Sandia Researchers Receive 2 EO Lawrence Awards

July 14, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 14, 2022 — Sandia National Laboratories pulsed-power physicist Daniel Sinars and quantum information scientist Andrew Landahl have each received 2021 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Awards, the U.S. Department of Energy’s highest scientific mid-career honor.

Sinars won in the category “National Security and Nonproliferation;” Landahl in “Computer, Information and Knowledge Sciences.”

Daniel Sinars

Susan Seestrom, associate laboratories director for advanced science and technology at Sandia, said “E.O. Lawrence was a great innovator who invented the cyclotron, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1939. Two national labs today bear his name. That two Sandia researchers have been acknowledged with that award in one year shows the significance of the contributions that Dan and Andrew have made to the Department of Energy in connecting science to mission — the essence of innovation.”

The Lawrence Award, which has nine categories, honors mid-career U.S. scientists and engineers for their exceptional contributions and achievements in research and development supporting the broad missions of DOE and its programs.

Sinars, who went from proposing experiments on Sandia’s huge Z machine to directing the entire facility, was cited for his “pioneering development of seminal X-ray diagnostics and their innovative application to z-pinch implosions that transformed the experimental capabilities on the Z pulsed power facility and enabled novel, record-breaking platforms supporting our nation’s nuclear security.”

Z-pinch implosions use huge amounts of power harvested in nanoseconds to create conditions previously unachievable outside of nuclear weapon explosions. The work aids national security and basic science investigations.

Sinars said of his selection, “Ernest Lawrence was both an excellent scientist and a great laboratory leader and is often described as the father of ‘team science.’ I am inspired to continue striving toward the ideal that he represents. I’m also incredibly grateful to all the people who work in the pulsed power sciences center. We have an amazing national treasure in our unique facilities. I am constantly humbled by the effort that people put in every week to make it all work, in the expectation that what we are doing in our facilities matters. I have always viewed my primary job as making sure that it does matter and that the science we do each week serves the national interest.”

Andrew Landahl

Quantum information scientist Landahl was honored for his “groundbreaking contributions to quantum computing, including the invention of transformational quantum error correction protocols and decoding algorithms, for scientific leadership in the development of quantum computing technology and quantum programming languages and for professional service to the quantum information science community.”

While computers are fast, quantum computers take shortcuts. They zip through certain calculations along fragile paths that conventional computers can’t follow. Their ability to do so makes them one of the world’s most anticipated emerging technologies — and critical for national security — because they promise to revolutionize multiple fields, including cybersecurity, energy, defense, manufacturing, finance and pharmaceuticals.

Among the key challenges to their development is overcoming decoherence, which is the tendency for quantum computers to revert to conventional, digital logic when disturbed by outside influences.

Said Landahl, “I was thrilled and deeply honored to receive the award. I think it’s a statement not just about me, but about the growing role of the importance of quantum information science for the whole DOE complex. I think it’s an acknowledgement of how important it is even for the nation, and particularly, the leadership of that coming from Sandia, especially in the area of quantum computing.”

The career of Dan Sinars

Dan Sinars is the director of Sandia’s Pulsed Power Sciences Center, best known for conducting research on the world’s most powerful pulsed-power machine, the 26-milllion ampere “Z” facility. (A 120-watt household bulb uses one ampere.) The Z facility is used for a wide range of high energy-density sciences and the study of matter and radiation at pressures 1 million times or more greater than Earth’s atmosphere.

Under Sinars’ tenure, experiments on the 104-ft-diameter machine have enabled scientists to better understand the effects of aging on the U.S. nuclear stockpile, the effects of incoming radiation on stockpile and civilian electronics and other information needed to keep the stockpile safe, secure and viable without the environmental costs of continued physical testing.

In a second area of scientific effort, increasingly powerful fusion experiments on the big machine have literally blazed a trail closer to the still-to-be-reached goal of controlled high-yield nuclear fusion, with the promise of unlimited energy for all humanity.

Lastly, again on Sinars’ watch, the machine’s huge pressures have been used to study basic science relevant to our universe, such as determining the presence of diamonds (known to be formed by carbon under high stress) on the surface of giant planets in our solar system, the behavior of black holes, alternate theories of the birth of earth’s moon, the death of suns and the amount of water in the galaxy.

