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Thin, low Arctic clouds an important key to Greenland Ice Sheet melt

April 5, 2013 6:06 pm | News | Comments

According to a new study by scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), clouds over the central Greenland Ice Sheet last July were "just right" for driving surface temperatures there above the melting point. The 2012 melt illustrates the often-overlooked role that clouds play in climate change. Current models don’t do enough, says researchers, to account for their effects.

Team achieves petaflop-level earthquake simulations

April 3, 2013 9:29 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the University of California, San Diego, has developed a highly scalable computer code that promises to dramatically cut both research times and energy costs in simulating seismic hazards throughout California and elsewhere. The accelerated makes heavier use of graphic processing units (GPUs) than CPUs.

Blue Waters open for research

April 2, 2013 1:09 pm | News | Comments

One of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, was recently declared available for use at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Capable at peak performance of nearly 12 quadrillion floating point operations per second, Blue Waters has, more importantly, demonstrated sustained system performance of more than one petaflop on a range of commonly-used science and engineering applications.

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Models will enable safer deepwater oil production

April 1, 2013 11:08 am | News | Comments

Rice University researchers are developing a comprehensive model that will predict how brine, oil, and gas drawn from ultradeep wells react to everything encountered on the way up to the surface and to suggest strategies to maintain the flow.

New models predict drastically greener Arctic in coming decades

March 31, 2013 6:48 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from several universities, AT&T Labs, and the American Museum of Natural History have built new models that show a widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation. They say their findings predict a massive “greening” in the Arctic, as much as 50% in over the next few decades. This transition will help accelerate climate warming, they add.

Simulations uncover obstacle to harnessing laser-driven fusion

March 27, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

A once-promising approach for using next-generation, ultra-intense lasers to help deliver commercially viable fusion energy has been brought into serious question by new experimental results and first-of-a-kind simulations of laser-plasma interaction. So-called fast ignition, this process involves a long-discussed possibility of using a hollow cone to help focus laser energy on the pellet core to induce fusion. Unfortunately, these cones appear to fail in that mission.

Meeting the computing challenges of next-generation climate models

March 27, 2013 7:47 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently hosted an international workshop that brought together top climatologists, computer scientists, and engineers from Japan and the United States to exchange ideas for the next generation of climate models as well as the hyper-performance computing environments that will be needed to process the data from those models. It was the 15th in a series of such workshops that have been taking place around the world since 1999.

New model accurately predicts 3D sand flow

March 26, 2013 7:52 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a model of granular flow in three dimensions. The team found the model accurately predicts the results of granular flow experiments, including a flow configuration that has long puzzled scientists. The model may also be useful for improving the flow of drug powders, tablets, and capsules in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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Sequoia supercomputer sets simulation record

March 19, 2013 4:09 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have recently performed a record number of simulations using all 1,572,864 cores of Sequoia, the largest supercomputer in the world. The simulations are the largest particle-in-cell (PIC) code simulations by number of cores ever performed. PIC simulations are used extensively in plasma physics to model the motion of the charged particles

How proteins read meta DNA code

March 19, 2013 10:40 am | News | Comments

Three-quarters of the DNA in evolved organisms is wrapped around proteins, forming the basic unit of DNA packaging called nucleosomes, like a thread around a spool. The problem lies in understanding how DNA can then be read by such proteins. Nowphysicists have created a model showing how proteins move along DNA, in a paper just published in EPJ E

Drug-resistant MRSA bacteria here to stay

March 18, 2013 9:07 am | by Cather­ine Zan­donella, Office of the Dean for Research | News | Comments

The drug-resistant bac­te­ria known as MRSA, once con­fined to hos­pi­tals but now wide­spread in com­mu­ni­ties, will likely con­tinue to exist in both set­tings as sep­a­rate strains, accord­ing to a new study. Researchers at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity used math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els to explore what will hap­pen to com­mu­nity and hos­pi­tal MRSA strains, which dif­fer genet­i­cally.  

Study reveals how animal swarms respond to overcrowding

March 18, 2013 9:02 am | News | Comments

Swarming is the spontaneous organized motion of a large number of individuals. It is observed at all scales, from bacterial colonies to animal herds. Physicists in Ireland have uncovered new collective properties of swarm dynamics that could ultimately guide efforts to control swarms of animals, robots, or human crowds.

