The Energy Department's INCITE program, which stands for the “Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment,” recently put out a report highlighting the ways our supercomputers are catalyzing discoveries and innovations. Above, computing provides an unparalleled ability to model and simulate Type Ia (thermonuclear-powered) supernovas. The ability to do 3D, large-scale simulations of these explosions led to the discovery of an entirely new and unexpected explosion mechanism, termed the gravitationally confined detonation (GCD) model.
Photo courtesy of courtesy Flash Center for Computational Science, University of Chicago
A supernova explosion from the core collapse of a super-giant star reveals a shock-wave like behavior. This discovery provides a more detailed understanding of how a collapsing star can eject most of its layers and spread elements like iron and oxygen into the surrounding universe.
Photo courtesy of courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratoy | David Pugmire
Transportation is 28 percent of US energy consumption. This visualization of the formation and velocity of turbulence at the boundary layer between a vehicle and the medium through which it moves could provide dramatic fuel savings when applied to material design.
Photo courtesy of courtesy Universidad Politécnica de Madrid | Juan Sillero
This rendering illustrates fields of temperature and pressure in a helicopter combustion chamber. The simulation contained 330 million variable elements and allowed engineers to test the efficiency and stability of different fuels and material combinations.
Photo courtesy of courtesy Turbomeca and CERFACS | Pierre Wolf
Supercomputers have only recently paved the way for tiny proteins like this ALG3 to be rendered in enough detail to understand their dynamics. A discovery in this area could lead to major advances in creating biofuels, cleaning up waste, and sequestering carbon.
Photo courtesy of courtesy Oliver Lange
A global particle-in-cell simulation shows core turbulence in a fusion reaction. Sustaining effective fusion reactions, in which the fusion energy produced exceeds the input energy, could pave the way to a clean, safe, and limitless source of energy.
Photo courtesy of courtesy OakRidge National Laboratory | Scott Klasky
The M8 simulation revealed regions at risk during a magnitude-8 quake by charting peak horizontal ground velocities.
Photo courtesy of courtesy University of Southern California | Geoffrey Ely
From supernovae to Parkinson’s disease: computer simulations catalyzing discoveries.