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InTheLoop | 11.22.2003

The Weekly Electronic Newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Employees

November 22, 2003

Measure to Create Supercomputer Facilities Heads to President for Signature

(Editor's note: The following article was written by Amol Sharma of the Congressional Quarterly)

The House cleared legislation Wednesday (Nov. 17) intended to shore up U.S. leadership in supercomputing by directing the Energy Department to build high-end computer facilities for academic and government researchers.

The United States recently overtook Japan in the ongoing race for the fastest computer in the world, but lawmakers say the federal government needs to invest more to stay competitive.

The bill (HR 4516) passed by voice vote and is expected to be signed by President Bush.
It would authorize $165 million over three years for DOE to build supercomputer labs to handle the most advanced science and engineering research. Such research is expected to focus on such disparate tasks as weather predictions, battlefield simulations and aircraft prototypes.

Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., said the bill would "put in the hands of researchers the tools they need to attack the most challenging problems in science and engineering."

But some academics say lawmakers need to authorize more money than the bill now offers. A Nov. 8 report issued by a panel of experts at the National Academy of Sciences said the federal government should invest at least $140 million a year in supercomputing research and facilities — substantially more than the bill would authorize (see item below). Some researchers are also concerned the United States is not investing enough in new software programming schemes to keep pace with the increasing speeds of the latest machines.

CRD's Chris Ding Gives Two Talks at Carnegie Mellon University

Chris Ding, a member of the Scientific Computing Group, spent two days at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh last week, giving two presentations there.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, Chris gave an invited talk at the second Biological Language Conference. Chris gave the first talk, "Multi-protein Complex Data Clustering for Detecting Protein Interactions and Functional Organizations," in the opening session of the conference.

On Friday, Nov. 19, Chris gave a seminar on "Spectral Clustering" at CMU's Language Technologies Institute.

DOE-Funded Assessment of Supercomputing in the U.S. Now Available

Almost two years ago, a six-person committee representing the National Research Council spent a day at LBNL as part of a larger effort to assess the status of supercomputing in the U.S. The research effort, funded by DOE, examined the characteristics of relevant systems and architecture research in government, industry, and academia and the characteristics of the relevant market. The committee also looked at key elements of context — the history of supercomputing, the erosion of research investment, the needs of government agencies for supercomputing capabilities — and assessed options for progress. The committee also sought to understand the role of national security in the supercomputer market and the long-term federal interest in supercomputing.

Earlier this month, the committee made public a prepublication version of the report. According to a news release about the report, "U.S. needs for supercomputing to strengthen defense and national security cannot be satisfied with current policies and levels of spending, says a report released earlier this month by the National Academies' National Research Council. The federal government should provide stable, long-term funding and support multiple supercomputing hardware and software vendors in order to give scientists and policy-makers better tools to solve problems in areas such as intelligence, nuclear stockpile stewardship, and climate change, said the committee that wrote the report."

A pdf version of the 24-page executive summary can be found at http://www.nap.edu/execsumm_pdf/11148.pdf. The table of contents for the 222-page book is on line at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309095026/html/.

Committee members who visited the Lab were Bert Semtner of the Naval Postgraduate School; Chair Sue Graham, Jim Demmel and Jeff Perloff, all of UC Berkeley; and Bill Dally of Stanford. The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. The council was formed in 1916 to help link the broader science and technology community with the National Academies.

Job Openings: ESnet Seeks Network Engineer, CEDR Needs Environmental Health Scientist

ESnet has an immediate opening in its Network Engineering Services Group (NESG) for a Network Engineer/Software Developer. The successful candidate will assume responsibility for a system in the Network Measurement area which stores and displays Netflow data obtained from ESnet routers. In addition, the successful candidate will participate in other NESG projects and operations.

Duties: Assume responsibility for the system that receives and displays ESnet flow data. As required, enhance the system to meet new requirements and interface with other network data collection and display tools. Travel will be required to present project status and data to various committees and organizations. Work with ESnet site personnel, the staff of other network service providers and vendors to support other areas of NESG responsibilities (design and implementation of ESnet's routing and switching architecture, network services (such as MPLS and IP multicast), network security, network monitoring, network measurements, line/site upgrades and the configuration of ESnet routers and switches). On a rotating basis, serve as principal point of contact for the network and resolve escalated trouble calls.

Key skills desired: Perl, PHP, CGI, relational database, MySql, WAN, IP Networking, Juniper routers, Cisco routers.

Read more at http://www.lbl.gov/CS/Careers/OpenPositions/IT17618.html.

The Comprehensive Epidemiologic Data Resource (CEDR) project is seeking an environmental health scientist who will produce and review epidemiologically informed materials for the Collection Development effort within the CEDR project at LBNL. Additionally, this person will provide epidemiologically-informed service to CEDR users, DOE and the public as appropriate.

Duties: Epidemiologic Collection Development: Apply environmental health science/epidemiologic/occupational health knowledge and methodology to receive and evaluate, according to CEDR guidelines, data files, code sets, and descriptive documentation submitted to CEDR. Assist in preparing materials for installation into the CEDR information system. This component includes proactive collection of data and documentation from data providers, maintaining an acceptable production schedule, inspection of received data and documentation, definition and application of pre-loading routines, and preparation of files to facilitate installation of data and documentation into the CEDR information system. Public Service: Respond to inquiries from CEDR users, DOE, and the public.

Key skills desired: epidemiology, health physics, occupational health, environmental health science.

Read more at http://www.lbl.gov/CS/Careers/OpenPositions/IT17615.html.

Enrollment in Dec. 9 Linux Security Hands-on Course Still Open

Enrollment in the Linux security hands-on course to be taught from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, in Bldg. 90-0026 is still open, but space is limited on a first come, first served basis. Read the course description is at http://www.lbl.gov/ITSD/Security/services/course-catalog.html#user5. To enroll, go to https://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 7,000-plus 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 Department of Energy 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.