Grand Challenge Seminars

Grand Challenge Seminar Series Decorative banner

M&IC and the Deputy Director for Science and Technology are pleased to announced the revival of the Grand Challenge Seminar Series.


HPC-Enabled Asteroid Detection System in the Era of LSST

Sixth in the series was presented by Nathan Golovich

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, home to the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), will make the largest ever contribution to our planetary defense by discovering asteroids in multiple photometric filters to enable compositional inference with enough independent detections to fit orbits of the majority of the remaining dangerous asteroids to be discovered. However, the LSST will fall short of the 2005 congressional mandate to discover and characterize 90% of the 140m and larger dangerous asteroids. As the deadline for the mandate passed in 2020, only ~35% of them have been discovered. To address this shortfall, NASA plans to launch an infrared space mission (Near Earth Object Surveillance Mission), and there has been discussion of extending observations on the Rubin Observatory for an additional few years. Together, these proposals will cost nearly one billion dollars. Our LDRD seeks to develop a computational approach that could unlock the same gains at a fraction of the cost using existing and planned survey observations and LLNL computing resources. Supported by the Computing Grand Challenge, we’ve developed such an approach and obtained initial results that demonstrate the potential to achieve this lofty goal. In this talk I will discuss our 2021 results and our plans for continuing work in 2022.

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Metal Strength in Atomistic Detail 

Fifth in the series was presented by Vasily Bulatov

Relentless growths of HPC capabilities is making possible atomistic simulations on previously unthinkable scales of microns and millisecond.  I will briefly review our ongoing work in which we are taking advantage of Grand Challenge allocations to run large-scale Molecular Dynamics simulations aiming to understand the origins and to probe the limits of metal strength.   

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High Performance Computing Accelerates Drug Discovery to Combat Cancer

Fourth in the series was presented by Yue Yang

Cancer is a leading cause of mortality worldwide, accounting for 10 million deaths per year. Doctors and scientists keep seeking better drugs to care for people with cancer. It takes a long development and approval process—typically 10 years—for a drug to go from an idea in the lab to an approved drug that a doctor can prescribe. The first part of the process is preclinical research, during which a candidate molecule is discovered or designed, and then modified for best efficacy (e.g., kill cancer cells) and safety (doesn’t harm other cells or cause side effects). Computational modeling has been used to accelerate preclinical discovery; however, models may be limited in speed and accuracy. In this talk I will review how we used our recent Grand Challenge allocation for high-performance computing to accelerate cancer drug discovery.

Grand Challenge Recipient: First Principles Calculations of Atomic Nuclei and Their Interactions

Third in the series was presented by Kostas Kravvaris

Atomic nuclei are the heart of matter, the fuel of stars, and a unique doorway to explore some of the most fundamental laws of the universe. An overarching goal of nuclear physics is to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of atomic nuclei and their interactions, and to use this understanding to accurately predict nuclear properties that are difficult to measure, or simply inaccessible to experiment. This effort requires significant computing power and has benefited immensely from current hybrid high performance computing architectures. In this talk I will review recent Grand Challenge calculations of nuclear properties relevant to fundamental physics and applications, present ongoing efforts for quantifying their uncertainties, and discuss the application of quantum computers as the eventual next step in computing atomic nuclei and their interactions.

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Grand Challenge Recipient: Origins of Matter

Second in the series was given by Pavlos Vranas

It has been well established that protons and neutrons are not elementary particles. Instead, they are composites made of constituent particles called quarks and gluons. Quarks and gluons are elementary, and their interactions are described by the theory of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). Calculations of QCD are important in revealing the structure and interactions of the proton, neutron and the other nuclear particles. Separately, it is also well established that an unknown substance permeates our Universe, and among other things holds the galaxies together with mass density of about five times larger than the mass density of our visible Universe. It has been termed Dark Matter. A Dark Matter theory developed at LLNL suggests that it is similar to QCD.  Both these theories can only be solved by numerical simulation using a discrete space-time, the Lattice, on the fastest supercomputers available. The Grand Challenge program and the LLNL supercomputers have advanced this frontier to a leading world effort. 

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Grand Challenge Recipient: Earthquake Ground Motion Simulations on Sierra and Lassen with SW4.

Our first talk was given by Artie Rodgers

SW4 is a summation-by-parts finite difference code for simulating seismic motions in 3D Earth models. Porting of SW4 to Sierra and Lassen with RAJA under the Institutional Center of Excellence project enabled faster, larger and more finely resolved simulations. This talk will highlight some of the science that was made possible by these advances and executed in an FY2019 Computing Grand Challenge allocation. Further enhancements to SW4 are being made under the EQSIM DOE Exascale Computing Project.

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