The Department of Energy is awarding 1.7 billion processor hours to 57 research projects covering everything from biofuels to climate change. This is the largest award of supercomputing time that has been granted under the INCITE (Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment) program and the lucky researchers will be able to use two of the fastest supercomputers in existence, the IBM Blue Gene/P ("Intrepid") at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory and the Cray XT5 ("Jaguar") at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Combined, these two computers have a computational capacity of 135,000 laptops with quad-core processors.

Aside from the biofuels, one of the projects that caught our eye is, "Understanding the Ultimate Battery Chemistry: Rechargeable Lithium/Air." It looks like the folks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be using the supercomputers to design and actually build a working prototype battery that has 10 times the energy density of today's lithium-ion packs. For a recap on lithium-air batteries, check out this study we highlighted earlier this year.

[Source: US Department of Energy | Image: Argonne National Laboratory – C.C. License 2.0]

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