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  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on February 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL-Brookhaven National Lab, , IBM Q,   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Quantum Information Science Effort Expands at Brookhaven Lab” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    February 19, 2019
    Ariana Tantillo

    The Computational Science Initiative is building its staff, capabilities, and programs in this emerging research area expected to revolutionize science and other fields.

    Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative recently formed a new Quantum Computing Group as one of the many ways it’s expanding its efforts in quantum information science. The group members are (left to right) Meifeng Lin, Dimitrios Katramatos, Eden Figueroa, Michael McGuigan, Yao-Lung (Leo) Fang, and Layla Hormozi. Lin and Hormozi are co-leading the group.

    An emerging and exciting research field known as quantum information science (QIS) is ramping up in the Computational Science Initiative (CSI) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    “Because of our extraordinary data management, analysis, and distribution requirements at Brookhaven Lab, we are always on the look out for new computational technologies that will enable us to continue to provide leading services,” said CSI Director Kerstin Kleese van Dam. “Quantum computing and networking are among these promising technologies, and we want to make sure we are at the forefront of this exciting new research and development.”

    From classical to quantum computing

    The computers we use today store and process information in the form of binary digits (bits) that encode a value of zero or one. The values represent two different states, such as off or on, true or false, and yes or no.

    A schematic illustrating the difference between a bit (left) and qubit (right). A bit can be at either of the two poles of the imaginary sphere, while a qubit can be at any point within the volume of the sphere. Credit: IBM.

    By contrast, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that can exist as a zero and one at the same time. This newer form of computing takes advantage of the strange way that matter behaves at atomic and subatomic scales. In this quantum world, atoms and subatomic particles appear to exist in multiple states or places at the same time (quantum superposition) and can correlate their behavior across large distances (quantum entanglement). Because of these quantum mechanical phenomena, quantum computers can store much more information, perform calculations significantly faster, and use less energy than classical computers.

    A quantum community

    At Brookhaven Lab, CSI staff are evaluating and designing QIS systems and developing the system-level support and algorithms needed to fully exploit the new QIS architectures.

    “CSI has access to several online test systems, including the IBM Q quantum computer, and is actively using these systems for its research,” said Kleese van Dam.

    Launched in 2016, IBM Q is a cloud platform that provides companies, universities, and research labs around the world with the ability to perform quantum computations online without having direct access to a quantum computer. Credit: IBM.

    In addition, CSI has been building relationships with leading experts in the field from various institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton University, Harvard University, Tufts University, Stony Brook University, and the University of Toronto. Several of these experts now have joint appointments with Brookhaven, including MIT mechanical engineering and physics professor Seth Lloyd and Tufts associate physics professor Peter Love.

    In house, CSI is building its QIS expertise through educating existing staff, hiring new personnel, and hosting students, such as those participating in DOE’s Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. CSI researchers and external QIS experts are currently carrying out several joint QIS projects.

    Quantum solutions

    CSI computational scientists Shinjae Yoo and Layla Hormozi—who is co-leading CSI’s new Quantum Computing Group with computational scientist Meifeng Lin—and collaborators from Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Stony Brook are evaluating existing QIS architectures for state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. In particular, they are identifying issues related to the programmability and performance of algorithms operating on QIS systems. Currently, the team is investigating strategies to overcome slow data loading speeds and to effectively encode data.

    A video describing why we need quantum computers and how the Q quantum computer works. Credit: IBM.

    “Input/output and error correction are serious challenges to using upcoming quantum computers,” said Yoo. “We are looking into how machine learning can help such challenges and how we can improve quantum machine learning algorithms.”

    Another team—including CSI computational scientist Michael McGuigan and collaborators from Boston University, Microsoft, MIT, Michigan State, Syracuse University, University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of Iowa (lead)—is developing the building blocks of quantum computing to solve basic questions in high-energy physics (HEP) and the early universe. In particular, the team is studying ways to efficiently map quantum field theories of the strong interactions—mathematical frameworks that describe the interactions between subatomic particles—to quantum computing hardware.

