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DOE announces $3M for 2nd round of HPC4Mfg for industry access to high performance computing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $3 million (FBO315-16) in the second round of funding for High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program, which enables manufacturers to use high-performance computing resources at the Department’s national laboratories to tackle major manufacturing challenges. (Earlier post.) This effort also advances President Obama's National Strategic Computing Initiative, unveiled in July 2015, which calls for public-private partnerships to increase industrial adoption of high-performance computing.

The HPC4Mfg program provides high performance computing (HPC) expertise and resources to the manufacturing sector to lower the risk of HPC adoption and broaden its use to support advanced clean energy manufacturing. The selected projects will leverage the national labs’ high-performance computing capabilities to apply modeling, simulation, and data analysis to address manufacturing challenges that will aid in decision-making, optimize processes and design, improve quality, predict performance and failure, quicken or eliminate testing, and/or shorten the time of adoption of new technologies.

Projects must demonstrate potential impact to energy efficiency in manufacturing and/or the development of new clean energy technologies with a potential for broad national impact.

The Energy Department plans to select 8-10 projects for this second round of funding and seeks qualified industry partners to participate in short-term, collaborative projects. A number of companies and their initial concepts will be selected and paired with a national lab HPC expert to jointly develop a full proposal in June, with final selections to be announced in August.

Selected projects will receive up to $300,000 to support access to supercomputers and experts at the partnering national labs, which include Lawrence Livermore (LLNL), Lawrence Berkeley, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Applications are due by 21 April 2016.

Although the program is presently focused on using national lab HPC resources to bolster manufacturing, it is possible that other fields, such as transportation, more efficient buildings and renewable energy also could benefit. As the program broadens, other national laboratory partners are expected to join.

The HPC4Mfg program currently supports 15 projects that range from improved turbine blades for aircraft engines and reduced heat loss in electronics to improved fiberglass production. Each have each been awarded up to $300,000 for a total of nearly $4.5 million.

LLNL established HPC4Mfg in March 2015, launched four “seedling” projects, and put in place a formal governance model. Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratories joined in September 2015 to support the first round solicitation; the Energy Department recently announced the projects selected for the first round.

As the HPC4Mfg program continues, it is anticipated that there will be two rounds of proposals sought each year, one in the spring and the other in the fall.

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