Amarillo Crime Stoppers.

“My special interest in Crime Stoppers was to make Amarillo and the surrounding communities a safer place to live and work by getting criminals off the street,” Call said.

Call was honored for her dedication last week when she received the Board Member of the Year Award from the Texas Crime Stoppers Council, the first time the honor has gone to a board member from Amarillo, said Cpl. Sean Slover, coordinator of Amarillo Crime Stoppers Inc.

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards to individuals who anonymously give tips about criminals that ultimately lead to arrest. Call, who has worked at Pantex more than 13 years, picked up her award at the 24th Annual Texas Crime Stoppers Conference in New Braunfels, Texas, earlier this month.

About the photo (from left to right):
Chief W. Randy McDaniel - Council Member, Officer Ernesto “Ernie” Rodriguez, Jr. - Council Member, Wanda Call - Amarillo Crime Stoppers Treasurer, Jorge Gaytan - Council Chairman, Emerson Frederick Lane, Jr. - Council Vice Chairman

Oct 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Los Alamos National Laboratory recently showcased some of its cutting-edge research concepts at the annual Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) event, “Creating Our Tomorrows, LDRD Day 2012.” LDRD Day is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the future of science and engineering at LANL.

LDRD funding supports the most advanced, high-risk ideas at LANL. LDRD at LANL is a prestigious source of internal funding awarded to top-notch scientists and engineers to address national problems in the areas of energy security, nuclear security and scientific discovery and innovation.

Oct 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

NNSA BlogAs part of the project to translocate 60 desert tortoises to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), a competition was held to name the fastest moving tortoise. From the more than 100 suggested names, Scurry was the winner with 30 votes posted on NNSS’s Facebook page. Second place was Rock Steady and third place was Taco.

The name Scurry certainly fits this young but incredibly fast tortoise, who has traveled more than six kilometers since Sept. 21, 2012, when he and 59 of his friends were moved from the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Las Vegas to the Nevada National Security Site.

Following the translocation, Scurry immediately went on the move and surpassed even the quickest of his mates. Most of the tortoises, including Scurry, are settling down now and are expected to claim one general burrowing location for the rest of the fall and winter. Each week researchers continue to record the location, burrow size and type and the kind of plants surrounding the burrows of each tortoise.

The winning name came from Patricia Guy Cooper who received a gift basket provided by the Nevada Field Office.

Oct 24, 2012 at 11:00 am