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InTheLoop | 01.23.2004

The Weekly Electronic Newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Employees

January 23, 2004

DOE Allocates 400,000 Hours of NERSC Computing for Hurricane Simulations

Last Friday, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced that DOE was allocating 400,000 processor-hours of computing time at NERSC to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to run a series of hurricane wave simulations to help improve coastal protections for low-lying areas in Louisiana. The Army Corps is running the simulations at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Additionally, FEMA wants the Corps' New Orleans District to speed up development of new flood insurance studies for the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida so that those communities that were hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita can plan new development. The goal is to complete the calculations by mid-February. To help ensure this deadline is met, NERSC will provide dedicated technical staff expertise to the project.

Read the DOE announcement at http://energy.gov/news/3090.htm.

NERSC Policy Board Convenes Today at LBNL

The NERSC Policy Board, an eight-member panel which meets annually and provides scientific and executive-level advice to the Berkeley Lab Director regarding the overall NERSC program, will convene today at the Lab. The board also provides guidance on such issues as resource utilization to maximize the present and future scientific impact of NERSC and long-range planning for the program, including the research and development necessary for future capabilities.

This year, the board is being asked to evaluate and provide feedback on NERSC's 2006-2010 plan and NERSC's response to DOE's review of that plan. The board is also being asked to comment on NERSC's plan to deploy analytics technology, as well as NERSC's overall role as a high-end computing center for DOE.

Policy Board members attending today's session are Chair Dan Reed, head of the Renaissance Computing Center in North Carolina; David Dean, a scientist at ORNL and chair of the NERSC Users' Group Executive Committee; Robert Goldston, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab; Sid Karin, professor at UC San Diego and former director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center; Tetsuya Sato, director-general of Japan's Earth Simulator Center; and Stephen Squires, vice president and chief science officer at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. Unable to attend are Tony Hey, Microsoft corporate vice president of technical computing; and Pier Oddone, director of Fermilab.

New DOE CIO Tom Pyke to Visit LBNL Tuesday

Tom Pyke, the new chief information officer of DOE, will be visiting the West Coast labs this week, with a full day scheduled at LBNL on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Pyke took over the CIO job in November, joining DOE from the Department of Commerce. With a background in managing high performance computing for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and scientific programming for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Pyke comes to DOE with years of experience with the unique demands of scientific computing. Most recently, he served as CIO of the Department of Commerce, where he was responsible for a $1.5 billion IT budget that covered the diverse IT needs of an agency that oversees everything from weather research to patent applications. Pyke is scheduled to meet with Lab Director Steve Chu on Tuesday, followed by presentations on IT, NERSC, and ESnet, as well as tours at the ALS and NERSC.

HR News: Welcome Back to Diane Heim and Farewell to Susan (Johnson) McAllister

Please join the Computing Sciences HR Team in welcoming Diane Heim back from maternity leave and thanking Susan Johnson (now McAllister) for the excellent job she did filling in while Diane was away. Diane returned this past week and can be found in 50B 4218C (x2802). Susan will not be going far ... she has accepted a career position at the Laboratory as an HR Generalist in the Earth Sciences Division effective January 23, and we wish her well.

Group from Taiwanese Supercomputing Center to Visit Lab

Scientists from the National Center for High Performance Computing and the National Center for Typhoon and Flooding Research in Taiwan will visit the Lab on Friday, Jan. 27, to tour NERSC, meet with CRD staff and learn about underground transport codes from scientists in Earth Sciences. The visit is a result of Yu-Heng Tseng, a computational scientist in CRD's Scientific Computing Group, being named last year as an "Outstanding Overseas Young Scientist" by the Foundation for the Advancement of Outstanding Scholarship in Taiwan. Yu-Heng is a native of Taiwan and did his undergraduate work at National Taiwan University.

As part of the visit, the visitors will present a seminar. In the seminar, Joe Juang will give an “Overview of National Center for High Performance Computing (NCHC) and National Center for Typhoon and Flooding Research (NCTFR).” Professors Wen-Yih Sun and Gour-Tsyh Yeh of the NCTFR will discuss “Purdue Atmospheric Models and Applications.”

Focus on Safety: Watch Your Step, Watch for Hazards

A Laboratory employee working in the Lab's off-site warehouse suffered a broken wrist last week while shrink wrapping a pallet of computers. The employee was walking backwards as he unrolled the plastic wrapping and tripped over the tines of a forklift. This was a serious fall and required surgery. Please pay close attention to slip and trip hazards in your work areas and watch where you are going. (Note: One of the main things CS ALD Horst Simon remembers from his army training is to never, ever walk backwards).

Also, thanks to Dan Peterson of ESnet for pointing out several floor mats in 50A that could have contributed to slips or falls. Dan and Lydia Jimenez of Facilities used safety tape to hold the mats in place, keeping them from shifting or turning up at the edges.

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.