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US DOE presents priorities

DOI: 10.1186/gb-spotlight-20031112-01

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Although most of the priorities are for projects in the physical sciences, among the top priorities are a few related to life sciences: a 'Protein Production and Tags' facility that would mass produce thousands of proteins per year and create tags to identify them; and a 'Characterization and Imaging of Molecular Machines' facility that would focus on isolating, characterizing, and creating images of molecular machines that perform cellular functions. It was the DOE that coordinated the 13-year Human Genome Project with the National Institutes of Health.The first on the DOE 20-year wish list is ITER (which means 'the way' in Latin), an international collaboration to build the first fusion science experiment capable of producing a self-sustaining fusion reaction. The second is an 'UltraScale Scientific Computing Capability,' a multisite facility that would increase the computing capacity available to scientific research by a factor of 100. Abraham noted that the recently constructed Japanese supercomputer, called 'Earth Simulator,' has the computing power of the 20 fastest US computers.Other near-term priorities include a probe to study dark matter in conjunction with NASA, a powerful electron laser to enable better study of matter and chemical reactions, a rare isotope accelerator to explore new rare isotopes, and an upgrade to the Energy Sciences Network for university and industry scientists accessing DOE resources.Midterm priorities include a facility for the analysis of modeling and cellular systems and one for whole proteome analysis, as well as an underground 'double beta decay detector' to measure neutrino mass. Far-term priorities include a next-generation national synchrotron and a fusion energy test power plant. Abraham said that the blueprint will likely be reevaluated repeatedly in the future.The four recommended life science-related facilities are central elements of the DOE Genomes to Life program, according to Keith Hodgson, director of the Stanford S

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