Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2018-01-03 17:05:15
  • Article ID: 687451

Reaching the Department of Energy's 'Top 40'

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Claire Ballweg/Department of Energy and National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

    Four of the Department of Energy’s ‘Top 40’ research milestones since 1977 involved Argonne scientists.

In marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Department’s Office of Science highlighted four papers from Argonne National Laboratory that are among 40 “cream-of-the-crop” research projects that have changed the face of science.

The top 40 research papers were selected from among the thousands that the DOE Office of Science has supported to represent the most important research conducted — whether through the national laboratories, user facilities or its grants programs — in the Department’s 40-year history. Four of them, coauthored by Argonne researchers and their colleagues, advanced scientific frontiers by:

  • Fully implementing the Message Passing Interface (MPI) — a common language that helps computer processors communicate — for the first time
  • Using genome sequencing to confirm a new branch of life
  • Unveiling the PETSc toolkit of parallel computing software
  • Introducing Quantum Monte Carlo computations that quantify reactions and structures inside atomic nuclei

 “Today…every parallel computer comes with a Message Passing Interface implementation." – Ewing (Rusty) Lusk, Argonne Distinguished Fellow with the laboratory’s Mathematics and Computer Science division

Argonne’s four “top 40” papers are:

A high-performance, portable implementation of the
MPI Message Passing Interface

Argonne’s William Gropp, Ewing (Rusty) Lusk and a collaborator wrote this 1996 Parallel Computing paper that described the first full implementation of the MPI standard, known as MPICH.

MPICH enables programmers to develop software that can run on parallel systems of all sizes — from multicore nodes to clusters to the most powerful supercomputers. The interface and its derivatives have become the most popular versions of MPI in the world.

“At the time of publication, the Message Passing Interface specification was still new, and its adoption as a standard by the parallel computing community was far from certain,” said Lusk. “Today, partially as a long-term result of the work reported in this paper, every parallel computer comes with an MPI implementation.”

Gropp was in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) division at the time and is now the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Lusk is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow in the laboratory’s MCS division.

Complete genome sequence of the methanogenic archaeon,
Methanococcus jannaschii

The department hailed this landmark 1996 paper, co-written by MCS division researcher Ross Overbeek and published in Science, for confirming a new branch of the Tree of Life. The paper described the results of sequencing the genome of the heat-loving M. jannaschii microbe that had originally been isolated from vents on the ocean’s floor.

The results confirmed earlier ribosomal RNA-based classification schemes establishing Archaea as distinct from both bacteria and complex, multi-celled organisms. Because Overbeek and his collaborators found the genes and metabolic pathways in Archaea to be sufficiently different to warrant a separate classification, their research helped confirm the tripartite view of the Tree of Life.

Efficient management of parallelism in object-oriented
numerical software libraries

Although supercomputers had been splitting up and assigning work to different processors since 1982, coding these systems was still time consuming and prone to error 15 years later, requiring a high level of expertise. 

An all-Argonne team of researchers wrote this groundbreaking paper, which described the PETSc 2.0 (Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific computation) software. The paper appeared in the 1997 book Modern Software Tools in Scientific Computing. Authors were Satish Balay, William Gropp, Lois Curfman McInnes and Barry F. Smith, all in (or alumni of) the MCS division.

Hailing PETSc as “arguably one of the most influential pieces of software in the history of scientific computing,” DOE recognized that the toolkit brought together fundamental routines needed for parallel scientific simulations, whether in supercomputers or conventional computers networked together. PETSc conceals the complexity of parallel numerical software based on the message-passing model, while maintaining high efficiency and portability.

Quantum Monte Carlo calculations of nuclei with A <~7

Before this 1997 Physical Review C paper, scientists could not accurately calculate the properties of atomic nuclei from realistic descriptions of the forces between individual protons or neutrons.

In this landmark paper, Argonne nuclear physicists and co-authors Steven C. Pieper and Robert B. Wiringa extended beyond the simplest nuclei a sophisticated approach that relied on increasing computational power to answer questions about the reactions and structures of atomic nuclei. The new computational approach, called Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC), allowed researchers to see the splendor of the nuclear shell structure emanating directly from the interactions between protons and neutrons.

