Argonne National Laboratory-led projects among $39.8 million in first-round “Exascale” Computing Project awards -Enabled Precision Medicine for Cancer


doe-iii-doeThe U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Exascale Computing Project (ECP) today announced its first round of funding with the selection of 15 application development proposals for full funding and seven proposals for seed funding, representing teams from 45 research and academic organizations.

Exascale refers to high-performance computing systems capable of at least a billion billion calculations per second, or a factor of 50 to 100 times faster than the nation’s most powerful supercomputers in use today.

The 15 awards being announced total $39.8 million, targeting advanced modeling and simulation solutions to specific challenges supporting key DOE missions in science, clean energy and national security, as well as collaborations such as the Precision Medicine Initiative with the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.

Of the proposals announced that are receiving full funding, two are being led by principal investigators at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory:

  1. Computing the Sky at Extreme Scales equips cosmologists with the ability to design foundational simulations to create “virtual universes” on demand at the extreme fidelities demanded by future multi-wavelength sky surveys. The new discoveries that will emerge from the combination of sky surveys and advanced simulation provided by the ECP will shed more light on three key ingredients of our universe: dark energy, dark matter and inflation. All three of these concepts reach beyond the known boundaries of the Standard Model of particle physics.Salman Habib, Principal Investigator, Argonne National Laboratory, with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.argone-ii-nl-mira_-_blue_gene_q_at_argonne_national_laboratory
  1. Exascale Deep Learning and Simulation Enabled Precision Medicine for Cancer focuses on building a scalable deep neural network code called the CANcer Distributed Learning Environment (CANDLE) that addresses three top challenges of the National Cancer Institute: understanding the molecular basis of key protein interactions, developing predictive models for drug response and automating the analysis and extraction of information from millions of cancer patient records to determine optimal cancer treatment strategies.Rick Stevens, Principal Investigator, Argonne National Laboratory, with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Cancer Institute.

Additionally, a third project led by Argonne will be receiving seed funding:

  1. Multiscale Coupled Urban Systems will create an integrated modeling framework comprising data curation, analytics, modeling and simulation components that will equip city designers, planners and managers to scientifically develop and evaluate solutions to issues that affect cities now and in the future. The framework will focus first on integrating urban atmosphere and infrastructure heat exchange and air flow; building energy demand at district or city-scale, generation and use; urban dynamics and socioeconomic models; population mobility and transportation; and hooks to expand to include energy systems (biofuels, electricity and natural gas) and water resources.Charlie Catlett, Principal Investigator, Argonne National Laboratory, with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The application efforts will help guide DOE’s development of a U.S. exascale ecosystem as part of President Obama’s National Strategic Computing Initiative. DOE, the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation have been designated as lead agencies, and ECP is the primary DOE contribution to the initiative.

The ECP’s multiyear mission is to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing for U.S. economic competitiveness, national security and scientific discovery. In addition to applications, the DOE project addresses hardware, software, platforms and workforce development needs critical to the effective development and deployment of future exascale systems.

argone-nl-090115-114727Leadership of the ECP comes from six DOE national laboratories: the Office of Science’s Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley national labs and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia national labs.

The Exascale Computing Project is a collaborative effort of two DOE organizations — the Office of Science and the NNSA. As part of President Obama’s National Strategic Computing initiative, ECP was established to develop a capable exascale ecosystem, encompassing applications, system software, hardware technologies and architectures, and workforce development to meet the scientific and national security mission needs of DOE in the mid-2020s timeframe.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within DOE responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.

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.

MIT: New solar cell is more efficient, costs less than its counterparts – new photovoltaic cell harvests more of sun’s energy. 


Capturing, Generating and Storing SOLAR ENERGY for a CLEAN, RENEWABLE Future. ~ BWH ~ Genesis Nanotechnology, Inc.
“Great Things from Small Things” ~ “Discover – Develop – Commercialize – Exit”

Genesis Nanotechnology

A silicon solar cell with silicon-germanium filter using a step-cell design (large) and a gallium arsenide phosphide layer on silicon step-cell proof-of-concept solar cell (small).Photo: Tahra Al Hammadi/Masdar Institute News.

