The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed by the University of California, in Livermore, California. The Laboratory describes its purpose: "to promote innovation in the design of our nation's nuclear stockpile through creative science and engineering." The laboratories field of research has expanded to include general energy issues, as well as biomedicine and environmental science.

The institute was founded in September 1952 as part of the University of California Radiation Laboratory, in order to design nuclear weapons; the laboratory was first proposed (unofficially in 1949, officially on April 4, 1951) by Edward Teller, of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory, and further promoted by Ernest Lawrence, of the Manhattan Project. The laboratory project was begun under the administration of Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Gordon Dean.

32-year old Herbert York was appointed the first director of the lab. York set out to develop the Lab's program and created four main elements: Project Sherwood (the Magnetic Fusion Program), diagnostic weapon experiments (both for Los Alamos and Livermore), the design of thermonuclear weapons, and a basic physics program. The first two facilities were a building to house the latest electronic computer, a Univac, and a technology building with a large central bay for lifting heavy equipment.

The focus of the Lab in the early days was on national needs and technical opportunities. Experts in chemistry, physics, and engineering had a common understanding of the Laboratory's mission, and developed new technologies on their own. But along with this went the team effort to understand a problem and to work it out together.

The early laboratory possessed a UNIVAC I. Over the years other computers were installed, including: two IBM 701s, four IBM 704s, four IBM 709s, four IBM 7090s, the Univac LARC, five IBM 7094s, an IBM 7030 (Stretch), a CDC 1604, two CDC 3600s, four CDC 6600s, five CDC 7600s, two CDC STAR 100s, and four CRAY 1s.

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