ASCR@40: Highlights and Impacts of ASCR’s Programs

TitleASCR@40: Highlights and Impacts of ASCR’s Programs
Publication TypeTech Report
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsHendrickson, B., P. Messina, B. Bland, J. Chen, P. Colella, E. Dart, J. Dongarra, T. Dunning, I. Foster, R. Gerber, R. Harken, W. Huntoon, B. Johnston, J. Sarrao, and J. Vetter
Date Published2020-06
InstitutionUS Department of Energy’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research

The Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) sits within the Office of Science in the Department of Energy (DOE). Per their web pages, “the mission of the ASCR program is to discover, develop, and deploy computational and networking capabilities to analyze, model, simulate, and predict complex phenomena important to the DOE.” This succinct statement encompasses a wide range of responsibilities for computing and networking facilities; for procuring, deploying, and operating high performance computing, networking, and storage resources; for basic research in mathematics and computer science; for developing and sustaining a large body of software; and for partnering with organizations across the Office of Science and beyond. While its mission statement may seem very contemporary, the roots of ASCR are quite deep—long predating the creation of DOE. Applied mathematics and advanced computing were both elements of the Theoretical Division of the Manhattan Project. In the early 1950s, the Manhattan Project scientist and mathematician John von Neumann, then a commissioner for the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), advocated for the creation of a Mathematics program to support the continued development and applications of digital computing. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) scientist John Pasta created such a program to fund researchers at universities and AEC laboratories. Under several organizational name changes, this program has persisted ever since, and would eventually grow to become ASCR.

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