Slippery subject

February 11th, 2015 Updated: June 2nd, 2015

University of Texas researchers are out to improve computational models of ice sheets by refining estimates of basal friction: how much rocks and earth slow the sheet’s movement.


A small subset of the particles from the Dark Sky Simulation Collaboration, showing a massive galaxy cluster at the center. Particles are colored by their incoming (blue) or outgoing (red) velocity with respect to the cluster. (See ihttp://darksky.slac.stanford.edu/halo_world.html.)

Universe in a day

November 19th, 2014 Updated: November 19th, 2014

A team working on the Titan supercomputer simulates the biggest thing of all in a flash, then shares.


Liquid water molecules binding to a surface a promising photoactive system, called InP, for generating hydrogen using sunlight and water.

Back to the hydrogen future

October 8th, 2014 Updated: October 8th, 2014

At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Computational Science Graduate Fellowship alum Brandon Wood applies the world’s most sophisticated molecular dynamics codes on America’s leading supercomputers to model hydrogen’s reaction kinetics.


Permafrost creates a polygonal landscape, irregularity that makes simulating thawing’s impact on climate change a challenge requiring advanced algorithms and high-performance computers. (Photo: Konstanze Piel, Alfred Wegener Institute.)

After the thaw

February 19th, 2014 Updated: February 19th, 2014

Simulations of melting permafrost promise changes in climate modeling.



Foiling airflow error

June 4th, 2013 Updated: June 4th, 2013

Portraying airflow over wings and other fluid movement is tricky. A Department of Energy award for early-career researchers is helping a former DOE CSGF fellow devise mathematical methods to decrease the error rate in fluid modeling.


Display of a multijet event from a CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. (CERN.)

Cosmic questions

March 18th, 2013 Updated: March 18th, 2013

MIT’s Dragos Velicanu is helping sort through data from the Large Hadron Collider for clues to the mysteries surrounding the strong force and the early universe.


A visualization of a Vlasov-Poisson simulation for a bump-on-tail instability problem, where a non-equilibrium distribution of electrons drives an electrostatic wave. The image shows particle density as a function of space and velocity. (Jeffrey Hittinger, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.)

A passion for pressure

August 15th, 2012 Updated: August 15th, 2012

Plasmas are the purview of Livermore scientist and Computational Science Graduate Fellowship alumnus Jeffrey Hittinger. He works both sides of the fusion street – inertial confinement and magnetic confinement – while simulating aspects of these tremendously hot, fast-moving particle clouds.


University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers are using X-ray scans and computational models to learn the secrets of mantis shrimp, crustaceans who fire their appendages with amazing speed and force to ward off enemies and capture prey. On the left is a freeze frame from a high-speed video of an experiment in which a materials-testing machine compresses a mantis shrimp appendage to mimic the way the crustacean would prepare to strike. On the right is a finite element computer model of the appendage under similar loading conditions. Blue, or cold, regions represent areas with low calculated strain energy density. Red, or hot, regions have high calculated strain energy density. The comparisons show the model’s predicted behavior resembles the appendage’s physical behavior. (Images: Michael Rosario, University of Massachusetts Amherst. A video, "An inside look at the mantis shrimp's punching mechanism," is available in the Related Links box at right.)

Prime-time punch

March 26th, 2012 Updated: February 22nd, 2013

The mantis shrimp packs one of the strongest punches on Earth. Computational Science Graduate Fellow Michael Rosario is investigating the physics, design and material properties behind the crustacean’s prey-crunching wallop. His research has landed him on the National Geographic Wild channel.


The tiny white yeast colonies in the right panel interspersed with larger normal colonies are cells that have had a synthetic chromosome inserted and their DNA shuffled by the lab-induced SCRaMbLE system, which introduces changes that slow cell growth. By comparison, all colonies on the left are grown from the standard lab yeast strain and appear uniform. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Designer yeast

September 14th, 2011 Updated: July 25th, 2014

A Johns Hopkins University team has built a yeast chromosome from scratch, they report today in the journal Nature. Sarah Richardson used what she learned as a Computational Science Graduate Fellow to help design and monitor the chromosome’s construction.


An optimized sequence of parameter values in nuclear simulations. (Image courtesy of Stefan Wild.)

Pounding out atomic nuclei

March 7th, 2011 Updated: November 30th, 2011

Thousands of tiny systems called atomic nuclei – specific combinations of protons and neutrons – prove extremely difficult to study but have big implications for nuclear stockpile stewardship. To describe all of the nuclei and the reactions between them, a nationwide collaboration is devising powerful algorithms that run on high-performance computers.


The geometry of human coronary arteries from a CTA scan, shown at 12.5 micron resolution. The inset shows blood-flow geometry detail. The red in the detail highlights red blood cells, not endothelial shear stress (ESS), which is represented as a color map on the arterial walls. (Image courtesy of the author.)

Pressure and flow

November 16th, 2010 Updated: November 29th, 2011

The first large-scale simulation of blood flow in coronary arteries enlists a realistic description of the vessels’ geometries. Researchers reported on the simulation today at the SC10 supercomputing conference in New Orleans.


Alejandro Rodriguez

From Cuba to Cambridge by way of Miami

June 16th, 2010 Updated: November 30th, 2011

The former Computational Science Graduate Fellowship recipient escaped the communist regime with his family, then found a love of physics.


Using mathematical methods he helped develop, Alejandro Rodriguez has calculated Casimir forces in these and other complex structures.

Forceful thinking

June 16th, 2010 Updated: November 30th, 2011

A quantum curiosity called the Casimir force gums up micro- and nanomachines. Work at MIT led by a newly minted alumnus of the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship suggests uses for the force – and ways around it.