Sandia LabNews

Sandia wins two R&D 100 awards

Sandia researchers and their collaborators have won two R&D 100 awards, which are presented annually by R&D Magazine in recognition of the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year.

Sandia winners include:

  • Compute Process Allocator, a computer algorithm technology that increases processing efficiency on massively parallel supercomputers. Developed in conjunction with colleagues at the State University of New York and the University of Illinois, the CPA’s principal developer is Vitus Leung (1415), along with Kevin Pedretti (1423) and Cynthia Phillips (1415). It was licensed to Cray Inc. in 2005.
  • HTSS10V, a solid-state, fluoride-based battery that is safer than traditional batteries in high-temperature applications such as oil, gas, and geothermal drilling. The principal developer is Alexander Potanin at the High Power Battery Systems Company in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, working with General Atomics and, at Sandia, Randy Normann (6211), Gloria Chavez (6924), and Richard Smith (retired).

“I congratulate the researchers who have won these awards, which highlight the power and promise of DOE’s investments in science and technology,” Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. “Through the efforts of dedicated and innovative scientists and engineers at our national laboratories, DOE is helping to enhance our nation’s energy, economic, and national security.”

Compute Process Allocator (CPA)

The CPA’s principal application is to maximize throughput on massively parallel supercomputers by managing how processors are assigned to particular computing jobs given a stream of computing tasks submitted to a job queue. The CPA assigns each job to a set of processors, which are exclusively dedicated to the job until completion. The CPA obtains maximum throughput by choosing processors for a job that are physically near each other, minimizing communication and bandwidth inefficiencies.

In experiments at Sandia, the optimized node allocation strategy employed by CPA increased throughput by 23 percent, in effect processing five jobs in the time it normally took to process four.

The CPA is scalable to tens of thousands of processors and is currently being used on supercomputers at Sandia (Red Storm), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the US Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center Major Shared Resource Center, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and the Swiss Scientific Computing Center.


Solid-state fluoride ion batteries have a high energy density while being inherently safe. The battery consists of nontoxic fluoride, and all three battery components of the HTSS10V — anode, cathode, and ionic conductor — are solid, making it the best and safest choice for high-temperature activities such as oil and gas drilling, currently its primary application. Traditional lithium batteries are at risk of exploding or leaking chemicals under high-temperature uses. Solid-state battery technology offers the largest temperature range — room temperature to 500° C — of any battery technology.

Other advantages of solid-state batteries are:

  • The ability to be flown on commercial aircraft, while lithium sulfuryl chloride batteries can only be transported by ground and must be stored in explosive containers when on a drill rig.
  • Longer shelf life and greater reliability in emergency situations, giving them advantages for battery backup or life support systems during a fire or other emergencies.

Researchers are currently working on a rechargeable version for laptop computers.

Limited production of the batteries began in 2005 at Russia’s VNIIEF Institute. Under a joint program with Sandia and General Atomics, the batteries will be produced in Sarov, Russia, and in San Diego, Calif., for high-end oil and gas drilling uses.