2006: MSU will go to the big DANSE
$12M National Science Foundation grant is awarded for physics data analysis software development.
MSU Physics professor, Simon Billinge, will lead the diffraction sub-group of the DANSE (Distributed Data Analysis for Neutron Scattering Experiments) project to develop the next generation of computer programs to study complex materials using neutron scattering. The software developments will leverage results coming from the powerful new Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) under construction at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Materials researchers such as Prof. Billinge will take samples, prepared in their laboratories, to the SNS to characterize them using the intense neutron beams. The unprecedented power and size of this new source mean that interesting samples with complex structures can be studied that were beyond the capabilities of current generation sources. The source will produce many gigabytes of data each day of operation. Current data analysis software is inadequate to meet these new challenges, and the DANSE collaboration was formed to address this need. NSF has recognized the scientific vision and expertise of the DANSE team, a multiple institution effort including Caltech, Iowa State, U. Maryland and U. Tennessee as well as MSU, by awarding $12M over 5 years. The software developments will marry modern advanced computing and software engineering methods with basic science goals in physics, chemistry and biology related to neutron scattering and will result in novel scientific results in areas as diverse as energy storage and conversion, earth science, electronics, structural materials and medicine.