Applied Math and Computing at DOE

October 21, 2006

The U.S. Department of Energy has been a long-term investor in applied mathematics, computational science, and computing. In a recent report to Congress (DOE Strategic Research Portfolio Analysis and Coordination Plan, Energy Policy Act, Section 994, Report to Congress (http://www.sc.doe.gov/), the DOE Office of Science highlighted the importance of these research areas to the overall DOE mission.

The report identifies, for example, areas of advanced mathematics---including optimization of complex systems, control theory, and risk assessment---needed to model the electrical grid, carbon sequestration, and the nuclear fuel cycle. It designates promising focus areas---the mathematics of complex systems and multiscale analysis, to name just two. In a section on wind power, it highlights the need for "fundamental aerodynamics or rotating airfoils, especially effects caused by inflow turbulence," as well as "advanced modeling and computational methods . . . in climate modeling and prediction" for wind resource assessment.

This report describes proposed research initiatives that will help DOE fulfill its mission. A major announcement of new investments---the results of the Phase II SciDAC (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computation) competition---demonstrates the strong DOE commitment to computational science. Approximately thirty projects will receive a total of about $60 million per year.

The list of the centers and institutes funded can be found at the SciDAC Web site (http://www.scidac.gov/aboutSD.html).

In applied mathematics, the list includes one institute and three centers that will receive a total of roughly $9 million per year. In computer science, funding for two institutes and five centers totals about $18.6 million per year. The Web site includes descriptions of each institute and center: their scientific goals, participating institutions, and key individuals.

The awards in application areas---physics, climate, groundwater, fusion energy, life sciences, materials, and energy---reflect significant participation of the SIAM community. These awards in computational science will support large multidisciplinary teams; team members include individuals from national labs as well as academic researchers.


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