NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974


In December 2017, the Advisory Committee for DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) was asked to document some of the major impacts of ASCR and its predecessor organizations. This seemingly simple request kicked off a multi-year process of information gathering, distilling, curating, and refining. Input was provided by over 100 scientists.

ASCR’s prehistory can be traced back to John von Neumann’s advocacy for a mathematics and computing activity in the years following the Manhattan Project. Through many twists and turns, ASCR played a pivotal role in creating the entire discipline of computational science through investments in basic research, leadership-class facilities and computers, workforce development programs and much more.

This full history is described in the document [email protected]: Four Decades of Department of Energy Leadership in Advanced Scientific Computer Research. Although it is impossible to cover everything in a 100-page document, to our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive history ever written on the topic. We expect it to be useful to scientists, students, and historians of science.

A more expository introduction to this subject can be found in [email protected]: Highlights and Impacts of ASCR’s Programs. This is a less technical document with a series of short articles that convey many  highlights of ASCR’s activities. We expect this to be of interest to a broader, perhaps less technical audience.


A more terse description of key ASCR advances and capabilities can be found in [email protected]: Topical One Pagers. This is a collection of 11 one-page synopses of key ASCR impacts in a consistent and easy-to-digest format. We expect these materials to be useful to educate busy decision makers, or perhaps to whet the appetite for deeper dives into the other two documents.

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.