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InTheLoop | 04.24.2006

The weekly electronic newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences employees

April 26, 2006

CRD's Esmond Ng Elected Vice Chair of SIAM's Activity Group on Supercomputing


Esmond Ng, leader of CRD's Scientific Computing Group, was notified last week that he has been elected to a two-year term as vice chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing. SIAM is the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

The SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing provides a forum for computational mathematicians and scientists, computer scientists and computer architects to exchange ideas on mathematical algorithms and computer architecture needed for high-performance computer systems. The activity group promotes the exchange of ideas by focusing on the interplay of analytical methods, numerical analysis, and efficient computation. The activity group organizes a biennial conference on parallel processing for scientific computing.

In addition to helping plan the meeting for 2008, Esmond said he is interested in finding ways to get SIAG/SC members more engaged in other SIAM activities.


Ergonomics: Make It a Priority and Don't Delay in Ordering Equipment


Computing Sciences employees and their supervisors are responsible for making sure that the employees' work areas are safe and appropriate. To help ensure this, staff members who spend four hours per day or more at a computer workstation are required to have their workstation evaluated. A routine evaluation should be performed every three years, and employees who move or get any significant changes in equipment should have a routine evaluation performed. If an ergonomics evaluator recommends new equipment for the employee, supervisors are responsible for making sure that the equipment arrives in a timely manner. Supervisors can get help in ordering ergonomic equipment through the Computing Sciences Facilities office. Contact Parisa Farvid at ext. 4965.

Employees who experience any pain should advise their supervisors and request an evaluation as soon as possible. Supervisors need to follow up with the employee and make sure steps are taken to address the problems. Here are some resources for ergonomic issues at the Lab:

  • Jeffrey Chung, professional ergonomist, (x5818) performs workstation evaluations if employees report pain or discomfort. Jeffrey consults with other trained staff to take any corrective actions that may be recommended from routine evaluations. Jeffrey maintains an inventory of recommended equipment for preventing ergonomic injury at Bldg 75B.

  • Betsy MacGowan, industrial hygienist and Computing Sciences' EH&S liaison, (x2826) performs initial, routine, and post-move evaluations.

  • Wallace Haynes, moving and support specialist, (x4371) addresses CS needs with a focus on workstation moves, reconfigurations, and corrective action implementation.

  • The Computing Sciences Facilities office, headed by John Hutchings, building manager and safety coordinator, (x7505) helps implement workplace fixes which are beyond the effort of employees or supervisors, such as minor installations and modifications. Parisa Farvid (x4965) can help employees get equipment not stocked by Lab stores.

  • Laboratory Medical Services in Bldg. 26 provides first aid treatment for injuries, and referrals to off-site treatment providers for more serious injuries. Staff physicians and nurses work with EH&S staff and affected employees to evaluate the effectiveness of ergonomic mitigations, give first aid and make recommendations to ease discomfort.

Registration Open for June 12-13 NERSC Users' Group Meeting


Registration is open for the next NERSC Users' Group (NUG) meeting June 12-13 at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. All NERSC users are invited to attend either at PPPL or remotely via a live webcast and teleconference. Please register if you plan to attend and indicate your location (at PPPL or remote). Meeting information and registration is available at http://www.nersc.gov/about/NUG/meeting_info/June06/.

The NUG business meeting on Monday, June 12 will include an update from DOE, discussions of NERSC's status and plans, science highlight talks from NERSC users, a lunchtime perspective by NERSC Director Horst Simon and a dinner featuring a talk by PPPL Director Robert Goldston.

NERSC will offer training on the new IBM p575 POWER5 system, Bassi, on Tuesday, June 13. Details of the agenda are still changing, so check the web page listed above for updates.


MSRI Seminar to Discuss Sequence Differences in Human Genome Populations


The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute's Inaugural Simons Biology Colloquium will feature Dr. Arnold Levine speaking on "Interpreting the Sequence Differences in the Human Genomes of Populations" starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, in the Simons Auditorium at MSRI's Chern Hall. The lecture is free, and attendees are invited to a reception afterwards. MSRI is located in the Berkeley Hills, overlooking the Lab and the Hall of Science.

Here's the abstract for his talk:
“In 2001, the complete sequence of three billion nucleotides was determined for the human genome. This is, in effect, a parts manual for building humans. Since that time up to 10 million differences in sequence between people have been identified and these are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. Inherent in this variation between people, and the combinatorics of these variations, are the origins of human evolution and the association of different SNPs with disease processes. This approach opens a path to investigate the impact of our genetic endowment and the environment upon our behavior patterns and even our longevity.”

Dr. Arnold Levine is a joint professor in the Pediatrics and Biochemistry Departments at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His research has focused on the causes of cancer in humans and animals. He discovered the p53 tumor suppressor gene, which acts to protect individuals from developing cancer, and has identified genetic polymorphisms that alter the course of cancers, as well as novel biological processes that protect individuals from developing cancers.

Dr. Levine has helped determine national research priorities as chair of the National Institutes of Health Commission on AIDS Research and the National Academies Cancer Policy Board. He has received nine honorary doctoral degrees and numerous awards. Dr. Levine was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1991 and a member of its Institute of Medicine in 1995. He is the author of over 300 research articles and a book, "Viruses," published by the Scientific American Library Series in 1993.



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.