SciDAC: Nuclear Physics QCD


SciDAC Layers

Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the part of the Standard Model of Physics that describes the Strong Force that binds particles together and that binds protons and neutrons together to form the nuclei of atoms.  The elementary entities of QCD are quarks and gluons. Lattice QCD (LQCD) is the term describing the dominant method for doing QCD calculations. LQCD is extremely computation intensive, so efficiency is paramount.

The “Computing Properties of Hadrons, Nuclei and Nuclear Matter from Quantum Chromodynamics” project coordinates the software development effort which the nuclear physics lattice QCD community uses to ensure that lattice calculations make optimal use of emerging hardware and prepare for the exascale era. The project develops and optimizes simulation software on a broad spectrum of computing hardware. Specific topics include the optimization of gauge field evolution algorithms, sparse matrix, multi-time-scale, multi-grid, and domain decomposition innverters for several QCD fermion discretization schemes.

Finally, the project will develop a domain specific language for QCD computations, which will enable the creation of highly optimized code across the QCD community.

RENCI’s Role

RENCI researchers are focusing on the “ninja programmer gap,” the difference in computing efficiency attainable using domain-specific approaches versus the much higher performance attainable with hand-optimized code. Part of this work has been the understanding of the causes of this gap, both from the programming models and the computer architectures. The longer term focus is on structuring domain specific languages to incorporate the performance enhancing methods used in the most successful hand-optimized codes.

Project Team

  • Rob Fowler (Principal Investigator)
  • Diptorup Deb (Graduate Student)



U.S. Department of Energy


More information about the project can be found at

All software developments will be made publicly available through the U.S. Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics website,