SciDAC Feature

Summit: Fusion Research

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Summit supercomputer, currently the world’s most powerful, to simulate the process necessary to produce energy via nuclear fusion. If successful, nuclear fusion could provide the world with a clean, virtually unlimited source of energy.


In today's world, supercomputers are essential to addressing scientific topics of national interest, including clean energy, new materials, climate change, the origins of the universe, and the nature of matter. The SciDAC program was initiated in 2001 (Program Plan) to develop the Scientific Computing Software and Hardware Infrastructure needed to advance scientific discovery using supercomputers. As supercomputers continuously evolve, direct engagement of computer scientists and applied mathematicians with the scientists of targeted application domains becomes ever more necessary for taking full advantage of these new systems. In this regard, SciDAC is a partnership involving all of the US Department of Energy Office of Science (SC) programs—Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, Fusion Energy Sciences, High-Energy Physics, and Nuclear Physics—to dramatically accelerate progress in scientific computing that delivers breakthrough scientific results through partnerships composed of applied mathematicians, computer scientists, and scientists from other disciplines.

Since its inception, the SciDAC model has accelerated the pace of scientific discovery. Now entering its third cycle (in 2011), SciDAC will address mathematical and computational challenges related to the generation and management of large data sets, increased demand for scientific credibility, and expected disruptions in computer architectures.

Although SciDAC is a partnership among SC programs, it is also built around collaborative teams of experts from national laboratories, universities, and other research organizations. This approach not only taps into the broadest range of expertise but also ensures that the resulting tools and methods will be available to the wider research community.