    Proposed structure of the oxygen-evolving, or water-splitting, center of Photosystem II, a protein complex that executes the initial photosynthesis reaction. The center contains a cluster of manganese (Mn) ions, a calcium (Ca) ion, oxygen (O) atoms, and coordinating amino acids.

    Through a separate collaboration, Brookhaven Lab and Harvard University are developing quantum-based models of biomimetic photosynthesis. Chemical processes that replicate and optimize photosynthesis—the process by which plants convert solar energy into chemical energy—could be used to produce clean and sustainable fuels and other chemicals.

    “The natural protein co-factors that catalyze photosynthetic reactions involve multiple transition-metal atoms that exhibit strongly correlated electron behavior,” said CSI application architect and team member Hubertus van Dam. “An accurate description of this correlated behavior requires far more terms from different electron distributions than can ever be calculated on a conventional computer. Quantum computers enable the use of quantum matter to simulate the quantum behavior of these electrons much more efficiently.”

    CSI has also created the Northeast Quantum Systems Center (NEQsys), a partnership between Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Raytheon, Stony Brook, University of Toronto, Tufts, and Yale. By leveraging the wealth of quantum expertise at leading universities and in industry, this collaboration seeks to impact a broad range of areas—for example, theoretical and experimental materials science and condensed matter physics, devices and system software, and algorithms and computational applications.

    “This cross-cutting research effort will impact the entire quantum ecosystem,” explained Kleese van Dam. “CSI is providing knowledge integration across the hardware and software stack to impact work being conducted across the institutions.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus



    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector


    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on January 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), BNL-Brookhaven National Lab, Brookhaven STAR collaboration, , , ,   

    From Lehigh University: “Big Bang Query” 

    From Lehigh University

    Mapping how a mysterious liquid became all matter

    The leading theory about how the universe began is the Big Bang, which says that 14 billion years ago the universe existed as a singularity, a one-dimensional point, with a vast array of fundamental particles contained within it. Extremely high heat and energy caused it to inflate and then expand into the cosmos as we know it?and, the expansion continues to this day.

    The initial result of the Big Bang was an intensely hot and energetic liquid that existed for mere microseconds that was around 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 billion Celsius). This liquid contained nothing less than the building blocks of all matter. As the universe cooled, the particles decayed or combined giving rise to…well, everything.

    Quark-gluon plasma (QGP) is the name for this mysterious substance so called because it was made up of quarks — the fundamental particles — and gluons, which physicist Rosi J. Reed describes as “what quarks use to talk to each other.”

    Quark gluon plasma. Duke University

    Scientists like Reed, an assistant professor in Lehigh University’s Department of Physics whose research includes experimental high-energy physics, cannot go back in time to study how the Universe began. So they re-create the circumstances, by colliding heavy ions, such as Gold, at nearly the speed of light, generating an environment that is 100,000 times hotter than the interior of the sun. The collision mimics how quark-gluon plasma became matter after the Big Bang, but in reverse: the heat melts the ions’ protons and neutrons, releasing the quarks and gluons hidden inside them.

    There are currently only two operational accelerators in the world capable of colliding heavy ions — and only one in the U.S.: Brookhaven National Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). It is about a three-hour drive from Lehigh, in Long Island, New York.

    BNL RHIC Campus


    Reed is part of the STAR Collaboration , an international group of scientists and engineers running experiments on the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR). The STAR detector is massive and is actually made up of many detectors. It is as large as a house and weighs 1,200 tons. STAR’s specialty is tracking the thousands of particles produced by each ion collision at RHIC in search of the signatures of quark-gluon plasma.

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    “When running experiments there are two ‘knobs’ we can change: the species — such as gold on gold or proton on proton — and the collision energy,” says Reed. “We can accelerate the ions differently to achieve different energy-to-mass ratio.”

