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NASA Awards 5M Hours Of Supercomputing Time To Researchers

Up-close birds-eye view of the 10,240-processor SGI Altix supercomputer. Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Tom Trower
by Staff Writers
Moffet Field CA (SPX) March 5, 2006
NASA said Friday it has awarded 4.65 million hours of supercomputing time to help four groups of scientists solve some of the most challenging research problems involving climate variability, combustion burners, flow conditions and novel electronic materials. NASA is awarding the supercomputing time under its National Leadership Computing System initiative.

The NLCS was chartered to provide resources to intensive research projects in the national interest. The researchers will use Columbia, one of the world's largest and most productive supercomputers, located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing division at the Ames Research Center.

"These large allocations on the Columbia supercomputer will help leading scientists to dramatically accelerate advances in these fields, leading the way to new technologies and improving the human condition," said Bryan Biegel, the deputy division chief. The facility delivers supercomputing capability to nearly 1,000 users at NASA and other government agencies, companies and universities.

The four research projects receiving the supercomputer time include:

- The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. A team led by Greg Holland will study "cloud-resolving tropical simulation for studying scale-interactions and hurricane variability." NASA has allotted the project 950,000 processor hours. The time will be used to simulate weather at high, cloud-resolving resolution to determine how moist convection impacts natural climate change, such as hurricane frequency and intensity. The research is intended to provide objective information about future hurricane impact, leading to improved understanding of how climate both influences, and is influenced by, human activities.

- The National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md. The team, led by William George, will examine "modeling the rheological properties of suspensions in applications involving cement-based materials." The project will receive 1 million hours. Team members will study the flow, dispersion and merging of dense suspensions, such as cement-based materials like concrete, under a variety of flow conditions. Understanding these mechanisms is a challenge in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to coatings.

- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in San Francisco. The team, led by Marcus Day, will study "interaction of turbulence and chemistry in lean pre-mixed combustion." NASA has awarded the project 1.8 million hours. Scientists will study the dynamics of ultra-lean, turbulent, pre-mixed burners incorporating detailed chemistry and transport for a variety of fuels. The resulting knowledge could accelerate development of new gaseous burners, which have the potential to reduce emissions in transportation systems, heat and power generation.

- Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Led by James Freericks, the team will study a "massively parallel approach to the non-linear response of a Mott insulator." The project is receiving 900,000 hours. Scientists will study Mott insulators - strongly correlated materials with electronic properties that can change dramatically with pressure, temperature or other conditions, to learn more about high temperature superconductors and other electronic materials.

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