Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Applied Computer Science

Innovative co-design of applications, algorithms, and architectures in order to enable scientific simulations at extreme scale


  • Deputy Group Leader (acting)
  • Aimee Hungerford
  • Email
  • Professional Assistant
  • Erika Maestas
  • (505) 664-0673
  • Email
Asteroid impact simulations showing volume rendering of water fraction in blue and asteroid fraction in red.

Visualization of a 250-meter diameter basalt asteroid impacting deep ocean water at a 45-degree angle from a simulation run using xRage, a parallel multi-physics Eulerian hydrodynamics code that is developed and maintained by the ASC program at LANL. The visualization shown is a volume rendering of water fraction in blue and white and asteroid fraction in red tones.

Basic and applied research supporting national security science

We are the vanguard for scientific simulations at extreme scale through the co-design of applications, algorithms, and architectures.

Research Areas/Teams

Scott Pakin, Team Leader
Ben Bergen, Deputy Team Leader

The Co-Design team concentrates on the optimization of entire computing systems--from the application to the hardware. We use an agile co-design process of rapid iteration through the problem space based largely on the use of proxy applications.

Whenever possible these proxy applications are released as open source codes to facilitate collaboration with academic and industrial partners.

Our team members have experience and expertise in

  • programming models and languages,
  • runtime systems,
  • Monte Carlo techniques,
  • functional languages, and
  • advanced hardware architectures including
    • CPUs,
    • GPUs, and,most notably,
    • FPGA-based systems.
Future Architectures and Applications

Marc Charest, Team Leader
Ying Wai Li, Deputy Team Leader

The focus of the Future Architectures and Applications Team is to work with domain scientists and their applications to take the best advantage of current and forthcoming supercomputer architectures and to leverage knowledge of advanced architectures and computing at extreme scales. We work extensively with open science projects through the Institutional Computing Program and with the Weapons Program through the ASC Program, as well as with other computing projects throughout the laboratory. Our goal is to keep science at LANL on the forefront of the rapidly changing supercomputing landscape.

Much of our work is educational in nature. We keep up to date on advanced computing hardware (such as multi- and many-core CPUs, GPUs, and various accelerators) and software (MPI, OpenMP, OpenACC, OpenCL, CUDA, etc.). This knowledge is transferred to code teams and implemented in codes through user group meetings, workshops, and by working directly with project teams. We supply in-depth consulting to applications teams so their applications run efficiently on current and forthcoming computer architectures. Central to this work is understanding and modifying applications to expose parallelism and vectorization opportunities, essential to effective use of modern computer architectures.

Programming Models

Patrick McCormick, Team Leader
Christine Sweeney, Deputy Team Leader

The Programming Models team bridges the gap between underlying hardware architectures and the supporting layers of software available to applications. This includes a range of topics from programming languages, supporting compiler infrastructures, runtime software, and application programming interfaces.

Our overall goal leverages all of these activities with a goal of increasing developer productivity and understanding of the interactions between software and hardware. We are driven by challenging applications in a number of areas ranging from computational physics as well as data-intensive Computing.

Weapons Applications Research to Production (WARP)

Galen Shipman, Team Leader
Charles Ferenbaugh, Deputy Team Leader

The Weapons Applications Research to Production (WARP) spans cutting-edge computer science research, modern software engineering, integration of new technologies, and support of core capabilities in production applications. Our team bridges the gap between the laboratory’s computer science research activities and the production application needs of NNSA Defense Programs. Working with teams in the Applied Computer Science group we develop new technologies for large-scale multi-physics applications. Through partnerships with application teams we facilitate rapid adoption of modern software engineering practices and technologies to improve the performance, scalability, portability, and agility of mission applications in production environments.

Our goal is to maintain long-term partnerships with LANL’s mission application teams to modernize existing applications, develop core software infrastructure for applications, and to provide long-term stewardship and support of critical application technologies.