    Using the various STAR detectors, the team collides ions at different collision energies. The goal is to map quark-gluon plasma’s phase diagram, or the different points of transition as the material changes under varying pressure and temperature conditions. Mapping quark-gluon plasma’s phase diagram is also mapping the nuclear strong force, otherwise known as Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), which is the force that holds positively charged protons together.

    “There are a bunch of protons and neutrons in the center of an ion,” explains Reed. “These are positively charged and should repel, but there’s a ‘strong force’ that keeps them together? strong enough to overcome their tendency to come apart.”

    Understanding quark-gluon plasma’s phase diagram, and the location and existence of the phase transition between the plasma and normal matter is of fundamental importance, says Reed.

    “It’s a unique opportunity to learn how one of the four fundamental forces of nature operates at temperature and energy densities similar to those that existed only microseconds after the Big Bang,” says Reed.

    Upgrading the RHIC detectors to better map the “strong force”

    The STAR team uses a Beam Energy Scan (BES) to do the phase transition mapping. During the first part of the project, known as BES-I, the team collected observable evidence with “intriguing results.” Reed presented these results at the 5th Joint Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics and the Physical Society of Japan in Hawaii in October 2018 in a talk titled: “Testing the quark-gluon plasma limits with energy and species scans at RHIC.”

    However, limited statistics, acceptance, and poor event plane resolution did not allow firm conclusions for a discovery. The second phase of the project, known as BES-II, is going forward and includes an improvement that Reed is working on with STAR team members: an upgrade of the Event Plan Detector. Collaborators include scientists at Brookhaven as well as at Ohio State University.

    The STAR team plans to continue to run experiments and collect data in 2019 and 2020, using the new Event Plan Detector. According to Reed, the new detector is designed to precisely locate where the collision happens and will help characterize the collision, specifically how “head on” it is.

    “It will also help improve the measurement capabilities of all the other detectors,” says Reed.

    The STAR collaboration expects to run their next experiments at RHIC in March 2019.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Lehigh University is an American private research university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was established in 1865 by businessman Asa Packer. Its undergraduate programs have been coeducational since the 1971–72 academic year. As of 2014, the university had 4,904 undergraduate students and 2,165 graduate students. Lehigh is considered one of the twenty-four Hidden Ivies in the Northeastern United States.

    Lehigh has four colleges: the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, and the College of Education. The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest, which roughly consists of 40% of the university’s students.The university offers a variety of degrees, including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Engineering, Master of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy.

    Lehigh has produced Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Fellows, members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences, and National Medal of Science winners.

  • richardmitnick 11:51 am on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL-Brookhaven National Lab, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, SciComp Skills-Building Internship Program, The ability to program computers is crucial to almost all modern scientific experiments, Undergraduate research has been formally encouraged by NSF since 1953, Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    September 6, 2018
    Ariana Tantillo

    No image credits

    Twenty science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates funded by the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program came to Brookhaven Lab this summer for a new three-week workshop to develop their scientific computing skills.

    This summer, 20 students came to Brookhaven Lab for a new scientific computing skills-building program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by LeRoy Jones (center), program director of NSF’s Division of Human Resource Development. Noel Blackburn (to Jones’ left), manager of university relations and U.S. Department of Energy programs within Brookhaven’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP), submitted the proposal for the program. David Biersach (to Jones’ right), a technology architect in Brookhaven’s Information Technology Division, was the courseware author and primary instructor for the program. Also pictured in the photo are Brookhaven’s Robert Tribble (second from left, front row), deputy director for science and technology; David Manning (right, front row), director of the Stakeholder and Community Relations Office; and Kenneth White, manager of OEP.

    The ability to program computers is crucial to almost all modern scientific experiments, which often involve extremely complex calculations and massive amounts of data. However, scientists typically have not been formally trained in science-specific programming to develop customized computational modeling and data analysis tools for advancing their research. Computer science is not always part of the coursework for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) college students. If it is, the courses traditionally focus on the theoretical concepts of classical software design rather than on practical problem solving in their respective fields.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has seen this knowledge gap between computational and domain science firsthand. Every year, various Brookhaven Lab departments and facilities offer opportunities for STEM undergraduates to conduct research alongside physicists, chemists, biologists, and other domain scientists.

    “In monitoring the performance of our undergraduate interns, we found that most of them do not have the computational capabilities demanded by prospective internships, graduate programs, and employers,” said Noel Blackburn, manager of university relations and DOE programs within Brookhaven’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP).

    To help address this need, Blackburn submitted a grant proposal for a three-week introductory scientific computing (scicomp) workshop to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. This program helps prepare highly qualified students from underrepresented minority groups for STEM careers through partnerships with universities, government agencies, national labs, and industry. Brookhaven Lab and LSAMP first formed an alliance in 2004.

    The proposal for the “SciComp Skills-Building Internship Program” was accepted by NSF with a grant to support 20 LSAMP scholars in summer 2018—the first program of its kind. The students arrived at Brookhaven Lab at the end of July.

    “Undergraduate research has been formally encouraged by NSF since 1953,” said A. James Hicks, senior program director of LSAMP.

    “The LSAMP program remains true to this early clarion call, and the SciComp internship is intended to prepare the nation’s talent pool of STEM scholars by teaching college students how to integrate what they have learned in the classroom with computational science to solve real-world problems.”

    The SciComp curriculum was developed in partnership with senior scientists from across Brookhaven Lab in the areas of high-energy physics, computational biology, molecular chemistry, astronomy, and environmental science. Through a series of hands-on programming exercises, the LSAMP scholars learned and applied the same data structures and algorithms that Brookhaven scientists use in their research. The students wrote code capable of performing complex modeling and simulation and storing, analyzing, and visualizing very large datasets. In addition to the instructional sessions, the students pursued independent projects, working in teams of two.

    Changing scientific computing perceptions

    “How do we get a computer to reproduce what we already know? said Brookhaven Lab technology architect David Biersach, who developed the internship courseware and serves as the primary SciComp instructor. “How do we get a computer to solve new problems for which we do not have the necessary physical hardware or theory is not advanced enough to understand? Modern-day science requires the capacity to develop innovative software. But the closer you get to cutting-edge science, the less likely it is that you will find an app for it. You have to write the app yourself.”

    Alyssa Blanton (left) of the University of Texas and Coral Salort of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus collaborate on a computational physics problem in which they model the decay of radioactive medical tracers.

    For many of the students, this realization was eye-opening.

    “I didn’t know that computer science plays such a big role in scientific research,” said Galilea Garcia, a rising sophomore at the University of Georgia. “I’m eager to go back to school and apply my new skills to my research in environmental engineering, which involves lots of modeling and simulations.”

    According to Biersach, about half of the participants had no prior computer science experience. Initially, several of them did not think they could handle coding, as they thought they would have to write millions of lines of code. But by the end of the internship, their perception drastically changed, and they became much more confident in their coding abilities. Most of the programs they wrote were only 30 to 40 lines long—short enough to fit on a single presentation slide.

    “One of the students was a biology major, and she never coded before so she was very hesitant,” said Biersach. “During the course of the internship, she not only realized that she could code but also that she liked it—so much so that she plans to take computer science courses for an extra semester.”

    Reinforcing domain science understanding

    By writing code, the students also reinforced what they have been learning in the classroom. Each week, the students took an exam to test their knowledge.

    “I have taken two semesters of computer science, but those courses did not focus on science and math as this internship did,” said Emirrah Sanders, who will graduate in 2019 with a degree in chemistry from Alabama A&M University. “I learned how to write code to balance chemical equations, and this skill will help me with my physical chemistry coursework.”

    “The memorized scientific formulas do not mean anything until they come to life at a large scale,” said Biersach. “You may think you understand the theory behind a particular scientific concept, but it is not until you have to translate equations into working code that you see if you truly do have that understanding. Too few students can straddle the fence between their science major and computer science.”

    For example, a classic lesson taught in college physics is that of the two billiard ball collision—what happens when these balls collide?

    “This problem is simple enough to solve for two balls, but what if you instead send a million balls against each other?” said Biersach. “It turns out such large-scale collisions are an effective way to model turbulent airflow over an airplane wing and oxygen flow through the lungs. We show the students how writing code that can run quickly and accurately can be used to model these dynamic processes.”

    Mustafa Shabazz of the University of Pennsylvania (left) and Hyidea Burgess of Alabama A&M University develop software that can quickly balance complex oxidation-reduction chemical reactions.

    Several of the students were surprised at just how quickly computers can help tackle such problems.

    “It is cool to see how to solve complex equations in milliseconds while using only four lines of code,” said Matthew Nation, who is a rising senior studying information systems at nearby Stony Brook University.

    Victor Hernandez, a rising senior studying chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, similarly noted the time-saving aspect of scientific computing: “Some equations to describe a given chemical system are too complicated to be solved analytically. Instead, the solution must be approximated. We learned that one way to obtain this approximation is through the Monte Carlo method. For example, this method can help us model the structure of chemical compounds with a large number of atoms. It would be very difficult and time-consuming to count every point by hand. With a computer, we can have the answer in milliseconds many times.”

    Seeing the bigger picture

    Code can be used to calculate how many lattice points are inside a given circle. These points refer to the positions where you can place atoms, molecules, or ions to model the structure of a chemical compound, such as salt (NaCl).

    In between their instructional sessions and projects, the students heard guest lectures from four Brookhaven scientists: Ketevi Assamagan, a physicist in the Physics Department; Michael De Phillips, a senior scientist in the Nonproliferation and National Security Department; Mark Hybertsen, leader of the Theory and Computation Group at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN); and Meifeng Lin, a computational scientist in the Computational Science Initiative.

    “All of our guest lecturers use computational science as part of their daily routine,” said Blackburn. “They showed the many ways in which custom-developed software can improve their productivity as research scientists.”

    The students also toured the CFN, the National Synchrotron Light Source II, and RHIC—all DOE Office of Science User Facilities where scientific computing plays a major role in scientific discovery.

    “For STEM undergraduates, nanoscience can be a bit outside the scope of their classroom learning,” said Hybertsen, who hosted the students during their visit to the CFN. “I gave the students some perspective on how nanoscientists can study the structure and properties of materials by combining experimental techniques like x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy with computational tools based on theory. They were very excited to learn that today’s smartphones and computers represent very sophisticated nanotechnology that would not have been possible without many years of developing the software tools that enable modeling and simulations of all aspects of chip design and manufacturing. Using current battery science research as an example, I also showed them how physical models play a key role in the materials discovery process. Having the ability to write and apply code for new models that help interpret experimental results is a crucial skill for frontier research—one that will be a real boost for the students’ future opportunities in STEM.”

    On their last day, the students presented their projects at the Lab-wide closing ceremony for this summer’s educational programs.

    “I expect something very positive to grow out of this new opportunity for building students’ scientific computing skills,” said Hicks.

    “By participating in SciComp, students will be more competitive for internships, such as those offered by DOE at national labs, and employment opportunities,” said Ken White, manager of OEP. “No matter where these students end up—in research, industry, or academia—their new skills will be highly valued. We hope that SciComp will become an annual offering and that the participants of the pilot program come back to Brookhaven next year as interns.”

    “We are helping to develop the next generation of scientists with a strong background in scientific computing,” said Blackburn. “By partnering with LSAMP, we are supporting diversity not only in race, but also in thought. Bringing together different ideas is what we need as a nation to stay at the forefront of scientific discovery.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus



    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector


    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

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