The cost of solar power is beginning to reach price parity with cheaper fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world, yet the clean energy source still accounts for just slightly more than 1 percent of the world’s electricity mix.

Solar, or photovoltaic (PV), cells, which convert sunlight into electrical energy, have a large role to play in boosting solar power generation globally, but researchers still face limitations to scaling up this technology. For example, developing very high-efficiency solar cells that can convert a significant amount of sunlight into usable electrical energy at very low costs remains a significant challenge.

A team of researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology may have found a way…

View original post 1,289 more words

The One Question to Ask Yourself Every Morning


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Original Post by Marissa Levin, CEO of Successful Culture and EO Baltimore member

I had the opportunity this week to learn from one of my most inspirational mentors who happens to also be a great speaker: Warren S. Rustand, a lifelong entrepreneur and former NBA player.

Warren is the CEO of Providence Service Corporation (NASDAQ; PSC) a $1.2 Billion social services and Logistics Management Company. He was previously Managing Director of SC Capital Partners an investment banking group.

Warren was Chairman and CEO of Rural Metro Corporation, a $600 million, publicly traded emergency services company.

He also served as Chairman and CEO of TLC Vision, the world’s largest Lasik eye surgery company. He has served as Chairman/CEO of 6 other companies.

He has served as a member of the Board of Directors for over 50 public, private, and not-for-profit organizations. The range of these organizations is from multibillion dollar public companies, to midsize, early stage, and startups. As CEO he has taken two companies public, one of which is the largest in its industry and the other is the second largest in its industry.

In 1973 Warren was selected as a White House Fellow through a nationally competitive process. He served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and led the first ever Executive Level Trade Mission to the Soviet Union. He joined the staff of Vice President Ford on the day he was sworn-in. In August of 1974 when the Vice President became President, Warren was asked to serve as Appointments Secretary and Cabinet Secretary to the President.

According to Rustand, the potential for a life of greatness lies within each of us, but we must be committed to five specific principles. Before I get to those, let’s talk about the concept of greatness.

Greatness is  a CHOICE. It is not a function of circumstance. It is a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

To perform at a level of greatness, we need to commit to a higher level of energy, time, and effort than most.

To quote Gandhi, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you dream, you have to plan. If you believe, you have to act.

Complacency and acceptance of the status quo is the death of greatness. Think about all of the great people that have crossed your path, either personally or indirectly. Think of those that inspire you on a personal level, as well as those that have changed the world.

These are the people that are always trying to improve. These are the people committed to greatness. It is their commitment to greatness, and their decision to never settle for mediocrity that makes them so.

Embrace the possibility of your personal greatness… never underestimate your power to move to a higher level and change your life.

Following are Warren’s five principles of personal greatness that have allowed him to pursue a higher level of achievement in all aspects of his life.

  1. Commit to Personal Discipline.
    We must put our mind in the position to compete with everyone else. When you correct your mind, everything else falls into place.

All that we are is the totality of what we have thought. We are what we think. best-views-hardest-climb-090616-2b309363f2a61427a58f97c227e70d67

  1. Live With Purpose.
    Warren begins every morning by asking himself, “What is my purpose today… Why am I alive?”

Think about how powerful this question is. Think about how intentional you can be in all of your decisions and actions throughout your day if everything you do is aligned with the answer to that question.

We must proceed through life with clarity of purpose. This brings us to Warren’s third principle:

  1. Act With Intent.
    Intent in all aspects of our lives – personal and professional – is everything. When we align our intention and our attentionwe achieve our desired outcomes.

What are your intentions for your life? It makes no sense to leave outcomes to chance. All must be pre-meditated. If there is an outcome we desire, we must plan and execute against the plan.

  1. Make Conscious Choices.
    Stephen Covey talks about three great moments of discovery – the points in time when a person discovers who they are at the core of their being:
    – When we identify our core beliefs and values
    – When we make a commitment to those values
    – When we behave according to those values

Defining our ethics, values, and beliefs are decisions that we make once. Once we have defined them, all of our decisions flow from them.

