- Education & OutreachIn the 21st century, prosperity and innovation are inextricably linked with educating new generations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM. Between 50 and 85 percent of U.S. gross domestic product growth over the last 50 years has been due to advancements in science and engineering, according to a 2010 National Research Council report on U.S. education, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5.” Yet, the U.S. ranks 15th in science literacy and 28th in mathematics literacy among top students.
- EnergyComputational methods have become key to tackling every aspect of the U.S. energy challenges, from stretching the fossil fuels we primarily rely on today, to developing new energy sources and improving the alternatives we already employ, such as solar and wind power. To bring down the costs of producing biofuels, researchers need to understand how to break down the tough fibers of plant cellulose into sugars. Molecular-level simulations are helping them understand how enzymes – present in fungi and other organisms – already perform this trick.
- Environment & ResourcesIn coming decades, changing climate and an ever-growing population will put unprecedented strains on our nation’s natural resources, agriculture, and environment. Predicting and preparing for shifting temperatures, changing growing seasons and rain patterns, extreme weather events, increased drought, flooding, wildfires, and changes in plant and animal populations are among the most important roles of scientific computing.
- Health & MedicineAs computer simulations and models grow faster and more accurate, so does our ability to understand and treat disease and injuries. From drug discovery to surgery, to unraveling the mysteries of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, many advances in medicine would not be possible without the sophisticated modeling, visualization, and data analysis enabled by scientific computation.
- Industry & InnovationJust as innovation is the lifeblood of U.S. industry, so is computation increasingly vital to innovation. Computer simulations, data analysis, and modeling are speeding up the design and adoption of new materials, machines, and manufacturing processes. Many CASC members are engaged in public-private partnerships to advance U.S. industrial innovation and competitiveness. And even those who may not have ties to specific companies support industry with research that leads to new products and services.
- Matter & the UniverseOver the past decades, physics, astronomy, and cosmology have seen amazing advances driven by improvements in modeling, simulation, and data analysis algorithms. The enormous and complex data sets generated by modern sky surveys and international physics experiments like the Large Hadron Collider are sifted, analyzed, stored, and fed into simulations that have become virtual experimental laboratories themselves.