November 15, 2018
Staff Accomplishment

2019 INCITE award fosters search for new elements, quantum interactions

Award allocates time on powerful supercomputers for outstanding science proposals

A research study that could result in an addition to the periodic table of elements, will launch in 2019 using the algorithm and code developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist Kenneth Roche.

The project is one of 62 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) awards from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2019, announced on November 12.

Roche, a member of PNNL’s High-Performance Computing Group and a lead in the DOE Exascale Computing Project, is one of a team of eight scientists led by Aurel Bulgac of the University of Washington. The team will investigate “Real-Time Non-Equilibrium Dynamics of Strongly Interacting Nuclear Matter” at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) in the coming year.

Bulgac’s group, which includes Roche, specializes in interactions of subatomic particles. Their tools include high-performance simulations on leadership-class computers—a good fit with OLCF’s capabilities. The INCITE project will use full quantum mechanical predictive tools to quantitatively describe nuclear fission, collisions of heavy ions, and fusion. In addition to the search for new elements, the results may help explain the origin and abundance of chemical elements in the universe. The findings could have applications in medical tools, safety, national security, energy production, nuclear non-proliferation and attribution, and nuclear forensics.

DOE’s INCITE program, which gives researchers access to the nation’s fastest supercomputers and expert liaisons at the facilities, aims to accelerate scientific discoveries and technological innovations. The program focuses on large-scale, computationally intensive projects that address “grand challenges” in science and engineering. INCITE awards have been offered since 2004.

Published: November 15, 2018