The Laboratory’s Director has established five research initiatives with the goal of strengthening specific science, technology, and engineering capabilities in areas that merit special attention. The initiatives receive institutional investments in research, workforce development, and infrastructure. The Laboratory is achieving exceptional success in each of these five areas, and attracting promising new employees to help it expand the frontiers of S&T to meet national needs. The initiative areas are:
Accelerated materials and manufacturing
The nation needs rapid, cost-effective advanced materials and manufacturing processes and systems. Laboratory missions require new specialized materials and components with previously unattainable properties—technologies that also have broader commercial applications. Through this initiative, the Laboratory is performing the underlying scientific research and technology development that will create more agile, responsive, integrated material development, manufacturing, and qualification.
Even after the world achieves carbon-free electricity, and industry and transportation become emission-free, it will still be about 25% short of the carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions necessary to limit the global mean temperature increase to no more than 2°C. The LLNL Carbon Initiative will help create the science, technology, and collaborations to support global-scale CO2 removal.
This initiative’s purpose is to integrate machine learning, high-performance simulation, and empirical data to demonstrate applications important to national security missions. Using inertial confinement fusion and weapons applications as prototypical examples, the initiative explores cognitive simulation for integrating large ensembles of simulations with more limited quantities of experimental data to produce models with improved prediction performance.
By bringing together the nation’s leading capabilities in the life sciences, precision experimental measurements, and high-performance computing, the Laboratory will develop the tools and knowledge necessary to meet emerging challenges to health and national security. This initiative works toward a tested and validated predictive biology framework that will enable a new, precise, data-driven, simulation-based approach to threat characterization, diagnosis, and intervention development for biosecurity and human health.
Space science and security
Motivated by increasing commercial competition from international firms, aggressive behavior from countries developing counter-space capabilities, and an increasingly complex global security environment that requires more data to keep decision-makers informed, the Laboratory has implemented a Director’s initiative in space science and security. The program’s three elements are (1) applying space science subject matter expertise to conduct all-source intelligence analysis responding to emerging threats; (2) using advanced modeling and simulation to evaluate potential mission concepts; and (3) developing and deploying novel instruments for small satellite platforms, as well as modeling distributed space operations of networks of such satellites.