Home To accelerate the pace of discovery: Virginia lab chosen to lead U.S. in data-intensive science

To accelerate the pace of discovery: Virginia lab chosen to lead U.S. in data-intensive science

Rebecca Barnabi
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The United States Department of Energy has selected the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility as the Hub Director for the new High Performance Data Facility (HPDF).

The HPDF will specialize in advanced infrastructure for data-intensive science. The project to build the HPDF Hub will be a partnership between Jefferson Lab and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), with the two labs forming a joint project team led by Jefferson Lab and charged to create an integrated HPDF Hub design.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine and their colleagues worked tirelessly to engage the DOE, stress the extent of Jefferson Lab’s capabilities and potential for growth, and best position Virginia to be selected to host the HPDF. They worked with the General Assembly and Gov. Glenn Youngkin to secure more than $40 million in Commonwealth funds for the planning and construction of a shell building to house the HPDF – a bipartisan feat that demonstrated Virginia’s extraordinary support of Jefferson Lab’s mission and commitment to this project.

The facility is envisioned as a national resource that will serve as the foundation for advancing DOE’s ambitious Integrated Research Infrastructure (IRI) program, which aims to provide researchers the ability to seamlessly meld DOE’s unique data resources, experimental user facilities and advanced computing resources to accelerate the pace of discovery. HPDF’s mission will be to enable and accelerate scientific discovery by delivering state-of-the-art data management infrastructure, capabilities and tools. The HPDF will provide a crucial national resource for artificial intelligence (AI) research, opening new approaches for the nation’s researchers to attack fundamental problems in science and engineering that require nimble, shared access to large data sets, and real-time analysis of streamed data from experiments. DOE is the leading producer of scientific data in the world, and the HPDF will deliver a platform for a broad spectrum of data-intensive research.

Last year, Warner and Kaine announced more than $76 million in federal funding for the Jefferson Lab for project support and infrastructure upgrades. The investments were made possible by the Inflation Reduction.

“The selection of Jefferson Lab as the location and lead of the High Performance Data Facility is a monumental win for the Lab, Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Warner, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said.

Warner has pushed to broaden the mission and responsibilities of the Jefferson Lab since he was governor of Virginia in 2002 to 2006.

“Today’s announcement is a massive step toward realizing the goal of diversifying the mission of Jefferson Lab by providing the Lab with a critical national resource that will be used to tackle fundamental problems in science and engineering, including artificial intelligence research,” Warner said.

According to Kaine, the designation for the Jefferson Lab “is a powerful recognition of the contributions Virginians make to the research we need to remain at the cutting-edge of technological innovation.”

Jefferson Lab Director Stuart Henderson said staff is honored to be selected.

“Building on our extensive experience with large data sets and high performance computing, and our new and ongoing partnerships exploring state-of-the-art approaches to data and data science, we will build a new facility that will revolutionize the way we make scientific discoveries,” Henderson said.

The project is expected to cost between $300 million and $500 million to complete.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.