How did we evolve? Can we build more energy efficient networks? How do we learn to read?  These are just a few of the very complex questions Stanford University is trying to shed light on using high performance computing.  Recently the university opened the Stanford Research Computing Center (SRCC) located at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to help researchers find the answers to these and many more interesting questions.

So what are Stanford's esteemed researchers discovering? Let's take a look at just some of the questions they are investigating using sophisticated algorithms and supercomputing .

Can We Predict if Climate Solutions Work?

Earth scientists are second only to the defense industry in employing supercomputing in their research. Their computing needs can even influence the designs of next-generation hardware.  

Well, one scientist is using supercomputers to study the various interactions between CO2  gas that's injected into the ground and the complex rock-fluid system in the subsurface.  That requires some hefty computing. For example, tens of millions of equations being solved simultaneously are necessary to model how a CO2 plume migrates, settles within the subsurface, and whether it might escape to impact the air quality of some distant city.

How Can Your Personal Molecular Portrait be Used in Medicine?

DNA certainly determines much about the person you are. But adding the impact of viruses and bacteria as well as the chemicals our immune system produces to fight off illness provides a much more complete picture of our physical state at any given point, and offers a lot of genetic information.

Using this more complete genetic picture can potentially lead to myriad medical predictions, creating  even greater demand for computing.  One Stanford professor pioneering the science has already generated a half a petabyte of his own data! Along the way he even discovered he was becoming diabetic, well before a medical exam would have uncovered the condition.

How Did The Universe Form?

Researchers in astrophysics rely on high performance computing to provide rapid turnaround, helping them develop and validate smarter algorithms. That's important when trying to determine what happened during the billions of years after the Big Bang to form the night sky we see today.

HPC is helping one Stanford scientist use the laws of physics to shed light on the mystery.  His calculations must consider the laws of chemistry, atomic physics, gravity, how atoms and molecules radiate, gas and fluid dynamics and interactions, and many other variables.  In addition, each of these processes must be simulated out over hundreds of millions, and eventually billions, of years!

 You can read much more about the exciting research being conducted at the SRCC, as well as learn about the Center's energy efficiency here.