BES Report

Windus, Theresa, Michael Banda, Thomas Devereaux, Julia C. White, Katie Antypas, Richard Coffey, Eli Dart, et al. 2017. “Basic Energy Sciences Exascale Requirements Review. An Office of Science Review Sponsored Jointly by Advanced Scientific Computing Research and Basic Energy Sciences, November 3-5, 2015, Rockville, Maryland”. United States. doi:10.2172/1341721.

Available for download: Four-page BES report summary

Computers have revolutionized every aspect of our lives. Yet in science, the most tantalizing applications of computing lie just beyond our reach. The current quest to build an exascale computer with one thousand times the capability of today’s fastest machines (and more than a million times that of a laptop) will take researchers over the next horizon. The field of materials, chemical reactions, and compounds is inherently complex. Imagine millions of new materials with new functionalities waiting to be discovered — while researchers also seek to extend those materials that are known to a dizzying number of new forms. We could translate massive amounts of data from high precision experiments into new understanding through data mining and analysis. We could have at our disposal the ability to predict the properties of these materials, to follow their transformations during reactions on an atom-by-atom basis, and to discover completely new chemical pathways or physical states of matter. Extending these predictions from the nanoscale to the mesoscale, from the ultrafast world of reactions to long-time simulations to predict the lifetime performance of materials, and to the discovery of new materials and processes will have a profound impact on energy technology. In addition, discovery of new materials is vital to move computing beyond Moore’s law. To realize this vision, more than hardware is needed. New algorithms to take advantage of the increase in computing power, new programming paradigms, and new ways of mining massive data sets are needed as well. This report summarizes the opportunities and the requisite computing ecosystem needed to realize the potential before us. In addition to pursuing new and more complete physical models and theoretical frameworks, this review found that the following broadly grouped areas relevant to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) would directly affect the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) mission need. Simulation, visualization, and data analysis are crucial for advances in energy science and technology. Revolutionary mathematical, software, and algorithm developments are required in all areas of BES science to take advantage of exascale computing architectures and to meet data analysis, management, and workflow needs. In partnership with ASCR, BES has an emerging and pressing need to develop new and disruptive capabilities in data science. More capable and larger high-performance computing (HPC) and data ecosystems are required to support priority research in BES. Continued success in BES research requires developing the next-generation workforce through education and training and by providing sustained career opportunities.