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Welcome to the Fundamental & Computational Sciences website.
I hope you take the opportunity to explore it and learn about the outstanding people, capabilities and scientific research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

—Doug Ray, Associate Lab Director

"We strive to make progress on today's important scientific challenges."


Research Highlights

Cyclone Nargis 2008
Full Story | July 2014

30-year Trends that Encourage Bay of Bengal Cyclones
Scientists find 30-year trends in conditions that ripen Bay of Bengal tropical cyclones

The intensity of post-monsoon tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal has increased over the 30-year period from 1981-2010, found scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Atlanta Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. The culprit? Trending increases in certain environmental conditions that brew up these storms: increased sea surface and upper ocean temperatures and atmospheric instability.

SALVI technology
Full Story | July 2014

Window into Liquid Analysis Earns PNNL an R&D 100 Award
SALVI enables real-time imaging of liquid samples by more than one analytical instrument

Many studies rely on knowing precisely how solids and liquids interact on a molecular level, but liquids evaporate in the vacuum of certain powerful scientific instruments. PNNL developed SALVI, or the System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface, that for the first time allows these instruments to image liquid samples in real time. R&D Magazine honored SALVI’s research team with a 2014 R&D 100 award. The magazine selects the 100 most innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs of the year.

Picking pi electrons
Full Story | July 2014

Cherry Picking Molecules Based on Their Pi Electrons
New material has second-to-none selectivity for ethylene, a high-demand industrial chemical

Specialized windshield glass, everyday plastic water bottles, and countless other products are based on ethylene. Manufacturing it requires an energy-intense separation process that plucks the desired chemical from nearly identical ethane. To ease the energy required, an international team including researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory designed a material with a porous framework that greatly prefers ethylene. The material contains silver that binds with the electrons around ethylene's double-bonded carbon atoms. These electrons are known as π electrons or the π cloud.

Full Story | July 2014

Comm Link
Framework generates communication-optimal algorithms for contracting distributed tensors; may represent new state of the art

Tensor contractions, generalized matrix multiplications that are time-consuming to calculate, make them among the most compute-intensive operations in several ab initio computational quantum chemistry methods. In this work, Sriram Krishnamoorthy, a research scientist with ACMD’s High Performance Computing group, along with scientists from The Ohio State University, developed a systematic framework that uses three fundamental communication operators—recursive broadcast, rotation, and reduction—to derive communication-efficient algorithms for distributed contraction of arbitrary dimensional tensors on the IBM Blue Gene/Q Mira supercomputer. The framework automatically models potential space-performance trade-offs to optimize the communication costs incurred in executing tensor contractions on supercomputers. The paper documenting this work, “Communication-optimal Framework for Contracting Distributed Tensors,” is a SC14 Best Paper award finalist.

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