LANL's three science pillars harness capabilities for solutions to threats—from cyber security to new materials development—on national and global scales.
Threats of a global scale inspire programmatic model to cope with complexity
After determining that traditional scientific methods and organizational structures were not fast, flexible, and focused enough for emerging threats and trends, LANL forged a new organizational, programmatic model to facilitate more flexibility, speed, and responsiveness to solving the nation's—and the world's—emerging problems.
The Laboratory is now leveraging and maximizing its capabilities with multi-disciplinary teaming across the depth and breadth of its scientific endeavors—and managing the science streams with a more threat-focused and fluid level of oversight.
An increasingly complex and threatening world demands that LANL pursue problem-solving beyond the traditional scope of materials, energy, and other crucial areas of emergent and developing research, and yields three science pillars.
Focus on three major streams of science-based activity ensures preparedness, responsiveness to threats:
- Development and discovery of new materials
- Ways of perceiving and identifying complex social, biological, climate-based, and other trends and interactions (referred to as science-based "signatures")
- Prediction of threats to our nation and anticipation of other challenges to human survival, including in area of cybersecurity
Three science pillars provide foundation for addressing complexity and stresses of climate change, cyber security, clean energy, new materials, health and biological concernsThe extraordinarily complex challenges of global security, expansion into space, clean energy, sustainability, new materials, and others require that we leverage a comprehensive and broad-based suite of capabilities and expertise instead of pursuing research and problem-solving in the "silo-oriented" scientific paradigm of yesteryear.
Science pillars replace science silos
Solutions, and national security, today require multidisciplinary teams that have expertise in a broad range of topics such as supercomputing, physics, new materials, and engineering and not only a specific research topic in physics or astrobiology.
Someone working in new materials for development of frictionless high-speed trains, for example, may require expertise in supercomputing for critical data analysis and experimental prototyping. The same expertise in supercomputing may be required by teams working on AIDS treatments or vaccine development.
Rapid response and expansive teaming are ensured through orchestrated program management around threats
We are being faced with finding solutions to ever more complex problems and finding innovations in new materials, ideas, and ways of perceiving science-based realities. Because of better and unique facilities, more sophisticated and powerful instrumentation—record-breaking super magnets and exascale computing power, for instance—we now can perceive these in their fullest complexity, detail, and interdependency.
Research must consume and yield far more data and possibilities than ever before to find solutions.
Los Alamos is poised to move forward into the next decades with a framework—the science pillars—for orchestrating discovery, innovation, and problem-solving at this level of complexity.