Plasmonics: Model makes light work of nanocircuits

March 13, 2013 5:36 pm | News | Comments

As computer manufacturers cram ever more processing power onto tiny chips, the connections between electronic components that measure just a few billionths of a meter across allow electrons to leak. One promising solution is to replace those electrons with photons of light. Researchers in Singapore have now developed a numerical model to simulate the performance of circuits that rely on light

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The science of clouds

March 13, 2013 1:14 pm | News | Comments

Clouds can both cool the planet, by acting as a shield against the sun, and warm the planet, by trapping heat. But why do clouds behave the way they do? And how will a warming planet affect the cloud cover? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist David Romps has made it his mission to answer these questions.

Mechdyne licenses CAVE2 from University of Illinois at Chicago

March 12, 2013 9:27 am | News | Comments

Mechdyne Corporation has recently announced that it has licensed the CAVE2 hybrid reality environment developed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at University of Illinois at Chicago. The licensing agreement was signed in January of 2013, and continues the strong working relationship that began in 1994 when Mechdyne licensed the EVL-designed original CAVE technology. 

Ground-level ozone falling faster than model predicted

March 11, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative. 

Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming

March 1, 2013 2:38 pm | News | Comments

A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder had been looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010. They now think the culprits are hiding in plain sight—dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60% from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning.

An atlas of the human heart is drawn using statistics

February 26, 2013 10:17 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Pompeu Fabra University (Spain) have created a high resolution atlas of the heart with 3D images taken from 138 people. The study demonstrates that an average image of an organ along with its variations can be obtained for the purposes of comparing individual cases and differentiating healthy forms from pathologies.

Supercomputers journey to limits of spacetime

February 21, 2013 1:19 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have used the 3D simulation capabilities of the supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to predict the formation of accretion disks and relativistic jets that warp and bend more than previously thought, shaped both by the extreme gravity of the black hole and by powerful magnetic forces generated by its spin. Their highly detailed models of the black hole environment contribute new knowledge to the field.

Chemistry trick kills climate controversy

February 12, 2013 7:48 am | News | Comments

Volcanoes are well known for cooling the climate. But just how much and when has been a bone of contention among historians, glaciologists, and archeologists. Now a team of atmosphere chemists, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Copenhagen, has come up with a way to say for sure which historic episodes of global cooling were caused by volcanic eruptions.

Maplesoft project for Toyota leverages symbolic computation

February 6, 2013 8:30 am | News | Comments

Maplesoft this week announced that its ongoing partnership with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. has been expanded to include the use of new symbolic computation methods in control systems engineering. The new research will allow developers to consider system nonlinearities, modeling inaccuracies, and parametric uncertainties in the design process, helping Toyota shorten development time while maintaining high quality results.

“Invisible” particles could enhance thermoelectric devices

February 6, 2013 8:15 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Thermoelectric efficiency has improved enough to enable limited commercial use, but lack of better materials has prevented widespread adoption. New development work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology could help reduce thermal conductivity while keeping electrical conductivity high. In addition to computer modeling, the researchers draw upon methods developed by optics researchers who have been attempting to create invisibility cloaks—ways of making objects invisible to certain radio waves or light waves using nanostructured materials that bend light.

New modeling approach transforms imaging technologies

February 5, 2013 12:09 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue University | News | Comments

Researchers are improving the performance of technologies ranging from medical computed tomography scanners to digital cameras using a system of models to extract specific information from huge collections of data and then reconstructing images like a jigsaw puzzle. The new approach is called model-based iterative reconstruction, or MBIR, and it is helping to greatly reduce the noise in data, providing great clarity at lower radiation intensities.

Scientists use Amazon Cloud to view molecular machinery in detail

February 1, 2013 1:24 pm | News | Comments

In a paper published this week’s Nature Methods, Salk Instititute researchers share a how-to secret for biologists: code for Amazon Cloud that significantly reduces the time necessary to process data-intensive microscopic images. The method promises to speed research into the underlying causes of disease by making single-molecule microscopy of practical use for more laboratories.

Winners of annual NSF visualization competition announced

February 1, 2013 12:03 pm | News | Comments

The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the journal Science, this week announced the 53 winners and honorable mentions of the International Science & Technology Visualization Challenge, a contest jointly sponsored by NSF and the joournal Science. The winning entries highlight the often stunning capabilities of computer-aided visualization techniques.

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