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InTheLoop | 03.15.2004

The Weekly Electronic Newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Employees

March 15, 2004

The End of an Era: ITSD Pulls the Plug on Last IBM Mainframe Application

At midnight on February 29, ITSD marked the end of the Lab's mainframe era when members of the Information Systems and Services Department pulled the plug on an outsourced IBM mainframe computer system in southern California. Operated for ISS since 1998 by various third-party providers, including Litton Computer Services and Acxiom, Inc., the outsourced IBM mainframe hosted several of the Laboratory's legacy administrative applications while ISS staff members completed the strategic transition from mainframe to UNIX-based processing. The long-awaited opportunity to hit the "off" switch was made possible by the completion of the conversion of the legacy "BTR" Travel system, a 1970's-technology, COBOL-based batch processing application, to the new Web-based Gelco Travel Manager system.

As a result, the Laboratory will enjoy a significant cost savings from the elimination of service fees. Then there's the benefit of no longer having to support obsolete and difficult-to-support technologies such as COBOL, dBase III, and FoxPro, and an extensive collection of increasingly antiquated hardware and software components that were required for remote communications, terminal emulation and printing. With the stewardship of these legacy mainframe applications behind them, ISS can now devote its full resources to present and future strategic objectives.


Two Candidates for CRD Postdoc Position to Give Presentations This Week

Two candidates for the computational science postdoc position in CRD's High Performance Computing Research Department will give talks this week and all interested staff are invited to attend.

Alison Marsden of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University will give a talk on "Suppression of Airfoil Trailing-Edge Noise via Derivative-Free Shape Optimization" at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 16, in the Bldg. 50F/1647 conference room.

Michael Wetter, currently a member of the Simulation Research Group in the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, will give a talk on "Decreasing the Computation Time for Generalized Pattern Search Optimization Algorithms by Using Adaptive Precision Cost Function Evaluations" starting at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, March 18, in the Bldg. 70/191 conference room.


Brief Shutdown of Lab's External Network Link Set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 17

LBLnet has scheduled a brief external network connectivity outage starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, to do maintenance work on a router. The work will cause an outage of external network connectivity expected to last about 15 minutes and will interrupt access to the following services from inside and outside the Lab:
* World Wide Web
* IMAP Email
* SMTP Email (outgoing and incoming)
* Directory Services/On-line Phonebook/Automatic Email Addressing (LDAP)
* Calendar
* Novell
* ISS Services

However, internal Lab email and access to Lab Web sites and related services from within LBNL will not be affected. Email will be queued during this outage, and will be delivered once network connectivity is restored.

If you have questions or comments about this outage, please contact the
Help Desk at X4357, help@lbl.gov, or http://help.lbl.gov/.


SC2004 Conference Issues Call for Papers, Tutorials

The SC2004 conference on high-performance computing, networking and storage has issued a call for papers reporting experimental or theoretical results, novel designs, case studies, industry applications and trend-setting ideas across the breadth of these fields. Submissions from new areas of impact and multidisciplinary papers that support the conference theme, Bridging Communities, are encouraged. To be held Nov. 6-12 in Pittsburgh, SC2004 is the premier forum for sharing the latest, most innovative and important research, advances, and applications in high performance computing, networking and storage.

"The annual SC conference presents a great opportunity for LBNL to showcase its expertise and achievements to our peers and our sponsors, and I would like to encourage our staff to submit their work for consideration," said Associate Lab Director for Computing Sciences Horst Simon.

Monday, April 19, is the deadline for submitting technical papers, tutorials, panels and SC Global. For more information about the SC2004 Technical Program, go to http://www.sc-conference.org/sc2004/tech_over.html.


Windows XP Security Hands-on Course to Be Offered Again on April 7

The popular Windows XP Security Hands-on course will once again be taught on Wednesday, April 7, from 9 a./m.-2:30 p.m. in Bldg. 90, Room 0026. A description of the course is at http://www.lbl.gov/ITSD/Security/services/course-catalog.html#user5. There is no charge for attending. Enrollment is available on a first come, first served basis. To sign up visit https://hris.lbl.gov/.


WinZip Users -- It's Time to Upgrade

WinZip users -- WinZip versions before 9.0 have a security flaw that could allow an attacker to send invalid data in a MIME-encoded file that result in the creation and execution of a file that contains malicious code. This problem is fixed in WinZip 9.0, available for free at http://www.lbl.gov/download/. The Computer Protection Program recommends that you make this upgrade as soon as possible.



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.