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InTheLoop | 10.21.2002

The Weekly Electronic Newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computubg Sciences Employees

October 21, 2002

LBNL, Argonne Release Plan for Creating Science-Driven Computer Architecture

A team representing Berkeley Lab, Argonne National Lab and IBM recently
wrote a proposal to create a new computer architecture especially
designed to meet the computing needs of scientific researchers. The
proposal, called "Blue Planet" and outlining a system that would have
twice the capability of Japan's Earth Simulator at half the cost, has
been submitted to DOE for consideration and a copy has been posted on
the Web.

The proposal addresses the current situation faced by the U.S. research
community in buying supercomputers. In recent years scientific computing
in America has been handicapped by its dependence on hardware that is
designed and optimized for commercial applications. The performance of
the recently completed Earth Simulator in Japan, which is five times
faster than the fastest American supercomputer, dramatically exposed the
seriousness of this problem. Typical scientific applications are now
able to extract only 5 to 10 percent of the power of American
supercomputers built from commercial web and data servers. By contrast,
the design of the Earth Simulator makes 30 to 50 percent of its power
accessible to the majority of types of scientific calculations.

A summary with a link to the full proposal can be read at

GNU Founder to Discuss "Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks"

Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and a MacArthur Fellow,
will give a presentation on "Copyright vs Community in the Age of
Computer Networks" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at UC Berkeley.
Stallman's talk will be held in the Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda
Hall, on Hearst Avenue across from the main campus.

Here's the abstract for his talk:
"Copyright developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed
to fit with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing
press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer
networks, and only draconian punishments can enforce it. The global
corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian
punishments, and to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing
public access to technology. But if we seriously hope to serve the only
legitimate purpose of copyright--to promote progress, for the benefit of
the public--then we must make changes in the other direction."

Stallman is the founder of the GNU Project, launched in 1984 to develop
the free operating system GNU (an acronym for "GNU's Not Unix"), and
thereby give computer users the freedom that most of them have lost. GNU
is free software: everyone is free to copy it and redistribute it, as
well as to make changes either large or small. Today, Linux-based
variants of the GNU system, based on the kernel Linux developed by Linus
Torvalds, are in widespread use. There are estimated to be some 20
million users of GNU/Linux systems today.

Stallman is the principal author of the GNU Compiler Collection, a
portable optimizing compiler which was designed to support diverse
architectures and multiple languages. The compiler now supports over 30
different architectures and 7 programming languages. Stallman also wrote
the GNU symbolic debugger (GDB), GNU Emacs, and various other GNU
programs. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1975.
Stallman received the Grace Hopper Award for 1991 from the Association
for Computing Machinery, for his development of the first Emacs editor.
In 1990 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, and in 1996 an
honorary doctorate from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. In
2002 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.


Beware of the Latest Internet Hoax

The latest Internet hoax is a message containing an apology for
"infecting you with the Bugbear virus." The recipient of this message
is advised to delete jdbgmgr.exe to eradicate the virus. jdbgmgr.exe is
not an infected file, but is instead a built-in executable file that is
used by Windows systems. If you delete this file, you may damage your
system, so don't do it. Just delete the message and be sure to avoid
forwarding it to others.

Last Chance to Sign Up for Windows Desktop Security Course

Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP systems users---this is your last chance to
sign up for the free short course on desktop security that will be
offered in Bldg. 50B-4205 from 9-11 a.m. Thursday, October 24. This
course will teach you specifically what you need to do to protect your
desktop system from worms, viruses, hackers and other threats. If you
have a laptop computer, bring it with you. The enrollment deadline is
COB, Tuesday, October 22. To enroll, go to http://hris.lbl.gov.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 6,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation. NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.