While our friends Jaguar and Ranger toil to model the Earth's atmosphere, star formation and battery chemistry, other supercomputers are working on classified national security problems. Namely: What happens when a nuclear weapon explodes? Are we sure our nuclear arsenal would actually work, should, God forbid, we decide to use it?
The ability to quickly detect and identify viruses and bacteria is key in fields ranging from antiterrorism to medical diagnosis to pharmaceutical safety. A novel three-inch device created at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory should make doing so a lot easier. The new detector can identify any of 3,000 different viruses or bacteria in just 24 hours.
By Gregory MonePosted 07.16.2007 at 12:48 pm 0 Comments
Blasting tumors with high-energy protons has become an increasingly popular and effective way of fighting cancer. Unlike the X rays normally used to fry the cancerous cells, proton beams can be tuned so that they deliver most of their energy to a specific target, without damaging the healthy tissue nearby. But the equipment required for proton therapy, which includes a particle accelerator, can take up an entire building and cost as much as $100 million. Now University of Wisconsin, Madison physicist Thomas Mackie says his company, TomoTherapy, is developing an effective, but smaller and less expensive proton generator in collaboration with scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the University of California, Davis. This new beam generator would use a di-electric wall accelerator, which uses powerful electric fields to speed up protons in short distances. Best of all, it could fit in todays radiation treatment rooms, and would cost only about $20 million. Mackie guesses that clinical trials are still 5 years away.—Gregory Mone
(Image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, TomoTherapy, and University of California, Davis)
The future of secure travel hinges on seamless, instant communicationand 24/7 autonomous surveillance. Smart sensors will wirelessly monitor the engines of tomorrow s buses for signs of tampering. Toxin detectors will sniff future trains and subways for airborne toxins, then alert the authorities long before passengers do. Radio transponders will constantly track the whereabouts of luggage, keeping it out of nefarious hands. In-flight cabin cams will transmit real-time images of the shady guy in row 13G to ground control.
By Eric MikaPosted 07.05.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
When it reaches full operation in 2009, the National Ignition Facil-ity (NIF) beamline will put other, piffling lab lasers to shame. The NIF system will be 60 times as energetic as Nova (which generated 16 trillion watts), NIF´s predecessor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the previous record holder. But achieving such intensity won´t come easy. The hardware and electronics that power the NIF laser require a space bigger than a football stadium.
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David Keith never expected to get a summons from the White House. But in September 2001, officials with the President's Climate Change Technology Program invited him and more than two dozen other scientists to participate in a roundtable discussion called "Response Options to Rapid or Severe Climate Change." While administration officials were insisting in public that there was no firm proof that the planet was warming, they were quietly exploring potential ways to turn down the heat.
The world's fastest supercomputer is about to get even faster. Can anyone outdo Blue Gene/L?
By Joshua TompkinsPosted 05.04.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
The quest to build the world´s most potent supercomputer is like a never-ending Olympic event, with the pride of entire nations at stake. This summer, the U.S. will tighten its grip on the gold when engineers at the Department of Energy´s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory boost the speed of IBM´s reigning champion Blue Gene/L to an anticipated 270 teraflops-a floor-shaking 270 trillion calculations per second.