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InTheLoop | 03.06.2006

The weekly electronic newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences employees

March 6, 2006

CCSE Gets 1.8 Million Hours on NASA Supercomputer for Combustion Research

Members of CRD's Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering learned last week that their proposal to study "Interaction of Turbulence and Chemistry in Lean Premixed Combustion" was one of four projects selected to receive time on the 2,048-processor supercomputer “Columbia” at NASA Ames Research Center. Marc Day is leader of the project. CCSE, whose laboratory-scale combustion simulations made the cover of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last July, was awarded 1.8 million CPU-hours — by far of the largest of the four awards.

In all, 18 competitive proposals were submitted to NASA's 2006 National Leadership Computing System (NLCS) call. The system was chartered to provide resources to computationally intensive research projects in the national interest.

According to NASA, the CCSE project “will study the dynamics of ultra-lean, turbulent, pre-mixed burners incorporating detailed chemistry and transport for a variety of fuels. The resulting knowledge could accelerate development of new gaseous burners, which have the potential to reduce emissions in transportation systems, heat and power generation.”

“Our congratulations once again to you and your team on being selected for this award,” wrote Bryan A. Biegel, acting deputy division chief of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division. “We look forward to working with you during the coming year, and to hearing about your research accomplishments on this project.”

Obituary: Dennis Hall — Open-Source Software and Cyber-Security Pioneer

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 1, for longtime Lab employee Dennis Hall, a software engineer before “software” was a word and winner of the USENIX lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions to the open-source software movement. Dennis died at his Berkeley home last Tuesday from a brain tumor at age 68. A memorial to celebrate Dennis' life, work and love of music will be held at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club from 1-3 p.m. on April 1.

Dennis joined the Laboratory in 1959 to write computer programs for bubble chamber experiments. He had just earned his degree in mathematics at UC Berkeley and was hired as a “research associate” because the job classification for computer programmer had not yet been invented. Dennis would soon break new ground in “kinematic fitting,” his calculations and software allowed physicists to determine what particles are given off in a particle collision.

In his 46-year career at the Berkeley Lab, Dennis was responsible for popularizing the UNIX operating system and pioneering the open-source software movement in the late 1970s. He founded the Software Tools Users Group that brought UNIX to thousands of users worldwide. In 1980, Dennis coined the term "Virtual Operating System" to describe the novel approach used to port the UNIX operating system to hundreds of different hardware platforms. As an Internet pioneer, Dennis put up one of the first FTP sites on the ARPANET. He also ported the network protocol TCP/IP to the Cray operating system, which put Cray computers, the most powerful supercomputers at the time, on the Internet.

During this time Dennis also played a role in catching one of the first cyber criminals, as chronicled in the 1989 classic book on computer espionage, The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll. Stoll wrote that “Dennis is a tranquil, introspective Zen master… [who] saw the hacker problem in terms of social morality. ‘I'm worried about how hackers poison the trust that's built our networks. The real work isn't laying wires, it's agreeing to link isolated communities together. It's figuring out who's going to pay for the maintenance and improvements. It's forging alliances between groups that don't trust each other.'"

Dennis Hall was awarded the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He and his two Software Tools colleagues were recognized for their pioneering work and outstanding contributions to the open-source software community. When interviewed about his USENIX award, Dennis said that “The Software Tools movement was fun. It definitely felt like a revolution. It put the machine to work for you."

In his most recent work, Dennis developed mathematical models for measuring network security risk at Hobnob, Inc. Dennis Hall also designed and developed highly touted database systems that ensured worker safety and regulatory compliance at the Berkeley Lab, as well as databases for estimating cyber-security costs.

His love of music balanced his technical expertise. He was an accomplished and passionate musician who played the banjo, guitar, harpsichord, and piano.

Dennis is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jane Hall of Berkeley; sisters Suzanne Hall of Warsaw, IN and Margaret Minor of St. Helena, CA; four children, Andrew Hall of Prattville, AL, Rachel Hall of Berkeley, CA, Aron Hall of Pittsburgh, PA, and Perry Hall of Berkeley; and two grandchildren.

Take a Minute for Safety: New EH&S Offers Quick Tips

The Lab's EH&S Division has created a new Web site featuring short safety tips. Called “1 Minute 4 Safety,” the slides are designed to help managers and supervisors integrate safety into staff meetings. InTheLoop will occasionally highlight topics pertinent to Computing Sciences.

Employees are encouraged to report work-related injuries to their supervisor immediately. Employees who are hurt should also go to Health Services for treatment to prevent:
* Increased pain from the injury getting worse
* Longer treatment
* Hospitalization due to wound infection or increased severity of injury.

More information on the “1 Minute 4 Safety” is at http://www.lbl.gov/ehs/safety_minute/index.shtml.

Job Posting: Application Developer (Web Tech/Oracle) for Molecular Foundry

The IT Division has a new job posting for an application developer to support the Molecular Foundry, a user facility for the design, synthesis and characterization of nanoscale materials. The application developer will lead a project to design, develop, test and implement an interactive Web-based database application to meet the needs of the Molecular Foundry users. Duties include evaluating and interpreting end user information requirements and develop and implement appropriate technical solutions. The application developer will take the lead to consult with customers to define information requirements, recommend and implement solutions to satisfy customer needs; analyze and document project software specifications; and prepare cost and production time estimates and schedules. More information can be found at http://www.lbl.gov/CS/Careers/OpenPositions/IT18830.html.

MSRI to Host “Women in Mathematics” Workshop May 18-20

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) are jointly sponsoring a workshop on Women in Mathematics: the Legacy of Ladyzhenskaya and Oleinik, May 18-20 at MSRI in Berkeley. Registration for the workshop is open through April 1.

As with previous AWM/MSRI workshops, this is a celebration of careers of women in mathematics, on this occasion those of Olga Ladyzhenskaya and Olga Oleinik. The seminal work of Ladyzhenskaya and Oleinik in PDE and physical applications has generated many fascinating developments in the U.S., Russia and throughout the world. Some of these developments will be discussed in lectures at the workshop. Experts in PDE, numerical analysis and mathematical fluid dynamics will lecture about their work which is in the spirit of the achievements of Ladyzhenskaya and Oleinik.

The primary goals of the workshop are to assist, encourage, and inspire the junior participants, and to promote the achievements of women in mathematics. Talks and discussions by established mathematicians with careers in government, business, industry and academia will focus on contemporary issues of concern.

Details about the workshop are at http://www.msri.org/calendar/workshops/WorkshopInfo/328/show_workshop.

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.