OSC engineer supports materials modeling research

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Feb 10, 2010) — 

A multi-institutional research team that first tested a computer modeling program at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) has received a prestigious 2010 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program award.

Led by Mark Jarrell, Ph.D., a physicist at Louisiana State University, the interdisciplinary team has been awarded 17 million supercomputing processor hours on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Cray XT supercomputer for a project on “Next Generation Multi-Scale Quantum Simulation Software for Strongly Correlated Materials.” The team is supported by Karen Tomko, Ph.D., a senior systems developer/engineer at OSC, and also includes researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of California-Davis.

“This method, and the opportunity to use the Cray Jaguar XT5 machine, gives us a chance to study model systems with the precision that was previously impossible,” Jarrell stated in an LSU release. “We hope our research will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the makeup and basic properties of these materials. We want this work to lead to materials that companies such as Goodyear, Battelle or Procter & Gamble can use to develop better technology for areas such as electronic devices or medical science.”

According to the U.S. DOE, “Projects receiving INCITE awards utilize complex simulations to accelerate discoveries in ground-breaking technologies such as lithium air batteries and nano solar cells. The awards also include projects designed to close the nuclear fuel cycle, develop advanced propulsion systems, improve DNA sequencing and explore phenomena on the tiny scale of nanostructured superconductors.”

The team will use the massive power of the “Jaguar” supercomputer to model strongly correlated materials using computing codes that were first fine-tuned on OSC’s flagship “Glenn” IBM Cluster 1350 system, located in Columbus on the west campus of The Ohio State University. Over the past year, the team has worked on a similar project with a 15 million CPU-hour award from the National Center for Computational Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Jarrell, Tomko and the team of applied mathematicians, computational physicists and computer scientists are focused on a massively parallel, multi-scale method to study strongly correlated materials, a wide class of materials with unusual electronic and magnetic properties. Ultimately, this project will advance researchers’ understanding, simulation and design of magnetic materials and superconductors for energy and national security applications, as well as basic research applications.

“Developing a simulation that can run efficiently on tens of thousands of CPU cores can be challenging,” said Tomko, who will assist in determining a way to optimally run the project code on 20,000-30,000 Jaguar CPU cores.  “I am working with an extremely talented group of colleagues on a project that requires every aspect of the simulation’s computing requirements be well understood and adapted to the system.”


The Ohio Supercomputer Center is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community. OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu