ISTI/ASC Co-Design Summer School

What is the Co-Design Summer School?

The Los Alamos ISTI/ASC Co-Design Summer School was created to train future scientists to work on the kinds of interdisciplinary teams that are demanded by today’s scientific challenges. Launched in 2011, the summer school recruits top candidates in a range of fields spanning domain sciences, applied mathematics, computational and computer sciences, and computer architecture. Participants work together to solve a focused problem that is designed to build the skills needed to tackle the grand challenges of the future. Foremost among the skills on which we focus is the ability of students to work across disciplines with other team members, while employing their own unique expertise. This is the heart of Co-Design.


Past summer school challenges have included problems in kinetic theory (Boltzmann Transport Equation), molecular dynamics, hydrodynamics (Adaptive Mesh Refinement), and quantum molecular dynamics.  The summer school is hosted by the Applied Computer Science Group (CCS-7), lead by Linn Collins.

What exactly is Co-Design?

Co-Design is the social and technical equivalent of a multiple-constraint optimization problem.  The rapid evolution of computing architectures and the expanding space between specializations in domain science and computer architecture means that it is impossible for a single individual to cover all of the skills needed to solve current-day computational science challenges.  Co-Design bridges this space through interactions between members of an interdisciplinary team.  With the right amount of overlap, team members can communicate with each other effectively to solve a problem.

2016 Co-Design Summer School Focus:
Astrophysics - Kilonovae

Neutron star mergers are the primary targets for the advanced gravity wave (GW) detectors (LIGO, VIRGO) that are coming into operation in the next few years, with estimated detection rates of several events per year.  However, because of the poor directional sensitivity of GW detectors, we will remain blind to these mergers unless they are accompanied by a short gamma-ray burst.  Such bursts only occur in a small percentage of mergers, where the merger axis is oriented towards the Earth.  Recently, new types of electromagnetic transients have been proposed: kilonovae.  These transients emit isotropically, meaning that they can

aid in detecting mergers of any orientation. Powered by the decay of heavy r-process elements (synthesized in the merger ejecta), kilonovae can peak in the infrared or visual bands on the timescale of a few days.


To gain a better theoretical understanding of kilonovae, the 2016 summer school will create simulation tools to investigate several properties that will constrain the observations:


Ejecta Mass

The amount of mass ejected through different channels (dynamical, neutrino-driven winds, viscous winds).


Ejecta Morphology

The structural form of the ejecta.


Ejecta Composition

The relative densities of the various heavy r-process elements that are synthesized in the ejecta.


This investigation will require the development of new numerical methods and computational science strategies to enable large-scale simulation runs on advanced computing architectures.  In particular, we will focus on refactoring the 2HOT smoothed particle hydrodynamics code—developed by Michael S. Warren, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2)—to use modern task-based and functional programming model implementations for scalable execution on the most recent HPC systems available.

Credit: Dana Berry, SkyWorks, Inc.