Department of Energy Announces $5 Million for Research to Develop New Models for Bio-Preparedness

Research will advance data movement and analysis, as well as develop tools for automating workflows to aid in decision support

Photo of Francis (Frank) Alexander enlarge

Brookhaven Lab CSI's Deputy Director, Francis (Frank) Alexander, will lead the multi-laboratory RADIUM project that includes Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos national labs. RADIUM proposes to build a computational framework that can evaluate the likely outcome of proposed actions while quantifying uncertainty, especially useful for evaluating mitigation procedures related to global epidemics. RADIUM also will incorporate performant software frameworks developed as part of the Exascale Computing Project.

The following news release was issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), allocating $5 million in funding for research to advance data analysis and decision-support capabilities for bio-preparedness and response. The DOE initiative, dubbed BRaVE, builds on success in collaborative epidemiological and computational models resulting from efforts by DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory and the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium. Francis (Frank) Alexander, deputy director of Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative (CSI), will lead one of the three awarded projects, Robust, Adaptive Decision-making via Impact-oriented, Uncertainty-aware Models (RADIUM). The project will focus on creating a computational framework that can facilitate optimal decision-making when subjected to dataset uncertainties and resource constraints. This will enhance the usefulness of epidemiological models to generate more accurate predictions of future pandemic trajectories. The RADIUM team includes partners from DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos national labs along with CSI staff.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $5 million in funding for research to advance the development of tools that effectively use real-world data—disparate data that is often difficult to readily integrate—into new models (e.g., epidemiology or therapeutic development) in support of bio-preparedness and response studies.

Building off the success of DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory and the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, the Office of Science is establishing a Bio-preparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative to help ensure the development of scientific capabilities that aid in the prevention and response to potential biothreats. As an initial step in this activity, DOE’s Office of Science program in Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) is awarding three projects to support collaborative research to advance epidemiology frameworks and computational modeling.

“Decades of investments in basic science research and in experimental facilities, combined with the brilliant minds across the national laboratories, delivered the expertise and capabilities necessary to address many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science. “For the U.S. to be ready for the next biological crisis, we must ensure decision makers have the information they need. Advances in areas related to data assimilation for computational modeling that this call will support will allow us to be better prepared.” 

Projects include laboratory-led proposals to develop methods for calibrating models that work with real-world data which are often incomplete or messy. Investments in the automation of data workflows that are interoperable with DOE leadership computing systems will help researchers make the most of the deluge of data generated during biological events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, ensuring such workflows are interoperable with the exascale software ecosystem will help enable knowledge integration from distributed and diverse datasets.

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Laboratory Announcement for “Advancing Computer Modeling and Epidemiology for Bio-preparedness and Response,” sponsored by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research within the Department’s Office of Science. 

Total funding is $5 million for projects lasting up to two years in duration, with $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars. The list of projects and more information can be found here.

2022-20801  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom