Nuclear data for astrophysics: resources, challenges, strategies, and software solutionsMichael S. Smith1, 2, Eric J. Lingerfelt1, 2, Caroline D. Nesaraja1, 2, W. Raphael Hix1, 2, Luke F. Roberts1, 2, Hiroyuki Koura3, George M. Fuller4 and David Tytler4
1 Physics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6354, USA
2 Dept of Physics & Astronomy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3 Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Naka-gun, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan
4 Dept of Physics, Univ. California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Published online: 21 May 2008
One of the most exciting utilizations of nuclear data is to help unlock the mysteries of the Cosmos - the creation of the chemical elements, the evolution and explosion of stars, and the origin and fate of the Universe. There are now many nuclear data sets, tools, and other resources online to help address these important questions. However, numerous serious challenges make it important to develop strategies now to ensure a sustainable future for this work. A number of strategies are advocated, including: enlisting additional manpower to evaluate the newest data; devising ways to streamline evaluation activities; and improving communication and coordination between existing efforts. Software projects are central to some of these strategies. Examples include: creating a virtual "pipeline" leading from the nuclear laboratory to astrophysics simulations; improving data visualization and management to get the most science out of the existing datasets; and creating a nuclear astrophysics data virtual (online) community. Recent examples will be detailed, including the development of two first-generation software pipelines, the Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics for stellar astrophysics and the bigbangonline suite of codes for cosmology, and the coupling of nuclear data to sensitivity studies with astrophysical simulation codes to guide future research.
© CEA 2008