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.
Image: courtesy Flash Center for Computational Science, University of Chicago
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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.
Image: courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratoy | David Pugmire
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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.
Image: courtesy Universidad Politécnica de Madrid | Juan Sillero
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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.
Image: courtesy Turbomeca and CERFACS | Pierre Wolf
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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.
Image: courtesy Oliver Lange
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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.
Image: courtesy OakRidge National Laboratory | Scott Klasky
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The M8 simulation revealed regions at risk during a magnitude-8 quake by charting peak horizontal ground velocities.
Image: courtesy University of Southern California | Geoffrey Ely