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Fermilab | Batavia, IL | USA

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National laboratories offer computing time to Japanese physicists in wake of earthquake

Fermilab theoretical physicist Paul Mackenzie, spokesperson for the USQCD collaboration. Click on image for higher resolution version. Photo credit: Reidar Hahn.

The field of high-energy physics has always considered itself a family. To address some of the largest questions, such as how were we and the universe formed, it takes building-sized machines, enormous computing power and more resources than one nation can muster. This necessary collaboration has forged strong bonds among physicists and engineers across the globe.

So naturally when March 11 a tsunami and series of earthquakes struck Japan, home to one of the world’s largest high-energy physics laboratories and an accelerator research center, physicists in the U.S. started asking how they could help. It turns out that they have a unique resource to offer: computer power.

Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD)is a computational technique used to study the interactions of quarks and gluons and requires vast computing power. To help the Japanese continue this analysis, Fermilab and other U.S. labs will share their Lattice QCD computing resources.

 “We’re very happy that the shared use of our resources can allow our Japanese colleagues to continue their research during a time of crisis,” said Fermilab theoretical physicist Paul Mackenzie, spokesperson for the USQCD collaboration.

From now until the end of 2011, while computing facilities in eastern Japan face continuing electricity shortages, a percentage of the computing power at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia will be made available to the Japanese Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) community.

“We appreciate the support from the U.S. QCD community,” said University of Tsukuba Vice President Akira Ukawa, spokesperson of the Japanese Lattice QCD community. “The sharing of resources will not only be instrumental to continue research in Japan through the current crisis, but will also mark a significant step in strengthening the international collaboration for progress in our field.”

Read the Fermilab press release here: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/2011/USQCDrelease_052311.html

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