According to Wiringa, the team’s paper wove together “multiple threads of research to make the first accurate calculations of six- and seven-body nuclei using realistic two- and three-nucleon interactions.” 

The paper, noted Wiringa, is currently the 15th most cited in the history of Physical Review C

Summaries of all 40 landmark papers can be found here.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Hubble Solves Cosmic 'Whodunit' with Interstellar Forensics

Scientists have used the Hubble Space Telescope to chemically analyze the gas in the Leading Arm (the arching collection of gas that connects the Magellanic Clouds to the Milky Way) and determine its origin.

Plants Really Do Feed Their Friends

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have discovered that as plants develop they craft their root microbiome, favoring microbes that consume very specific metabolites. Their study could help scientists identify ways to enhance the soil microbiome for improved carbon storage and plant productivity.

Halos Look Good on Angels, but Could Damage Fusion Energy Devices

A team of researchers has compiled a database of information from five fusion machines and found that halo currents could damage the walls of fusion devices like ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.

Small Poke -- Huge Unexpected Response

Exotic material exhibits an optical response in enormous disproportion to the stimulus -- larger than in any known crystal.

Out of Thin Air

Argonne researchers conducted basic science computational studies as part of a collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to design a "beyond-lithium-ion" battery cell that operates by running on air over many charge and discharge cycles. The design offers energy storage capacity about three times that of a lithium-ion battery, with significant potential for further improvements.

COSMIC Impact: Next-Gen X-ray Microscopy Platform Now Operational

COSMIC, a next-generation X-ray beamline now operating at Berkeley Lab, brings together a unique set of capabilities to measure the properties of materials at the nanoscale. It allows scientists to probe working batteries and other active chemical reactions, and to reveal new details about magnetism and correlated electronic materials.

Design Approach Developed for Important New Catalysts for Energy Conversion and Storage

Northwestern University researchers have discovered a new approach for creating important new catalysts to aid in clean energy conversion and storage. The method also has the potential to impact the discovery of new optical and data storage materials and catalysts for higher efficiency processing of petroleum products at lower cost. The researchers created a catalyst that is seven times more active than state-of-the-art commercial platinum by combining theory, a new tool for synthesizing nanoparticles and more than one metallic element.

Turning Up the Heat on Remote Research Plots Without Electricity

Flexible, tunable technique warms plants without need for electricity, aiding ecosystem research in remote locales.

Weird Superconductor Leads Double Life

Understanding strontium titanate's odd behavior will aid efforts to develop materials that conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at higher temperatures.

Engineering Yeast Tolerance to a Promising Biomass Deconstruction Solvent

Chemical genomic-guided engineering of gamma-valerolactone-tolerant yeast.

  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Jian Shi Receives Air Force Young Investigator Research Program Award

Jian Shi, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Shi will use the three-year, $450,000 grant to pursue fundamental research on nanoscale complex materials that could lead to the development of next-generation resilient and high-performance energy conversion and sensing technologies.

Kerstin Kleese van Dam Receives 32nd Town of Brookhaven Annual Women's Recognition Award for Science

The award recognizes the contributions Kleese van Dam--director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative since 2015--has made to scientific computing and data management over the past three decades.

Jefferson Lab Announces New Accelerator Science Leader

The Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has announced that Andrei Seryi will become its new associate director for accelerator operations, research and development in June.

First Plasma for New Machine to Study Puzzling Process That Occurs Throughout the Universe

Announcement describes completion of construction of FLARE, a powerful new machine to study magnetic reconnection.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Jian Sun Receives Power Electronics Achievement Award

Jian Sun, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering and director the New York State Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received the 2017 R. David Middlebrook Outstanding Achievement Award from the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS). He was recognized for "contributions to modeling and control of power electronic converters and systems."

FGC Plasma Solutions Wins Top NASA Innovation Award

Argonne Chain Reaction Innovator Felipe Gomez del Campo has received the 2018 NASA iTech award for X-Factor Innovation.

Sandia Researcher Jacqueline Chen Elected to National Academy of Engineering

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Jacqueline Chen, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Chen is among the 99 new members from around the globe in the 2018 class.Election to the National Academy of Engineering is the highest professional distinction for an engineer in the United States.