  1. Answering the Call to Serve.
    Warren’s final principle is our obligation to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Greatness is an equal-opportunity quest. Regardless of vocation, we can all commit to greatness. We can all commit to helping others, to building up our communities, and the people within them.

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“If you have not helped someone else today, if you have not served others today, then you must constitute that as a bad day.”

Warren also gave great advice for living a happy life.

“Do you want to be happy? Never compare up. Never compare yourself to those that have more. Instead compare yourselves to those who have less. Then you will live from a place of gratitude.”

Your Call to Action:

Commit to one change to bring you closer to greatness.

  • Sign up for a volunteer effort.
  • Make one small shift in your health habits.
  • Read one book about a leader that inspires you.
  • Write down 5 ideas about your higher purpose.

Own Your Journey. 

This article was originally posted on the Successful Culture blog and has been reprinted here with the author’s permission.

** Warren Rustand is also a Founding Board Member of 

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MIT: New solar cell is more efficient, costs less than its counterparts – new photovoltaic cell harvests more of sun’s energy. 


A silicon solar cell with silicon-germanium filter using a step-cell design (large) and a gallium arsenide phosphide layer on silicon step-cell proof-of-concept solar cell (small).Photo: Tahra Al Hammadi/Masdar Institute News.

The cost of solar power is beginning to reach price parity with cheaper fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world, yet the clean energy source still accounts for just slightly more than 1 percent of the world’s electricity mix.

Solar, or photovoltaic (PV), cells, which convert sunlight into electrical energy, have a large role to play in boosting solar power generation globally, but researchers still face limitations to scaling up this technology. For example, developing very high-efficiency solar cells that can convert a significant amount of sunlight into usable electrical energy at very low costs remains a significant challenge.

A team of researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology may have found a way around this seemingly intractable tradeoff between efficiency and cost. The team has developed a new solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy.
The researchers call the device a “step cell,” because the two layers are arranged in a stepwise fashion, with the lower layer jutting out beneath the upper layer, in order to expose both layers to incoming sunlight. Such layered, or “multijunction,” solar cells are typically expensive to manufacture, but the researchers also used a novel, low-cost manufacturing process for their step cell.

The team’s step-cell concept can reach theoretical efficiencies above 40 percent and estimated practical efficiencies of 35 percent, prompting the team’s principal investigators — Masdar Institute’s Ammar Nayfeh, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and MIT’s Eugene Fitzgerald, the Merton C. Flemings-SMA Professor of Materials Science and Engineering — to plan a startup company to commercialize the promising solar cell.

Fitzgerald, who has launched several startups, including AmberWave Systems Corporation, Paradigm Research LLC, and 4Power LLC, thinks the step cells might be ready for the PV market within the next year or two.

The team presented its initial proof-of-concept step cell in June at the 43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Portland, Oregon. The researchers have also reported their findings at the 40th and 42nd annual conferences, and in the Journal of Applied Physics and IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics.

Beyond silicon

Traditional silicon crystalline solar cells, which have been touted as the industry’s gold standard in terms of efficiency for over a decade, are relatively cheap to manufacture, but they are not very efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. On average, solar panels made from silicon-based solar cells convert between 15 and 20 percent of the sun’s energy into usable electricity.

Silicon’s low sunlight-to-electrical energy efficiency is partially due to a property known as its bandgap, which prevents the semiconductor from efficiently converting higher-energy photons, such as those emitted by blue, green, and yellow light waves, into electrical energy. Instead, only the lower-energy photons, such as those emitted by the longer red light waves, are efficiently converted into electricity.

To harness more of the sun’s higher-energy photons, scientists have explored different semiconductor materials, such as gallium arsenide and gallium phosphide. While these semiconductors have reached higher efficiencies than silicon, the highest-efficiency solar cells have been made by layering different semiconductor materials on top of each other and fine-tuning them so that each can absorb a different slice of the electromagnetic spectrum.

These layered solar cells can reach theoretical efficiencies upward of 50 percent, but their very high manufacturing costs have relegated their use to niche applications, such as on satellites, where high costs are less important than low weight and high efficiency.

