Argonne National Laboratory

New Theory and Computing Sciences Building to be Constructed at Argonne National Laboratory

December 4, 2007

ARGONNE, Ill. (Dec. 4, 2007) – The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory announced today that a new Theory and Computing Sciences Building will be constructed at the laboratory, solidifying the fastest growing research program in its history.

"From its very beginning, computing has been an aid to the advancement of science; however, somewhere along the line there was a sea change," said Michael Turner, Argonne's chief scientist. "Computing is no longer just an aid, it is essential to almost every aspect of science and engineering across all disciplines. By focusing on the most challenging problems, this facility will enable breakthroughs across the broad frontier of science and engineering, benefiting both science and society. While we can imagine some of the breakthroughs that will come early on, we can only dream about those that will come over the long lifetime of this facility."

Located on the boundary of Argonne's secure perimeter, the approximately 200,000-square-foot facility will be home to more than 600 laboratory employees and will house research groups using one of the fastest computers—the IBM Blue Gene/P—to answer huge scientific questions.

"The research enabled by the TCS building will touch many areas of science and society—from research in astrophysics and nuclear reactor design to searching for cures for Parkinson's disease and better drugs to fight antibiotic staph resistant infections such as MRSA to long term climate and ecosystem simulations and to a better understanding of the global carbon cycle which underpins global climate," said Rick Stevens, Argonne's associate lab director for computing and life sciences. "Through this new facility and through key partnerships, such as the Computation Institute, a joint endeavor with the University of Chicago, we will make headway in advancing computer science and the important application fields of today, and of the future."

Additionally, the facility will include an 18,000-square-foot centralized library, computational research labs and a conference center.

The Illinois Finance Authority has issued economic development bonds that will provide financing for the project to a Delaware Statutory Trust, as part of a unique public-private financing and leasing agreement. By allowing private sector market forces to bear strongly in this process, this new facility should save the government more than $10 million in life-cycle costs.

Under the terms of the arrangement, thought to be the first of its kind, DOE will lease the land to the trust. The trust will hire a designer/builder.

"We have worked diligently with our colleagues in the Department of Energy to leverage the economics of this innovative model of federal, state and private sector cooperation to best serve DOE's scientific mission requirements," said Argonne Director Robert Rosner.

Argonne National Laboratory, a renowned R&D center, brings the world's brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.