The sustained-petaflop computing power and massive data resources provided by the Blue Waters system enable scientists and engineers from a wide range of disciplines and from institutions across the United States to make extraordinary leaps in knowledge and discovery. The petascale research conducted with Blue Waters provides new insights into hurricanes and tornadoes, supernovae, the formation of galaxies, earthquakes, and more.
Physicists Warren Mori and team members Weiming An and Frank Tsung use Blue Waters to simulate plasma acceleration. Their research has led to two recent publications in Nature.
Blue Waters helps Illinois researchers construct atomic model of an immature retrovirus
Researchers from the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group have constructed an atomic model of the immature retrovirus RSV in order to understand and block the virus.
Simulations on Blue Waters suggest there are fewer faint galaxies than expected
"We simulate thousands of galaxies at a time, including their interactions through gravity and radiation, and that poses a tremendous computational challenge,” said principal investigator Brian O’Shea.
Monte Carlo medley
Monte Carlo methods are a common approach to large computational problems. Lucas Wagner and Robert Sugar both use this method to study different aspects of physics on Blue Waters.
Blue Waters enables realistic 3D simulations of colliding black holes
U of I physics professor Stuart Shapiro presented movies of the black hole simulations at a meeting of the American Physical Society. His team described elements of the study last November in Physical Review D.
Massive Blue Waters simulation improves understanding of early galaxy formation
The largest high-redshift cosmological simulation of galaxy formation ever has been recently completed on Blue Waters.
Enzymes and ribozymes & electron and proton transfer
Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, a Blue Waters Professor and professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, gives a colloquium talk on how she uses Blue Waters to conduct hybrid quantum/classical simulations of chemical and biological processes. (VIDEO)
Brian O'Shea describes why Blue Waters is essential
In an NCSA Colloquium, astrophysicist Brian O'Shea explains why the power of Blue Waters is essential for studying the formation of the first galaxies. (VIDEO)
Donald Wuebbles: High-resolution climate simulations
This project Blue Waters and cutting-edge modeling software (the Community Earth System Model)—to advance the study of climate and climate change, while also contributing to international and national assessments of the potential impacts of climate change over this century. (PDF)
Paul Woodward: Simulation of turbulent stellar hydrodynamics
The composition of materials in galaxies that make planets like our own and life possible cannot be understood without the ability to simulate the processes leading to heavy element nucleosynthesis. By studying these brief but important stages of stellar evolution, we hope to improve our understanding of the chemical evolution of galaxies that creates conditions that allow life to develop. (PDF)
Klaus Schulten: The computational microscope
The project may help scientists better understand the role the HIV capsid plays in infecting the host cells and could lead to new HIV therapies. The team's chromatophore research involves deciphering the inner workings of this model photosynthetic system and can guide the development of bio-hybrid green energy devices. (PDF)
Patrick Reed: Design and management of satellite assets to advance space-based Earth science
This research is critical for the scientific and space agency communities to overcome current computational barriers to transform the optimization of future satellite constellation architectures for delivering high-fidelity data for a broad array of applications. A broad array of scientists and stakeholders will draw upon the project’s scientific findings and generated data for further studies and to improve decision making related to flooding, droughts, and food and energy security. (PDF)
Gerhard Klimeck: Accelerating nanoscale transistor innovation with NEMO5
The global semiconductor market is over $300 billion, more than one-third of which is in the United States. Improvements in semiconductors will continue beyond the limits of Moore's Law only through detailed and optimized device design and better integration, which is NEMO's objective. (PDF)
Homayoun Karimabadi: Enabling breakthrough kinetic simulations of the magnetosphere
Massive electromagnetic storms on the Sun can reach Earth, wreaking havoc on technological systems like GPS, satellite communications, and even the power grid. Our kinetic model will help us better understand and forecast space weather to help protect these techological systems. (PDF)
Thomas Jordan: Solving prediction problems in earthquake system science
The CyberShake mode is poised to improve earthquake hazard communication to the public, building codes in earthquake-prone areas, and studies of how ground composition and fault characteristics affect shaking. While preparing to run on Blue Waters the team worked with Blue Waters staff to establish an efficient workflow that will translate well to studies in other fields. (PDF)
Tiziana Di Matteo: Simulating the first galaxies and quasars
The team's simulation of the early universe using Blue Waters blazes a trail for future simulations and handling and analyzing the resulting large-scale datasets. It also helps us understand the formation of the first quasars and galaxies and their role in the early universe, which will be important for understanding observations from new telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope and several huge ground-based telescopes. (PDF)
Blue Waters and Stampede help solve puzzle-like bond for biofuels
The Illinois team led by Klaus Schulten models the strong bond between proteins cohesin and dockerin.
From massive supercomputers come the tiniest transistors
Purdue researchers use Blue Waters to design the building blocks of future nano-computing technologies
Global rainfall satellites require massive overhaul
A new Cornell study warns that the existing system of space-based rainfall observation satellites requires a serious overhaul. Weak spots in flood prediction , particularly in many developing countries, and old rainfall satellites expose many parts of the world to increased risk of disaster.
Blue Waters aids plasma research
The UCLA Plasma Simulation Group’s simulation of a high-efficiency plasma wakefield accelerator was recently featured on the cover of the journal Nature.
Mayo Clinic researchers use the Blue Waters supercomputer to understand gene expression in the brain.
2014 Blue Waters Annual Report
The 2014 Blue Waters Annual Report details the research breakthroughs enabled by the system in its first year of operations.
Do the wave
The SCEC PressOn project is leading the charge in more physically realistic, wave-based earthquake simulations.
Researchers at the University of Illinois take on a challenging fluid mechanics problem to model blood flow in the cardiovascular system to improve clinical diagnostic tools.
"Blue Waters was essential" for Illinois researchers to simulate DNA moving through a graphene nanopore.
A boost for rocket science competitors
Illinois engineering students are using the Blue Waters supercomputer as they compete in the Global Trajectory Optimization Competition,which challenges aerospace engineers and mathematicians to solve a “nearly impossible” problem in interplanetary trajectory design.
Breakthrough tornado simulation
Thanks to access to Blue Waters, scientists from Central Michigan University have created the first simulation of a long-track EF5 tornado
XSEDE and Blue Waters go supernova
A Caltech research team performs fully 3D model simulations of supernova explosions thanks to both XSEDE-allocated Stampede and Blue Waters.
Alabama team studies solar winds
Using Blue Waters, Nikolai Pogorelov and his collaborators discovered why the Voyager 1 spacecraft penetrated interstellar space years earlier than predicted.
Fixing and flexing biomolecular force fields
A University of Utah research group led by Thom Cheatham is using the massive scale of Blue Waters to rapidly and rigorously evaluate the force fields used in molecular dynamics simulations.
Voth team develops new MD code
With Blue Waters supplemental funding, the team developed a new coarse-grained molecular dynamics code that's designed to tackle really big, complex biomolecular processes, including HIV replication and the assembly of the HIV capsid.
Blue Waters enables the simulation of a key supernova phase at unprecedented resolution
With the extreme scale of the Blue Waters supercomputer, the UC Santa Cruz team led by Stan Woosley was able to complete a 3D simulation of a turbulent flame in a supernova at unprecedented resolution—135 m/zone, about eight times greater than typical simulations. These results were published in The Astrophysical Journal in February 2014.
Forecasting space weather with Blue Waters
“Now that we have been able to go beyond fluid models, which ignore details on small scales, we have uncovered new and unexpected effects and are finding ample evidence that physical processes occurring on small scales have global consequences,” explains Homa Karimabadi of the University of California, San Diego.
Physicists publish precise calculation of meson decay
With help from Blue Waters and other HPC systems, a team of high-energy physicists performs the most precise calculation to date of the decay of K and pi mesons.
Wit, grit and a supercomputer yield chemical structure of HIV capsid
Researchers report in the journal Nature that they have determined the precise chemical structure of the HIV capsid, a protein shell that protects the virus’s genetic material. The simulations that added the missing pieces to the puzzle were conducted during testing of Blue Waters.
Blue Waters team improves seismology code
The Blue Waters team helped researchers from the University of Wyoming dramatically improve performance of their seismology code by reducing the I/O bottleneck.
Blue Waters enables a U.S./China collaboration to reveal structure of a virus that causes a fatal disease in rabbits.
Understanding space weather with Blue Waters
Homayoun Karimabadi from the University of California-San Diego explains how his team is using the Blue Waters Early Science System to investigate magnetic reconnection, which triggers storms on the sun and allows the sun's radiation to enter Earth's magnetosphere.
Simulating supernovae with Blue Waters
Chris Malone and Andy Nonaka explains how their UC Santa Cruz/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory team is using the Blue Waters Early Science System to study how carbon and oxygen burn to iron during the initial stages of thermonuclear runaway as a white dwarf goes supernova.
Making science and engineering history
Researchers achieved impressive results during a tantalizing test run of the Blue Waters sustained petascale supercomputer earlier this year. According to biophysicist Klaus Schulten, "We are sure Blue Waters will make science and engineering history."
4 applications sustain 1 PF on Blue Waters
Four large-scale science applications (VPIC, PPM, QMCPACK and SPECFEM3DGLOBE) have run above 1 PF/s of sustained performance, and the Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) run on Blue Waters is the largest WRF simulation ever documented