LANL hosts annual LDRD day

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Science: Event showcases discovery and innovation at Los Alamos National Lab

Los Alamos National Laboratory conducted its fourth annual Laboratory Directed Research and Development day at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino Tuesday.
Part of the activities involved attendees voting on best posters that are designed to explain LDRD work being done at the lab. By popular vote this year, the Best Poster Award went to Jennifer Hollingsworth and her team for “The Path to Nanoparticle Cancer Drugs.”
“In contrast with small-particle chemotherapy drugs, nanoparticle-based therapies promise fewer side effects and improved performance. Traditional therapies attack both cancerous and healthy cells indiscriminately, which can lead to drug resistance and often force physicians to back off doses. Nanoparticles promise direct delivery of therapeutic agents to the cancer tumor. However, accurate targeting demands alternate, multifunctional nanoparticles. We aim to develop and test novel “inverted” nanoshell particles to provide the required combination of functionalities: imaging, so they can be tracked to the tumor, and selective therapy,” the LDRD program stated.
Steven Brumby’s project, “Human-Like Computer Vision Using Deep, Sparse Models,” received the Poster of Exceptional Excellence award.
“At any given moment our visual environment contains hundreds of objects from thousands of possible object categories … We present results from our project exploring human vision algorithms based on recent breakthroughs in mathematical sequence processing theory and in data-intensive supercomputing technologies. The idea is that video sequences of natural scenes are highly structured, and can be described in terms of a few objects (i.e. a dog and a child running in a park). Sparse representations provide a precise mathematical framework for representing such scenes, and deep generative statistical models provide a natural and robust framework for learning and reasoning about these models,” the LDRD program stated.
LANL funds some of its research through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program, a source of internal funding awarded to scientists and engineers to address national problems in the areas of energy security, nuclear security and scientific discovery and innovation. LDRD Day is an opportunity to get a glimpse into the future of science and engineering at the laboratory and to learn how LDRD innovations benefit the nation.
The LDRD Program invests some six percent of the laboratory’s annual budget to fund potentially high-payoff research related to the laboratory’s central mission. LDRD allows LANL to invest in research that could help realize long-term scientific goals beneficial to the nation.
“At LDRD Day, we showcase the ideas being pursued by some of the leading scientists and engineers of the Laboratory,” said Bill Priedhorsky, director of LANL’s LDRD Program. “What you will see is a small sample, but enough to gain a feel of the breadth and quality of LANL science and insight and understanding of what Los Alamos delivers to the nation.”
Invited speakers included Steven Beckwith, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of California and Terry Wallace, Principal Associate Director for Global Security at LANL.