From the Program Manager, Aug ’22: Entering Exascale Era

  • August 21, 2022
  • Feature Story,Home Page Feature

    Xujing Davis, ESMD Program Manager, DOE BER

    Xujing Davis, E3SM Program Manager, DOE BER

    Highlights from this issue

    This is an exciting summer. The arrival of the Department of Energy’s Frontier supercomputer system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) marks a historical milestone as it is the world’s first supercomputer to break the exascale speed barrier and the world’s fastest supercomputer. The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), has been preparing for this moment since its beginning in 2014 and E3SM’s Atmosphere Model in C++ (EAMxx) is now ready to run efficiently across a range of different HPC architectures including Frontier. The Frontier supercomputer will allow unprecedented rapid simulations of the high-resolution E3SM such as SCREAM and over the next few months, it will enable the first demonstration of E3SM on an exascale machine and provide a benchmark for climate models worldwide.  

    In early August, the eighth Annual US Climate Modeling Summit (USCMS) was held among six US modeling centers.  Co-chaired by the Chief Scientists of E3SM, Ruby Leung, and CESM, Gokhan Danabasoglu, the USCMS Workshop and meeting focused on addressing the modeling challenges in simulating Water Cycle to prepare the nation for water security.  E3SM was also well represented at the WCRP’s Global Energy and Water cycle Exchanges (GEWEX) Global Atmospheric System Studies Panel (GASS) annual meeting where Shaocheng Xie, the Lead of the Atmospheric Physics Next Generation Development (NGD) subproject served as one of the chairs and many other E3SM scientists presented their E3SM work.

    As of mid-May, ARM reached 3 decades in its effort of collecting data for Earth System Models. Susannah Burrows, E3SM’s Deputy Group Lead for the E3SM Biogeochemical Cycles Group, served as a chair for the ARM User Executive Committee, and led a subgroup discussion on “Enhancing Communication – Modeling/E3SM”. The subgroup identified opportunities for synergies between ARM and E3SM including continued efforts to integrate ARM data into  E3SM-diags, and the use of new E3SM’s regional refined mesh (RRM) capability and the double periodic versions of the high-resolution SCREAM.

    One big news at the BER is the retirement of the Associate Director (AD) Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax. We owe Sharlene big THANKS for her outstanding leadership and particularly the establishment of the E3SM. During the BER management transition, please support the new leadership from Dr. Gary Geernaert as the acting AD of BER and Dr. Daniel Stover, as the acting Director of EESSD.


    E3SM Science Advances

    As the deadline for the E3SM phase III proposal is near, the E3SM team is busy putting together their best science plans and visions. Meanwhile, the E3SM team and its ecosystem projects continue to produce advanced tools (e.g., new zppy, the ESMAC Diags), new capabilities (new online diagnostics, better calibration method), and understanding (for Land Surface Energy Flux uncertainties) for improved model performance and accuracy. Moreover, a new sea ice dynamical core using an unstructured Voronoi tessellation formulation of sea ice dynamics has been developed and validated to allow higher resolution simulations in regions of interest with improved computational efficiency and load balancing.

    The first hackathon on CF compliance in E3SM’s ocean, sea-ice, and land-ice components turned out to be a tremendous success. This type of activity is highly recommended by the organizers Xylar Asay-Davis and Carolyn Begeman as a means to build team cohesion and resolve outstanding issues through a concerted group effort, please check out their retrospective.


    Status of the E3SM-focused Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

    The decisions have been made for the Modeling FOA and SciDAC FOA. The projects recommended for awards have been notified. Congratulations and welcome to the E3SM science community if you are a new member! For the remaining proposals, we will be sending out notifications over the next few weeks. Please do not be discouraged if you are not among the ones awarded this time since the competition is particularly high this year and please keep an eye on future opportunities. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the colleagues for their submissions and all the reviewers for their precious time and insightful comments.  Your enthusiasm, innovation, and contribution are essential for E3SM science advance and are very much appreciated!



    Following the DOE’s AI4ESP workshop, there is an open call for paper submission to a special collection for the AMS Artificial Intelligence for Earth Systems (AIES) journal. I encourage E3SM members to think about the ways that they can participate. Note that the AI4ESP initiative has gained media attention.

    You may also be interested in checking out the newly released ICAMS Wildfire Workshop summaries.

    Please update your calendar with the changes to the meetings’ dates: E3SM phase III review is planned to be from Oct 31 to Nov 03, 2022, and the EESM PI meeting originally planned during this time is being rescheduled to be in spring, 2023.


    I hope you enjoy the update from this issue and can find some time to relax with family and friends during the remaining of the summer,


    This article is a part of the E3SM “Floating Points” Newsletter, to read the full Newsletter check:

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