While some of this work existed before Sinars’ tenure, much has improved through his leadership and pioneering development of diagnostic techniques and experimental platforms.

He made a dramatic entrance to Sandia when, almost 20 years ago as a relatively new hire, he proposed and then implemented a path that used special crystals to help image what was happening in the maelstrom of energies present in Z’s target area as the large machine fired. While not “new age” crystals with life-altering properties, the crystals successfully blocked almost all the radiation frequencies that had previously blinded recording devices. The remaining few frequencies could be calibrated to create high-­resolution images. Within a year, he had successfully collected his first radiograph of the early stage of an imploding wire array on Z — the signature experiment of that era. Over the next several years, Dan made several significant improvements to this diagnostic system. Enabling a wide range of science experiments, variations on the crystals remain the primary radiography diagnostic technique used today on Z, and it has been adopted at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This diagnostic was recognized as a major advance in the field.

Other advances overseen by Sinars included the implementation of several new fusion science platforms on Z. Some of these concepts for the first time combined large lasers and pulsed power in new ways to make laboratory fusion easier to achieve.

“In short,” he said, “I developed and used a wide range of novel X-ray imaging and spectroscopy diagnostics to quantitatively study z-pinch implosions, paving the way for Z to become a hotbed of science as others built upon and greatly improved my initial work.”

The work of Andrew Landahl

Since joining Sandia in 2009, Landahl has helped spark the growth of the Labs’ investment in quantum information science, which has led to the construction of multiple quantum computers, sensors and transceivers. As a result of Landahl’s efforts, Sandia has forged a status as one of the top research institutions in the country for studying, constructing, testing and finding uses for quantum devices.

A distinguished scientist in Sandia’s quantum computer science department and a research professor in the University of New Mexico’s department of physics and astronomy, Landahl co-invented an efficient decoding protocol for quantum error correcting codes that can combat decoherence. This protocol and these codes are the basis of multi-billion-dollar investments in the quantum computer industry. He is a recognizable figure on Capitol Hill, where he has briefed many congressional committees and individuals. His award is the first ever given in the field of quantum information science.

“The biggest surprise of quantum information science is that the laws of information are not what you think they are,” Landahl said. “And given how important information is in our society, that transforms the way we think about everything, from sensing to communication to computation.

“The fact that we can do things that would seem impossible with information by exploiting information at the quantum mechanical level makes problems that were once thought to be completely intractable simple, and we’re still working out all the things you can potentially do with a quantum computer.”

He and his Sandia colleagues continue to study ways to find and correct errors in quantum computers without disturbing their delicate balance.

“We have to ask the right questions. You have to have the right kind of test,” Landahl said.

But Sandia’s work in quantum information science goes well beyond correcting errors. In 2011, Landahl led a landmark, $18 million project around building quantum computers, called AQUARIUS (for Adiabatic Quantum Architectures in Ultracold Systems). Both computers operated at less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. In addition to reaching its goals, the Sandia team invented new technologies in the process that allow engineers to build devices with atomic precision, which could have far-reaching impact across the semiconductor industry.

Landahl currently leads the software team for Sandia’s Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed, or QSCOUT, which received a 2021 R&D 100 award for providing free testbed access to researchers around the world to study and test new quantum information technologies.

“Its purpose isn’t to be the most powerful quantum computer in the world, but maybe the most flexible,” Landahl said.

Landahl said there’s no way of knowing what the exact payoff of all this research will be in the future, but the possibilities are wide open.

“Quantum mechanics has been around for a long time, like 100 years,” Landahl said. “So, what does quantum information bring to it? It brings a new way of thinking, and that way of thinking, I think, pervades my life. And that way of thinking is to say, ‘Let’s not try to ponder what quantum mechanics is and what it means. Let’s try to understand what it is by what it does — by what you can do with it.’”

Lawrence Award recipients are expected to receive a medal and an honorarium at a hybrid ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, 2022.

The most recent prior Sandia recipient of the Lawrence Award is mathematician Pavel Bochev, who received the honor in 2014, and before him, Sandia fellow Jeff Brinker, who received it in 2002. (The Award was not given out in 2017-2020.)

Of note: Landahl and Sinars were not Sandia’s only connections to this year’s Lawrence Awards. A third honoree — Professor Rachel Segalman at the University of California at Santa Barbara — winner in the category “Condensed Matter and Materials Science” was a high school and college research intern from 1992 to 1997 at Sandia’s Advanced Materials Lab.

About Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.


Source: Sandia National Laboratories

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Video: Sneak Preview of the AI Hardware Summit

August 19, 2022

Next month the AI Hardware Summit returns to the Bay Area, bringing AI technologists and end users together to share ideas and get up to speed on all the latest AI hardware developments. The event – which takes place September 13-15, 2022, at the Santa Clara Marriott, Calif. – will be co-located with the Edge AI Summit. Both events are organized by... Read more…

Oklahoma State University to Build New Supercomputer

August 18, 2022

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Oklahoma State University (OSU) will be building a new supercomputer. The as-yet unnamed system will succeed OSU’s existing system, which is simply named “Pete.” “This is a big moment for OSU and the High Performance Computing Center (HPCC),” said Pratul Agarwal, assistant vice president of research cyberinfrastructure and... Read more…

DOE and ORNL Dedicate Frontier Supercomputer

August 17, 2022

“It is my privilege to welcome you to the dedication of Frontier, the supercomputer that broke the exascale barrier.” That was the introduction by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, at a small, public event on August 17 to officially dedicate the supercomputer, which in May became the first system to achieve over 1.0 exaflops of 64-bit performance on the... Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

Inflation Reduction Act Signed Into Law, with Major Computing Implications

August 16, 2022

For the second time in as many weeks, President Biden has signed into law a major bill with significant implications for the computing sector. The Inflation Reduction Act – which is certainly the cornerstone of Biden’s first two years in office – allocates hundreds of billions of dollars toward energy security, climate change and healthcare. Among those hundreds of billions are hundreds of millions for scientific computing. At the signing ceremony... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1914742114

23andMe Innovates Drug and Therapeutic Discovery with HPC on AWS

23andMe Innovates Drug and Therapeutic Discovery with HPC on AWS

Genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe provides direct-to-customer genetic testing, giving customers valuable insights into their genetics. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1689646429

Gain a Competitive Edge using Cloud-Based, GPU-Accelerated AI KYC Recommender Systems

Financial services organizations face increased competition for customers from technologies such as FinTechs, mobile banking applications, and online payment systems. To meet this challenge, it is important for organizations to have a deep understanding of their customers. Read more…

Glimpse into ORNL Quantum Science Center Efforts to Find the Elusive Majorana and Much More

August 16, 2022

The Quantum Science Center (QSC), headquartered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of five such centers created by the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018 and run by the Department of Energy. They all have distinct and overlapping goals. That’s sort of the point, to bring both focus and cooperation, and a heavy dose of industry participation to advance quantum information sciences... Read more…

DOE and ORNL Dedicate Frontier Supercomputer

August 17, 2022

“It is my privilege to welcome you to the dedication of Frontier, the supercomputer that broke the exascale barrier.” That was the introduction by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, at a small, public event on August 17 to officially dedicate the supercomputer, which in May became the first system to achieve over 1.0 exaflops of 64-bit performance on the... Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

Inflation Reduction Act Signed Into Law, with Major Computing Implications

August 16, 2022

For the second time in as many weeks, President Biden has signed into law a major bill with significant implications for the computing sector. The Inflation Reduction Act – which is certainly the cornerstone of Biden’s first two years in office – allocates hundreds of billions of dollars toward energy security, climate change and healthcare. Among those hundreds of billions are hundreds of millions for scientific computing. At the signing ceremony... Read more…

Glimpse into ORNL Quantum Science Center Efforts to Find the Elusive Majorana and Much More

August 16, 2022

The Quantum Science Center (QSC), headquartered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of five such centers created by the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018 and run by the Department of Energy. They all have distinct and overlapping goals. That’s sort of the point, to bring both focus and cooperation, and a heavy dose of industry participation to advance quantum information sciences... Read more…

Australian Government Unveils New Defense, Weather Supercomputers

August 15, 2022

The Australian government has been busy on the supercomputing front. In just the last two weeks, the Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have both revealed major supercomputing updates. The Department of Defence, for its part, unveiled a new supercomputer: Taingiwilta, named after the word for “powerful” in the language of the... Read more…

HPCwire Quantum Survey: First Up – IBM and Zapata – on Algorithms, Error Mitigation, More

