Lanl Scientist


Unraveling the Mysteries of Plasma

Plasma makes up 99 percent of the matter in the visible universe. Dense plasma is the stuff of stars, with tenuous plasma filling the space between stars.

Plasma is created by ionizing gas atoms—usually by heating them—to form a hot mix of positively charged atomic nuclei (ions) and negatively charged electrons. On Earth, plasmas can be seen in lightning and auroras, but for the most part are not found because temperatures are relatively cool.

Common applications for plasma include neon signs and fluorescent tubes. However, artificial plasmas, those that exist only briefly during experiments, hold the key to harnessing fusion energy or in exploiting the properties of ultra-intense lasers.

To better understand the nature and behavior of plasmas, Los Alamos scientists developed VPIC (vector particle-in-cell), a computer code that simulates plasma behavior more efficiently than any other code. VPIC simulations enable researchers to study plasmas in ways that exceed conventional theory- and experiment-driven approaches. More about this project

manuel vigil

Manuel Vigil

Manuel Vigil uses his training as a certified program manager and as a computer scientist to bring ever-faster and more innovative supercomputers to Laboratory researchers,  The assignment is a big one, requiring knowledge of advances in high-performance computing, project management, budgeting, and supercomputer acquisition. Manuel leads  this complex process that includes design, acquisition, deployment, and integration of these large computers, with the support of multi-organizational and multi-site teams of experts.

Manuel has a computer science degree from New Mexico Highlands University, as well as a graduate degree in computer science from UNM. He has been a group leader in the High Performance Computing Division and a project director.

STEMarts Wiki

What is a supercomputer? "Supercomputers are used for calculation-intensive tasks such as quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling"Wikipedia. Why are they important? Did you know they are what make possible your Google search and your social networking on Facebook? They're also used to create those mind-bending special effects in your favorite big-budget movies. Working quietly behind the scenes, they have  become part of our everyday lives.

Millennium challenge #14 asks the question, How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition? "Over 2 billion internet users, 5 billion mobile phones, and uncountable billions of hardware devices are intercommunicating in a vast real-time multinetwork, supporting every facet of human activity." MP.  What will this picture look like in 70 years? Can you imagine what the next-generation super computer look like?  Explore the links in this wiki to learn about supercomputers, what they can do, and what they may become. Read why Peter Kogge believes that the supercomputers of the future will require engineers to rethink entirely how they construct these number crunchers. This is an exciting field that needs your creative mind to imagine solutions for the future. If you found anything interesting on your own, please consider sharing it in this open forum.

Remembe, the wiki-resource is an open forum sharing links and ideas that others have found – always check your sources and give credit where credit is due.  The open source movement generously shares its knowledge and relies on users' and sharers' feedback – so if there’s something that is really good  or that doesn’t work, let others know.  If you find something that you want to share with your friends or the world, enter the title in the search bar and it will ask if you want to add a new page. Select and enter a short description with a link to the page you want to share. Don't forget to add keywords to help people find it through the Tag Cloud. Thanks!


Featured Article: 9 Super cool uses for Supercomputer

Supercomputers are the bodybuilders of the computer world. They boast tens of thousands of times the computing power of a desktop and cost tens of millions of dollars. They fill enormous rooms, which are chilled to prevent their thousands of microprocessor cores from overheating. And they perform trillions, or even thousands of trillions, of calculations per second.

All of that power means supercomputers are perfect for tackling big scientific problems, from uncovering the origins of the universe to delving into the patterns of protein folding that make life possible. Here are some of the most intriguing questions being tackled by supercomputers today.


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