The long-term vision of nuclear theory is to arrive at a comprehensive and unified description of nuclei and their reactions, grounded in the interactions between the constituent nucleons. Theorists seek to replace current phenomenological models of nuclear structure and reactions with a well-founded microscopic theory that delivers maximum predictive power with well-quantified uncertainties.
High performance computing provides answers to questions that neither experiment nor analytic theory can address; hence, it becomes a third leg supporting the field of nuclear physics. Today’s petascale computers, capable of a quadrillion operations per second, have helped us move closer to solving the nuclear puzzle. They will soon be replaced by exascale computers, which will be capable of a million trillion calculations per second! All of this vast computing power will provide an unprecedented opportunity for nuclear theory. In this talk, advances in theoretical studies of nuclei will be reviewed in the context of the main scientific questions.