Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program

  • Unstable intermixing of heavy (sulfur hexafluoride) and light fluid (air).
    Unstable intermixing of heavy (sulfur hexafluoride) and light fluid (air).
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  • Turbulence generated by unstable fluid flow.
    Turbulence generated by unstable fluid flow.
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  • Examining the effects of a one-megaton nuclear energy source detonated on the surface of an asteroid.
    Examining the effects of a one-megaton nuclear energy source detonated on the surface of an asteroid.
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Los Alamos National Laboratory is home to two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, each capable of performing more than 1,000 trillion operations per second. The newer one, Cielo, was upgraded in 2011.

ASC program activities are shared by NNSA’s three defense laboratories

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories


ASC develops and provides to the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) the tools to underpin the use of simulations with confidence in assessing the current and future stockpile. The SSP mission is to analyze and predict the performance, safety, and reliability of nuclear weapons and certify their functionality.

ASC works in partnership with computer manufacturers to provide state-of-the-art computers to SSP. The Laboratories, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia, have developed long-distance computing capabilities so that SSP staff have access to the largest systems at any of the labs. ASC also collaborates with universities to advance the state-of-the-art in computational physics, including providing university students with access to ASC supercomputers.

  • ASC simulations are central to stewardship of the U. S. nuclear stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing.
  • NNSA's ability to model the extraordinary complexity of nuclear weapons systems is essential to establish confidence in the performance of our aging stockpile. 
  • ASC tools enable nuclear weapons scientists and engineers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire weapons lifecycle from design to safe processes for dismantlement.
  • Through close coordination with other government agencies, ASC tools play an important role in supporting global nuclear security, emergency response, and nuclear forensics.

Program Elements

  • Integrated Codes
  • Physics and Engineering Models
  • Verification and Validation
  • Computational Systems and Software Environment
  • Facility Operations and User Support

Trinity: Next Generation Computing

NNSA’s ASC Program has given permission to the Los Alamos and Sandia Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) Project to release the request for proposal (RFP) for the Trinity system. The procurement of Trinity is a joint procurement with the DOE Office of Science to procure Trinity for ASC and the NERSC-8 supercomputer for Lawrence Berkeley National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

Trinity’s installation is projected to be in 2015–2016. It is expected to be the first platform large and fast enough to begin to accommodate finely resolved 3D calculations for full-scale, end-to-end weapons calculations.

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