Institutional Initiatives

The Laboratory’s Director has established three research initiatives with the goal of strengthening specific science, technology, and engineering capabilities in areas that merit special attention. Embracing the Lab’s “team science” approach, Institutional Initiatives have significant variation in their ideal outcomes—initiatives may build a program, develop a Core Competence, or help organize a national effort, among other examples. The defining feature of these initiatives is their flexibility—they emerge and evolve according to shifting S&T landscapes. The initiatives receive institutional investments in research, workforce development, and infrastructure. The Laboratory is achieving exceptional success in each of these three areas and attracts promising new employees to help expand the frontiers of S&T to meet national needs. The initiative areas are:

Cognitive Simulation
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.

Decision Superiority
The Decision Superiority Initiative is an incubator effort applying integrable systems-based planning to help the U.S. achieve competitive advantage through better management of complexity and scale in real-time decision applications. Simply put, the Decision Superiority Initiative helps meet the pressing national need for decision support tools. Meeting technical challenges requires new approaches beyond current simulation and machine learning methods, which aren’t always available to make timely recommendations. Based on mathematical advances in dynamical systems, the Initiative fosters scalable, stable, and robust modeling and forecasting capabilities that can resolve complex decisions with limited information.

Inertial Fusion Energy
By leveraging the decades of investment by NNSA in Inertial Confinement Fusion and exploiting emerging technologies, the Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) Initiative seeks to provide inclusive leadership on the national and international stage, develop LLNL technical IFE efforts in areas highly synergistic with the Stockpile Stewardship mission, and work with the community to support the emerging public and private IFE landscape. IFE is a potential game-changing technology whose pursuit will bolster American competitiveness and energy and climate security.