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Big Computer Power

NSF Award:

Louisiana EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement  (Louisiana Board of Regents)

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Driven by Moore's Law, computing power has exploded over the last 30 years. The principle states that the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles every two years. However, the semiconductor technology responsible for this doubling can no longer sustain such growth. Achieving Moore's law in the future will require new materials with new capabilities.

To explore these new materials, an interdisciplinary team of physicists and computer engineers developed computer codes to efficiently harness the power of 30,000 or more processors at NSF supercomputing facilities. The advanced codes allow scientists to more accurately model aspects of physical processes such as magnetism, superconductivity and the insulating behavior predicted to occur in the new materials.

Improving computer hardware and software to use tens of thousands of processors allows for a deeper understanding of the material world. For instance, the combination of the advanced coding methods and new machines such as NSF's Kraken at the National Institute for Computational Sciences, has enabled simulation of two-particle, many-body theories. These more accurate simulations will help create more reliable models of competing phases in strongly correlated electronic systems.

Such systems are important according to the 2007 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors because they may enable new devices by greatly enhancing their sensitivity to various applied fields. Devices based on correlated electronic materials can yield an exponential increase in computing power. In addition, the competing phases these materials display offer new ways to control such devices.

Images (1 of )

  • the kraken supercomputer
  • graph shows how advanced computing techniques significantly reduce processing times
NSF's Kraken supercomputer
The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Permission Granted
Advanced computing techniques (blue line) significantly reduce processing times.
T.W. Lee, J. Ramanujam, M. Jarrell and J. Moreno, LSU

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