University of Rochester

Professor Wins 2 Million Supercomputer Hours

January 17, 2007

Chuang Ren, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and physics at the University of Rochester has won a U. S. Department of Energy award—and with it a chance to conduct his fusion research on a supercomputer.

Between now and Jan. 9, 2008, Ren will use 2 million hours' worth of computing time on the NERSC HPC high performance computer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to run large-scale simulations of fast ignition, a new method to achieve fusion as a long-term, environment-friendly energy source for humanity. He is a computational and theoretical fluids-plasma scientist and the project for which he will use the computer time is titled "Three-Dimensional Particle-in-Cell Simulations for Fast Ignition."

Ren's simulations of fast ignition will be an important part of the research within the DOE Fusion Science Center for Extreme States of Matter and Fast Ignition Physics to assess the potential of a new fusion concept. The results will have impact on fast ignition experiments now planned at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester and other facilities.

Ren's time on the supercomputer is measured in processor-hours. A project receiving 2 million hours could run on 4,000 processors for 500 hours, or about 21 days. Running a 2-million-hour project on a single-processor desktop computer would take more than 228 years.

In total, 45 researchers from universities and corporations across the country successfully competed for the 2007 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) award, which was announced on Jan. 8.

Launched in 2003, the INCITE mission is to advance American science and industrial competitiveness. These awards will assist in that mission by supporting computationally intensive, large-scale research projects and award them large amounts of dedicated time on DOE supercomputers. The projects, with applications from aeronautics and astrophysics, to consumer products and combustion research were competitively chosen based on the potential impact of the science and engineering research and the suitability of the project for use of supercomputers.