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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2006

Energy -- A warmer future . . .

Atmospheric CO2 levels are projected to increase in the future and result in the Earth's warming. A numerical economic model, driven with a climate model calculated on Oak Ridge National Laboratory's IBM Cheetah Supercomputer, has simulated and predicted energy usage and costs in the United States for the time period 2000-2025. David Erickson of ORNL's Computer Science and Mathematics Division reports gradually increasing temperatures will create a greater demand for air-conditioning provided by electrical energy, which will heighten the demand for coal to be burned at fossil fuel power plants. The numerical economics model includes data on building codes and census figures from every county in the United States, along with expected population changes during the time period. This research was conducted by a group of scientists from ORNL's Computing and Computational Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Energy and Engineering Sciences directorates. The study is funded through ORNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and DOE's Office of Science. (Contact: Fred Strohl, 865-574-4165; strohlhf@ornl.gov)

Biology -- New genetics tool . . .

Geneticists studying molecular pathways of health and disease have a novel new computational method to identify networks of the interacting genes that underlie complex traits. Brynn Voy of ORNL's Life Sciences Division led a team that has developed a method to convert massive amounts of gene expression data into graphs and extract sets of perfectly interconnected genes called cliques. The method devised by Voy and Mike Langston, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee, overcomes limitations common to clustering algorithms used by genetics researchers to identify gene sets that control interactions between an organism and its environment. For their study, published in PLoS Com
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
3-Aug-2006


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