Workshop on the Grand Challenges of
Advanced Computing for Energy Innovation

July 31–August 2, 2012 — Hyatt Regency, Reston, VA

Download the Final Report (PDF)

Grand Challenge Goal: Leverage the United States’ leadership in advanced computing, modeling and simulation to deploy affordable, user-friendly, accessible platforms for broad use across America’s energy sector.


The introduction to a May 8, 2012 Forbes magazine interview with Secretary Chu reads, “The Nobel Prize-winning scientist is betting that these super machines will play a key role in designing new products and solving longstanding energy challenges: from better engines to advanced nuclear reactors. He’s backing his bet with significant resources, offering some of the Department’s world leading supercomputers for use by industry leaders.”

The purpose of this workshop is to turn the Secretary’s word into actions.

Workshop Goals

  • Refine the Secretary’s vision of how advanced computing could change the U.S. energy future by enabling energy innovation.
  • Attract and strengthen a team of end users (energy innovators), advanced computing technology developers, and supporters.
  • Identify challenges and specific actions necessary to widen the use of advanced computing to enable better generation, delivery, storage, and use of energy.

Workshop Format

The workshop is organized into three phases designed to collect and highlight opportunities and grand challenges of using advanced computing for energy innovation.

Educational Colloquiums – On the first day (July 31st) participants will have the opportunity to engage experts in the field about the grand challenges of advanced computing. Three colloquiums, each with a morning and afternoon session, will present: opportunities and challenges for new advanced computing users; resources available through the Department of Energy (DOE) and its laboratories to overcome those challenges; and a sampling of commercial offerings in the advanced computing space. Attendance is optional however encouraged for those who are unfamiliar with DOE or these grand challenges.

Plenary Sessions – On the morning of the second day (August 1st) the workshop will meet in a plenary session and hear from three panels. Leaders of the DOE Applied Technology programs; industry representatives who are currently using advanced computing; and companies who are interested in using advanced computing will discuss the potential benefits as well as the grand challenges to using advanced computing to change the U.S.’s energy future. The plenary sessions will be capped off by a lunchtime keynote address given by Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.

Breakout Groups – After lunch, the workshop will convene into breakout groups for the rest of the day and continue into the third day (August 2nd). These groups will work to create crisp definitions of the grand challenges for advanced computing for energy innovation as well as develop actionable recommendations that the Department of Energy and its laboratories can consider to, as Secretary Chu has said, “change the country’s energy future.” These grand challenges and recommendations will be collected and presented in a formal report of the workshop.

Attire – Business Casual.