Category Archives: Supercomputing

Mason: new contract ‘tremendous vote of confidence’

ornlaerial2014UT-Battelle, a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, has received a new five-year contract to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL Director Thom Mason confirmed Monday that the new contract with the U.S. Department of Energy had been signed and will go into effect April 1.

UT-Battelle has managed the lab since 2000. The annual budget exceeds $1.5 billion. Continue reading

ORNL, NSA and the Fourth Amendment Protection Act

ORNLmrfOak Ridge National Laboratory’s Multipurpose Research Facility. (KNS photo/Michael Patrick)

Legislation recently introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly (and multiple other state legislatures) is aimed at stemming civilian surveillance by the National Security Agency, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, by its reported relationship with NSA on some projects, is apparently a target of the legislation as well. Identical versions of the Tennessee Fourth Amendment Protection Act were introduced in the State House and Senate by Reps. Micah van Huss and Matthew Hill and Sen. Mae Beavers.

Here’s an excerpt: “This state and its political subdivisions shall not assist, participate with, or provide material support or resources to enable or facilitate a federal agency in the collection or use of a person’s electronic data or metadata, without: (1) The person’s informed consent; (2) A search warrant issued by a duly authorized court upon probable cause that particularly describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized; or (3) Acting in accordance with a legally recognized exception to the warrant requirements.” Continue reading

DOE renews ORNL-led virtual reactor project; five-year funding set at $121.5M

caslpicOver the past five years, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its partners have developed and tested advanced computing techniques for simulating the internal operations of a nuclear reactor, in essence creating a virtual reactor.

The work to date has reportedly been a success, and the U.S. Department of Energy confirmed plans to renew funding — $121.5 million spread over the next five years — and expand the work of the ORNL-based Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, known as CASL.The funding extension is subject to Congressional approval annually. Continue reading

ORNL’s Thom Mason: ‘The volume of work we do that is classified is actually quite small’

In an interview last month at his corner office in Building 4500-North, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason said the overall funding for the lab’s Global Security programs is down — from about $400 million a year to about $300 million — but he didn’t seem sad about it. He didn’t seem sad at all. He said the change is partly due to world events and, in some ways, ORNL is now better aligned to leverage its research strengths.

IMG_2143Mason said the automatic budget cuts associated with the 2013 budget sequestration had a greater impact on some of the Department of Defense-funded work than other programs at Oak Ridge. He also noted there were “tremendous budget pressures” on the National Nuclear Security Administration programs because of modernization projects in the nuclear weapons complex.

“So, as a result, our dollar volume in national security has been going down,” Mason said. “The other factor there, though, is about half our work has been in non-proliferation — particularly with overseas programs, securing nuclear material in the former Soviet Union. And, of course, there’s not a lot happening with the Russians these days.” Continue reading

It’s official: Alexander to chair key Appropriations subcommittee

alexandersummitAs expected, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today was chosen by his Republican colleagues to chair the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development. The subcommittee is a critical cog in deciding the Department of Energy’s funding, including the money directed to federal facilities in Oak Ridge.

Here’s an Alexander statement released by his office: Continue reading

Most popular Atomic City blog posts of 2014

Readers of Atomic City Underground like old and interesting photographs, keep track of current events at the Department of Energy and its affiliated institutions and communities, and sometimes have an affinity for the unusual. That sort of defines what this news blog is all about.

I just took a look at the year’s most popular posts, using a number of analytical tools, and here are those that — sometimes inexplicably — ranked highest.

1. Now that’s a whole heck of a lot of waste.

wastedrums12. NNSA confirms uranium incident at Y-12; top official coming to Oak Ridge to address situation.

3. In the megaton range at the Y-12 History Center.

4. CNS unveils org structure, some managers.

5. Isn’t this quaint?

6. Another view of K-25’s conclusion.

7. Declassified pics of final A-bomb preparations.

8. Nuclear survivor: Bill Clark recalls 1958 criticality accident and his up-and-down life since then.

9. Backlash on Y-12 benefit changes.

10. Eight workers got internal rad doses during secret project at ORNL; lab was doing work for Y-12. Continue reading

Hack elected fellow of Meteorological Society

Hack200_hrJames Hack, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s National Center for Computational Sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. According to information distributed by the lab, Jacks was recognized for outstanding contributions to advancing the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications and services for the benefit of society.” Hack joined the team at ORNL in 2007, having previous appointments at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“His research interests have included physical parameterization techniques, the construction of numerical methods and their implementation on high-performance computers, and the development of diagnostic methods for evaluating climate simulation quality,” the announcement stated.

Alexander says 2015 spending bill supports ‘crucial’ Oak Ridge projects

alexandersummitU.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said the 2015 spending bill passed Saturday night supports two projects — the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and development of a world-leading supercomputer at ORNL — “that are crucial to Tennessee.”

In a statement released by his office, Alexander said: “Fiscal responsibility is about setting priorities, and I voted for this legislation because it helps keep spending in check while supporting projects that are crucial to Tennessee, as well as our country’s economic competitiveness and national security. Once again having the world’s fastest supercomputer in the United States – and once again having it in Oak Ridge – will help us remain a center for advanced manufacturing and scientific breakthroughs. Providing both funding and oversight of the Uranium Processing Facility supports jobs and national security, and continues our mission of completing this project on time and on budget.” Continue reading

ORNL’s Titan remains No. 2 in supercomputer rankings

titanORNL photo

The biannual TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers has been released, and China’s Tianhe-2 machine remains atop the rankings for the fourth consecutive time. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan, a Cray XK7 system, is still No. 2, with a capability of more than 20 million billion calculations per second. Here’s the list. Six of the top 10 supercomputers are located in the United States.