PNNL Helps Form International Energy Storage Organization

News Release DALIAN, China -- Energy storage allows power operators across the nation to balance electricity supply and demand instantaneously, affording ratepayers a more resilient power supply.Now the focus on energy storage is global. In January, energy storage experts at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory joined forces with their counterparts around the world to forge the International Coalition for Energy Storage and Innovation, or ICESI.

University Partnership to Help Nevada Scientists Commercialize Discovery

UNLV's Office of Technology Transfer and the Desert Research are partnering to help faculty and students leverage each other's talent and resources to transform inventions into new products and services.

DOE Seeks Industry Partners for HPC Research on Materials in Applied Energy Technologies

The Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a funding opportunity totaling $3 million to support projects between U.S. industry and DOE national laboratories related to improving materials in severe or complex environments through the new High Performance Computing for Materials in Applied Energy Technologies (HPC4Mtls) Program.

  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Scaling Plant Traits Stymied by Uncertainty in Measured Global Photosynthesis

Multiple plausible hypotheses in how maximum photosynthetic rates scale across the Earth lead to substantial variability in predicting carbon uptake.

Small Poke -- Huge Unexpected Response

Exotic material exhibits an optical response in enormous disproportion to the stimulus -- larger than in any known crystal.

Turning Up the Heat on Remote Research Plots Without Electricity

Flexible, tunable technique warms plants without need for electricity, aiding ecosystem research in remote locales.

Engineering Yeast Tolerance to a Promising Biomass Deconstruction Solvent

Chemical genomic-guided engineering of gamma-valerolactone-tolerant yeast.

Saplings Survive Droughts via Storage

Certain species of trees retain stored water, limit root growth to survive three months without water.

Unlocking On-Package Memory's Effects on High-Performance Computing's Scientific Kernels

Intuitive visual analytical model better explains complex architectural scenarios and offers general design principles.

Data Dive: How Microbes Handle Poor Nutrition in Tropical Soil

High-performance computing reveals the relationship between DNA and phosphorous uptake.

The Secret Lives of Cells

Supercomputer simulations predict how E. coli adapts to environmental stresses.

It's Not Part of the Problem, but Part of the Solution

Americium(III) is selectively and efficiently separated from europium(III) by an extractant in an ionic liquid.

Buckyball Marries Graphene

Electronic and structure richness arise from the merger of semiconducting molecules of carbon buckyballs and 2-D graphene.


Wednesday March 14, 2018, 02:05 PM

Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday February 15, 2018, 12:05 PM

Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Friday February 09, 2018, 11:05 AM

Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities

California State University, Channel Islands

Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

Wednesday December 20, 2017, 01:05 PM

Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Monday December 18, 2017, 01:05 PM

The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday December 18, 2017, 12:05 PM

Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

Stairway to Science

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

After-School Energy Rush

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

Binghamton University, State University of New York

Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

Argonne National Laboratory

Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday May 13, 2016, 04:05 PM

More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Monday April 25, 2016, 05:05 PM

Giving Back to National Science Bowl

Ames Laboratory

Friday March 25, 2016, 12:05 PM

NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tuesday February 02, 2016, 10:05 AM

Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Monday November 16, 2015, 04:05 PM

Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

Ames Laboratory

Tuesday October 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

University of Utah

Wednesday March 06, 2013, 03:40 PM

Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday November 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

Texas Tech University

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday April 22, 2011, 09:00 AM

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

Wake Forest University

Friday April 15, 2011, 12:25 PM

Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

American University

Thursday February 10, 2011, 05:00 PM

ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

University of Chicago

Tuesday December 07, 2010, 05:00 PM

UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

University of California San Diego

Monday November 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday September 10, 2010, 12:40 PM

Ithaca College Will Host Regional Clean Energy Summit

Ithaca College

Tuesday July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University

Friday May 07, 2010, 04:20 PM

Creighton University to Offer New Alternative Energy Program

Creighton University

Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

National Engineering Program Seeks Subject Matter Experts in Energy

JETS Junior Engineering Technical Society

Wednesday April 21, 2010, 12:30 PM

Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday February 04, 2010, 02:00 PM

Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

Campus Leaders Showing the Way to a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Showing results

0-4 Of 2215