August 15, 2022

Quantum computing technology advances so quickly that it is hard to stay current. HPCwire recently asked a handful of senior researchers and executives for their thoughts on nearer-term progress and challenges. We’ll present their responses as they trickle in through the late summer and fall. (These execs take vacations too!) This also allows us to present the respondent’s... Read more…

SC22 Unveils ACM Gordon Bell Prize Finalists

August 12, 2022

Courtesy of the schedule for the SC22 conference, we now have our first glimpse at the finalists for this year’s coveted Gordon Bell Prize. The Gordon Bell Pr Read more…

Q&A with ORNL’s Bronson Messer, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2022

August 12, 2022

HPCwire presents our interview with Bronson Messer, distinguished scientist and director of Science at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), ORNL, and an HPCwire 2022 Person to Watch. Messer recaps ORNL's journey to exascale and sheds light on how all the pieces line up to support the all-important science. Also covered are the role... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1919750255

Intel Says UCIe to Outpace PCIe in Speed Race

May 11, 2022

Intel has shared more details on a new interconnect that is the foundation of the company’s long-term plan for x86, Arm and RISC-V architectures to co-exist in a single chip package. The semiconductor company is taking a modular approach to chip design with the option for customers to cram computing blocks such as CPUs, GPUs and AI accelerators inside a single chip package. Read more…

The Final Frontier: US Has Its First Exascale Supercomputer

May 30, 2022

In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to procure a trio of exascale supercomputers at a total cost of up to $1.8 billion dollars. Over the ensuing four years, many announcements were made, many deadlines were missed, and a pandemic threw the world into disarray. Now, at long last, HPE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced that the first of those... Read more…

US Senate Passes CHIPS Act Temperature Check, but Challenges Linger

July 19, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a major hurdle that will open up close to $52 billion in grants for the semiconductor industry to boost manufacturing, supply chain and research and development. U.S. senators voted 64-34 in favor of advancing the CHIPS Act, which sets the stage for the final consideration... Read more…

Top500: Exascale Is Officially Here with Debut of Frontier

May 30, 2022

The 59th installment of the Top500 list, issued today from ISC 2022 in Hamburg, Germany, officially marks a new era in supercomputing with the debut of the first-ever exascale system on the list. Frontier, deployed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieved 1.102 exaflops in its fastest High Performance Linpack run, which was completed... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Exclusive Inside Look at First US Exascale Supercomputer

July 1, 2022

HPCwire takes you inside the Frontier datacenter at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for an interview with Frontier Project Direc Read more…

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

PsiQuantum’s Path to 1 Million Qubits

April 21, 2022

PsiQuantum, founded in 2016 by four researchers with roots at Bristol University, Stanford University, and York University, is one of a few quantum computing startups that’s kept a moderately low PR profile. (That’s if you disregard the roughly $700 million in funding it has attracted.) The main reason is PsiQuantum has eschewed the clamorous public chase for... Read more…

Intel Reiterates Plans to Merge CPU, GPU High-performance Chip Roadmaps

May 31, 2022

Intel reiterated it is well on its way to merging its roadmap of high-performance CPUs and GPUs as it shifts over to newer manufacturing processes and packaging technologies in the coming years. The company is merging the CPU and GPU lineups into a chip (codenamed Falcon Shores) which Intel has dubbed an XPU. Falcon Shores... Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

India Launches Petascale ‘PARAM Ganga’ Supercomputer

March 8, 2022

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Indian government promised that it had five HPC systems in the final stages of installation and would launch nine new supercomputers this year. Now, it appears to be making good on that promise: the country’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has announced the deployment of “PARAM Ganga” petascale supercomputer at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)... Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

Exascale Watch: Aurora Installation Underway, Now Open for Reservations

May 10, 2022

Installation has begun on the Aurora supercomputer, Rick Stevens (associate director of Argonne National Laboratory) revealed today during the Intel Vision event keynote taking place in Dallas, Texas, and online. Joining Intel exec Raja Koduri on stage, Stevens confirmed that the Aurora build is underway – a major development for a system that is projected to deliver more... Read more…

AMD Lines Up Alternate Chips as It Eyes a ‘Post-exaflops’ Future

June 10, 2022

Close to a decade ago, AMD was in turmoil. The company was playing second fiddle to Intel in PCs and datacenters, and its road to profitability hinged mostly on Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire