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May 2013 story tips from Oak Ridge National Laboratory

POWER GRID Preparing for natural disasters . . .

Software developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help emergency responders predict where power outages are likely when a storm hits, which can minimize the amount of time people are in the dark. The fully automated system uses wind speed and location estimates to geospatially map the impact to the electric grid, allowing planners who would otherwise have to perform tedious manual processing to focus on other tasks. A paper outlining the research was presented at a recent Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conference. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

COMPUTING Spotlight on super machines . . .

Computer aficionados now have a new virtual encyclopedia focused on high-performance computing trends, architecture, software, applications, facilities and sponsors. Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff researcher Jeff Vetter's book, titled "Contemporary High Performance Computing," examines the growth from terascale to petascale computers and the influence of the TOP500 and Green500 lists. The book provides a description of a flagship high-performance computing system, including architecture, system software, programming environment, and storage and visualization support. The 730-page book, which was released by CRC Press ( April 23, includes contributions from some of the premier researchers involved in designing, deploying and using supercomputer systems. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

PLASMONICS Revolutionary sensors . . .

By coupling quantum light sources with quantum information squeezed through nano-scale triangular holes strategically etched into a thin layer of silver, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated a path to sensors and information processing up to 10 times better than what was previously possible with plasmonics. The technology moves the field of plasmonics, dubbed "light on a wire," to a level previously only imagined, said Raphael Pooser, co-author of a Physical Review Letters paper ( that details the discovery. "We transferred multiple quantum bits into the plasmons whereas in the past only one at a time had been done, and it was done with only a single photon at a time while we used millions," said Pooser, a member of ORNL's Quantum Information Science Group. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

BIOMEDICAL Bridging the gap . . .

Researchers from disparate scientific disciplines will gather at Oak Ridge National Laboratory May 21-23 for a conference aimed at building global networks to tackle some of society's most challenging biomedical problems. The scientific theme is "Integrating Experiments, Simulations and Modeling for Biomedical Advances: From Single Molecules to Public Health Dynamics." India's Samir Brahmachari, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, will deliver the keynote address. Plenary speakers are Viren Jain of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chinnappa Kodira of GE Global Research and Grant Schaffner of the University of Cincinnati. ORNL's Georgia Tourassi, director of the Biomedical Science and Engineering Center, is the conference chair. Registration and other information is available at [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

CLIMATE -- Model improvements . . .

At the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researchers are helping accelerate development of a model that the climate science community depends upon to generate simulation data for periodic planetary assessments. Researchers from seven Department of Energy national laboratories and the National Science Foundation's National Center for Atmospheric Research have teamed up for the Climate Science for a Sustainable Energy Future project to transform model development and testing. The CSSEF contributions are expected to improve the ability of simulations to predict global climate change. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448;]


Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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