DOE launches Institute for Computing in Science at Argonne

July 12, 2010

Advanced computing is one of the single greatest assets available to the scientific community in its quest to advance fundamental science and engineering problems. But how do we best incorporate the unique advantages afforded by computing into a research pipeline?

The Institute for Computing in Science (ICiS) was recently launched at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to address this challenge. A major goal of the DOE-funded initiative is to get key members of the scientific community to start thinking about the development and integration of new computational methods within their discipline. Under the leadership of Rick Stevens, Argonne’s Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences, ICiS will enable the science community to come together to form interdisciplinary teams in a visitor-oriented institute structure to address the most challenging problems.

“Many areas of science are at a critical juncture, and struggling to cope with the advances in complexity and the limits of traditional theoretical and experimental approaches,” said Stevens. “We believe that scientific progress in any field must build on the tools and insights of the whole of science, mathematics, and computing. And it is in this spirit that we include in computational science any scientific task that may be advanced by computing.”

ICiS topics are aimed at defining the community’s computational needs as well as enabling scientists and engineers to use computing platforms effectively—from algorithm and tool development to programming models, libraries, and abstractions. Institute programs may range from two weeks to several months. ICiS will launch its 2010 summer program on July 17 with a series of one-week workshops. Regular program sessions will convene in Argonne’s new Theory and Computing Sciences Building, a world-class research center that supports large-scale computation and a venue conducive to interdisciplinary meetings.