NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

INCITE Program to Allocate Major Department of Energy Office of Science Computing Resources to Key Scientific Projects

Proposals Now Being Accepted

July 31, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC — Proposals are now being accepted for a new Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science program to support innovative, large-scale computational science projects, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced today.

The program, entitled Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE), will award a total of 4.5 million supercomputer processor hours and 100 trillion bytes of data storage space at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The NERSC Center is the Office of Science's flagship facility for unclassified supercomputing.

The program seeks computationally intensive large-scale research projects, with no requirement of current Department of Energy sponsorship, that can make high-impact scientific advances through the use of a substantial allocation of computer time and data storage at the NERSC Center. The INCITE program specifically encourages proposals from universities and other research institutions. A small number of large awards is anticipated.

"The capabilities of terascale computing are transforming the conduct of science, bringing scientific simulation through computational modeling to parity with theory and experiment as a scientific tool," Energy Secretary Abraham said. "The INCITE initiative will make Lawrence Berkeley's NERSC facility available to all qualified researchers for grand challenge calculations — and in the process bring us closer to achieving the full potential of scientific simulation to solve outstanding scientific and industrial problems of major significance."

"The power of advanced scientific computation is just beginning to be realized, Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of DOE's Office of Science said. "For some promising research efforts, there simply have not been enough cycles or there wasn't an infrastructure which would allow large-scale simulations to truly develop and produce the kind of discoveries we hope to achieve."

Recognizing this, the Office of Science decided that 10 percent of NERSC's IBM supercomputer — now at 10 Teraflop/s, or 10 trillion operations per second — should be made available for grand challenge calculations.

"We are launching the INCITE initiative for two reasons," Dr. Orbach explained. "For one, it's the right thing to do: there are opportunities for major accomplishments in this field of science. In addition, there is also a 'sociology' that we need to develop. We need to learn how to function at those speeds, how to work together as teams, and how to handle and manipulate data."

"We will open NERSC's computational facilities to everyone," Dr. Orbach said. "Ten percent of NERSC's capability will be available to the entire world. Prospective users will not have to have a DOE contract, or grant, or connection. The applications will be peer reviewed, and will be judged solely on their scientific merit. It may be the case that teams rather than individuals will be involved. It even is possible that one research proposal will be so compelling that the entire 10 percent of NERSC will be allocated to that one research question."

"We need to get scientific teams — the people who are involved in algorithms, the computer scientists, and the mathematicians — together to make the most efficient use of these facilities," Dr. Orbach said. "That's what this opening up at NERSC is meant to do. We want to develop the community of researchers within the United States — and frankly around the world — that can take advantage of these machines and produce the results that will invigorate and revolutionize their fields of study."

Successful INCITE proposals will describe high-impact scientific research and will be peer reviewed both in the area of research and also for general scientific review comparing them with proposals in other disciplines. Applicants must also present evidence that they can effectively use a major fraction of the 6,656 processors of the IBM SP supercomputer at the NERSC Center, which is the most powerful computer for unclassified research in the United States. Applicant codes must be demonstrably ready to run in a massively parallel manner on that computer.

Proposals will be accepted only electronically until 5:00 pm PDT on Sunday, September 21, 2003. Awards are expected to be announced by October 31, and access to the NERSC facilities for the awardees will be established immediately following the announcement and remain in effect until October 1, 2004.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and ensures U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines. For more information about the Office of Science, go to

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, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, 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.