New DOE program funds $20 million for multiscale mathematics research


WASHINGTON, DC Under a new program funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, researchers will use mathematics to help solve problems such as the production of clean energy, pollution cleanup, manufacturing ever smaller computer chips, and making new "nanomaterials." Thirteen major research awards totaling $20 million will go to 17 universities and eight DOE national laboratories.

The research is funded under the Office of Science's "Multiscale Mathematics" program. This program addresses those science problems that span many time scales -- from femtoseconds to years -- and many length scales -- from the atomic level to the macroscopic. The problems cannot be easily broken down into simpler problems for solution using traditional mathematical techniques.

"Computer simulations on even the most powerful present-day computers cannot handle these scientific problems, so new mathematics is needed," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the Office of Science. "This research has very practical applications and will help to solve some of our most complex energy and environmental problems."

The program will fund more than 100 researchers. The awards range from individual research grants to multi-institution collaborations. The universities and DOE laboratories receiving awards (and their three-year total funding) are:


  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore ($1,155,274)
  • University of California, Los Angeles ($630,901)
  • University of California, San Diego ($797,032)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara ($386,688)
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins ($213,833)
  • University of Delaware, Newark ($1,120,747)
  • Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton ($284,003)
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee ($380,215)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta ($552,108)
  • Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne ($1,013,862)
  • Ames Laboratory, Ames ($330,000)
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis ($922,088)
New Jersey
  • Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton ($1,576,900)
New Mexico
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos (two awards -- $825,132 and $494,713)
  • Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque (two awards -- $1,210,513 and $825,000)
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque ($375,000)
New York
  • Columbia University, New York City ($122,869)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy ($450,000)
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis ($647,329)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge ($1,260,000)
  • University of Texas at Austin ($1,162,242)
  • George Mason University, Fairfax ($297,833)
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland (two awards -- $1,621,401 and $600,121)
  • Washington State University, Pullman ($1,000,093)
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison ($351,345)

The multiscale mathematics program seeks to help break through the current barriers in understanding complex physical processes that occur on a wide range of interacting length and time scales. The current state-of-the-art in the theory and modeling of complex physical systems generally requires that the physical phenomena being modeled either occur at a single scale, or widely separated scales with little or no interaction. Complex physical systems frequently involve interactions among many phenomena at many different scales. Increases in computational power over the last decade have enabled scientists to begin creating sophisticated models with fewer simplifying assumptions. For these new models to succeed, researchers will need a deeper understanding of the mathematics of phenomena at multiple scales and how they interact.

The researchers will develop and apply new multiscale mathematics algorithms and analysis to support the Office of Science's research missions. The research will support the development of new simulations that are crucial to improved understanding of problems such as fuel cell design, accelerator design and optimization, combustion processes including clean and efficient engine design, fusion reactor design and optimization and design of materials atom-by-atom.

The researchers will also develop and share publicly programs to educate computational scientists in the use of multiscale mathematics as a tool for computational research and discovery.

A list of the projects, the collaborating institutions and principal investigators is available at

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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