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 (, 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 (

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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