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InTheLoop 09.08.1997

September 8, 1997

DOE On-Site Review

On Friday, September 12, 1997, Dr. Martha Krebs will visit the Lab for the yearly DOE On-Site Review of the scientific programs. In addition to presenting Computing Sciences accomplishments for the year, Bill McCurdy will talk about his vision of the role of computing in Energy Research, and the role of Berkeley Lab in spearheading the transition of computing and computational sciences into the 21st century. Bill told InTheLoop, "Although I have only half an hour, in a day packed with presentations featuring an array of impressive achievements, I hope to convey to Dr. Krebs the tremendous success of the DOE computing programs at Berkeley Lab."

Building Computational Sciences at Berkeley Lab: First Workshop

In an attempt to further progress in the establishment of the strongest computational sciences program in the world at Berkeley Lab, Horst Simon, NERSC Division Director and head of the High Performance Computing Research Department, is hosting a two-day workshop on September 15-16, 1997. The invitees include principal investigators and senior scientists representing computational LDRDs together with computer and computational scientists from NERSC. "The goal is to establish a two-way communication which will enable us to become the preeminent center for the use of supercomputing machines and techniques to solve problems at the forefront of scientific research," says Horst.

The attendees will review the accomplishments of the past year--the results obtained by the LDRD projects and the two DOE Grand Challenge projects--as well as discuss future development by addressing such issues as combining the computer and computational sciences expertise at the Lab and on Campus to maximize results, best use of the strategic advantages the Lab offers (for instance, the ALS and NERSC), and what significant scientific problems should be addressed by the computational program initiated last year by Dr. Shank. "The ideal outcome of this workshop," Horst says, "is the establishment of interdisciplinary project teams which will drive the further development of computational science at the Lab and in Energy Sciences."

Getting to Know You: New NERSC Division Informational Seminars

The NERSC Division is planning monthly seminars in which people from the different groups will get to know each other and will learn about each other's projects. These seminars are scheduled to start in October. The current plan, agreed upon in last week's NERSC group leaders meeting, includes the following presentations:

  • Oct. - Arie Shoshani - Scientific Data Management Research
  • Nov. - Brian Tierney - Data Intensive Computing
  • Dec. - Francesca Verdier and William Harris - User Services and Operations
  • Jan. - Jim Craw - Systems
  • Feb. - Nancy Johnston - Visualization
  • Mar. - Tammy Welcome - Scientific Computing
  • Apr. - Manfred Zorn - Bio Informatics
  • May - Keith Fitzgerald - Storage
  • Jun. - TBD - HENP
  • Jul. - TBD
  • Aug. - Bill Saphir - Future Technologies

The process of getting together will start with the NERSC Division Staff Retreat, which will take place on Monday, September 22, in Sonoma County. This retreat will focus on team building. NERSC Group Leaders will discuss the agenda for the retreat with their groups in the next few days

Who's Who in Computing Sciences: Curtis McDonald

Curtis McDonald, one of the newest additions to Computing Sciences, started work as a career employee in the newly created Computing Infrastructure Support Department on August 1st. Curtis, who is the cc:Mail administrator and a Novell administrator, is a semi-veteran of the Lab, however, since he worked for a year as a contractor in Facilities and a temporary employee in Computing Sciences. "The changes taking place with the advent of the new department are not going to directly impact my group, the Computing Infrastructure Support," Curtis says, "but I am really excited by the opportunities opening up. The establishment of the Help Desk and the delegation of the immediate customer service needs to that group will free us up to test and evaluate new technologies, which is the basic mission of our group."

The new technology Curtis is in the process of testing, cc:Mail version 8, will be coming on line shortly. Accessing email through the Web is the other project he is involved with. To access your cc:Mail account via the web with cc:Web version 6, please see http://www-ccmail.lbl.gov.

Curtis likes working at the Lab. "My colleagues have vast experience which enables me to learn constantly." Moreover, he admires the remarkable research at the Lab and feels proud to be part of it, even if only indirectly. Five years from now Curtis sees himself still working with computers-after all, he is a big computer fan who has made a living from his hobby. He hopes to diversify his skills by learning the intricacies of Windows NT and UNIX. For the more immediate future, he hopes to have some more free time to pursue his other hobbies: biking in the Oakland Hills and playing something loosely called "jazz" on the guitar.

Summer Time, Visitors Time!

While some of us were busy vacationing in different parts of the world, business in Computing Sciences proceeded as usual this summer. Part of the "business" is hosting visitors, whether scientific collaborators, colleagues from other national laboratories and facilities, government officials including foreign ones, the media, or students. The month of August, indicative of the high visibility of our institution, brought quite a large number of guests, including representatives from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, 35 national DOE site managers, Tom Kwik of JPL, 30 Berkeley Lab Summer Science campers aged 9 to 11 (a very inquisitive group that kept our events coordinator Roberta Boucher on her toes), Dr. Louis Komzsik of the MacNeal-Schwendler Corporation, Norris Parker-Smith of HPCWire, Jim Hack of NCAR, 8 Korean SERI officials, and Bev Hartline, Assistant Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering at OSTP.

And the month of September is gearing up to be no less busy. Dr. Martha Krebs' DOE site visit and review is scheduled for September 12th, Richard Mount, head of BaBaR Computing at SLAC is visiting on September 24th, Stuart Lynn, Vice President of Information Technology at the UC Office of the President is coming on September 29th, and 21 students from Logan High in Utah are touring on September 17th. For Roberta's sake, we hope that the high-schoolers will be as entertaining and inquisitive as, but less demanding than, their younger colleagues.

Open House Volunteers

The Organizing Committee for the 1997 Berkeley Lab Open House is still looking for volunteers. The event takes place on Saturday, October 18, 1997. If you are interested in volunteering for special events, or as a "general interest" volunteer for any amount of time, please contact Jon Bashor at x5849 or JBashor@lbl.gov for Computing Sciences events, or Roberta Boucher at x7580 or RLBoucher@lbl.gov for Lab-wide events.

New Employees

Three new employees joined us during the month of August: Frank Wood, Visualization Group, is providing scientific visualization expertise to Berkeley Lab's DC Office; Julia West, NTD Telephone Services, has been appointed Assistant Technical Coordinator; and Gary Novak has accepted a position in TEID's Archives and Records Group. We extend a wholehearted welcome to all!

Questions, Comments About InTheLoop?

Send your questions, comments, suggestions or news items to JBashor@lbl.gov or call editor Jon Bashor at 486-5849. Please note: no complaints about this week's guest editor!