The Masdar Institute-MIT step cell, in contrast, can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost because a key component is fabricated on a substrate that can be reused. The device may thus help boost commercial applications of high-efficiency, multijunction solar cells at the industrial level.

Steps to success

The step cell is made by layering a gallium arsenide phosphide-based solar cell, consisting of a semiconductor material that absorbs and efficiently converts higher-energy photons, on a low-cost silicon solar cell.

The silicon layer is exposed, appearing like a bottom step. This intentional step design allows the top gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) layer to absorb the high-energy photons (from blue, green, and yellow light) leaving the bottom silicon layer free to absorb lower-energy photons (from red light) not only transmitted through top layers but also from the entire visible light spectrum.

“We realized that when the top gallium arsenide phosphide layer completely covered the bottom silicon layer, the lower-energy photons were absorbed by the silicon germanium — the substrate on which the gallium arsenide phosphide is grown — and thus the solar cell had a much lower efficiency,” explains Sabina Abdul Hadi, a PhD student at Masdar Institute whose doctoral dissertation provided the foundational research for the step-cell. “By etching away the top layer and exposing some of the silicon layer, we were able to increase the efficiency considerably.”

Working under Nayfeh’s supervision, Abdul Hadi conducted simulations based on experimental results to determine the optimal levels and geometrical configuration of the GaAsP layer on silicon to yield the highest efficiencies. Her findings resulted in the team’s initial proof-of-concept solar cell. Abdul Hadi will continue supporting the step cell’s technological development as a post-doctoral researcher at Masdar Institute.

On the MIT side, the team developed the GaAsP, which they did by growing the semiconductor alloy on a substrate made of silicon germanium (SiGe).

“Gallium arsenide phosphide cannot be grown directly on silicon, because its crystal lattices differ considerably from silicon’s, so the silicon crystals become degraded. That’s why we grew the gallium arsenide phosphide on the silicon germanium — it provides a more stable base,” explains Nayfeh.

The problem with the silicon germanium under the GaAsP layer is that SiGe absorbs the lower-energy light waves before it reaches the bottom silicon layer, and SiGe does not convert these low-energy light waves into current.

“To get around the optical problem posed by the silicon germanium, we developed the idea of the step cell, which allows us to leverage the different energy absorption bands of gallium arsenide phosphate and silicon,” says Nayfeh.

The step cell concept led to an improved cell in which the SiGe template is removed and re-used, creating a solar cell in which GaAsP cell tiles are directly on top of a silicon cell. The step-cell allows for SiGe reuse since the GaAsP cell tiles can be under-cut during the transfer process. Explaining the future low-cost fabrication process, Fitzgerald says: “We grew the gallium arsenide phosphide on top of the silicon germanium, patterned it in the optimized geometric configuration, and bonded it to a silicon cell. Then we etched through the patterned channels and lifted off the silicon germanium alloys on silicon. What remains then, is a high-efficiency tandem solar cell and a silicon germanium template, ready to be reused.”

Because the tandem cell is bonded together, rather than created as a monolithic solar cell (where all layers are grown onto a single substrate), the SiGe can be removed and reused repeatedly, which significantly reduces the manufacturing costs.

“Adding that one layer of the gallium arsenide phosphide can really boost efficiency of the solar cell but because of the unique ability to etch away the silicon germanium and reuse it, the cost is kept low because you can amortize that silicon germanium cost over the course of manufacturing many cells,” Fitzgerald adds.

Filling a market gap

Fitzgerald believes the step cell fits well in the existing gap of the solar PV market, between the super high-efficiency and low-efficiency industrial applications. And as volume increases in this market gap, the manufacturing costs should be driven down even further over time.

This project began as one of nine Masdar Institute-MIT Flagship Research Projects, which are high-potential projects involving faculty and students from both universities. The MIT and Masdar Institute Cooperative Program helped launch the Masdar Institute in 2007. Research collaborations between the two institutes address global energy and sustainability issues, and seek to develop research and development capabilities in Abu Dhabi.

“This research project highlights the valuable role that research and international collaboration plays in developing a commercially-relevant technology-based innovation, and it is a perfect demonstration of how a research idea can transform into an entrepreneurial reality,” says Nayfeh.

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