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InTheLoop | 07.17.2006

The weekly electronic newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences employees

July 17, 2006

John Christman's Whiskey Steak Wins at Local Cook-off

LBLnet network engineer John Christman took home a blue ribbon from the Alameda County Fair on Saturday, July 8, in the “Beef is King Cook-Off” sponsored by the Woman's Beef Council of Alameda County.

Every year, the 93-year-old Alameda County Fair holds food contests in hundreds of categories. Some, like the "Beef Is King Cook-off," are conducted in public, with panels of chefs, caterers, and local luminaries entertaining the crowds with their comments.

John's winning Whiskey Peppercorn Steak entry, made with 2-inch-thick filet mignons, out-tasted 19 other entries to win first place. “It was my chef outfit, embroidered with my name, that did the trick,” John asserted modestly. However, those of us who have had the privilege of tasting John's cooking know better.

Contestants had to bring their own ingredients and cooking utensils, and did not know how much cooking time each would be allotted. In fact, starting and presentation times had to be drawn from a hat that same morning, with a five-minute window to present entries to the panel of judges. This year's panel was comprised of a restaurateur, a beef council member, and last year's cook-off winner. “I almost didn't make it,” says John. “I had two minutes to go, and my sauce wouldn't clarify. I kept stirring and praying, then stirring some more … man, it was close.”

As this year's winner, John will go on to judge next year's beef cook-off at the fair. His prizes include a cookbook comprising all past winning recipes, a gift card from Nob Hill Foods, and an apron embroidered with the title “1st Place Beef Is King Cook-off.”
Plus one big blue ribbon.

John's winning recipe can be found at the bottom of InTheLoop.

NERSC Supports Carbon Data Assimilation Workshop

NERSC is providing computing support for the “Data Assimilation for the Carbon Cycle” workshop which starts today, July 17, and continues to Friday, July 28 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). The conference is co-sponsored by the MSRI and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Here is a summary of the workshop:

“A diverse set of meteorological observations (from e.g. satellites, balloons, ground stations) has been assimilated into numerical weather prediction models to improve weather forecasts. Observations of atmospheric CO2 abundances from orbiting satellites present a new challenge to data assimilation, as atmospheric CO2 varies not only with the atmospheric circulation, but also with the changing CO2 fluxes at the surface. Indeed the goal of the upcoming Orbiting Carbon Observatory is to use satellite CO2 observations to deduce the surface sources and sinks. This 2-week workshop is designed for graduate students in mathematics and the atmospheric sciences. The program includes lectures by experts in data assimilation, the global carbon cycle, as well as inverse problems. Also student teams are expected to work on a carbon data assimilation project, using computing resources at MSRI and NERSC.”

Inez Fung, a professor at Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center at UC Berkeley and a prominent user of NERSC, is one of the key organizers and lecturers of this conference. Go to http://www.msri.org/calendar/sgw/WorkshopInfo/374/show_sgw for details.

Got Excess? Now Is the Time to Dispose of Unneeded Lab Property

If you have Lab property which you no longer need, the Lab's Property Management unit is asking that the items be identified by Monday, July 31, so that the property can be processed and taken out of active inventory before the end of the fiscal year. Not only does it make good business sense to dispose of unnecessary equipment, there is a performance measurement in the Lab management contract requiring the Laboratory to promptly and properly process unneeded assets. During July, the Lab's transportation group will collect the items and deliver them to Salvage at no cost. Transportation will also be adding extra pickups to ensure excessed materials do not block corridors or loading docks.

When you determine that an asset should be declared excess, contact CS Division Property Representative John Hutchings, or coordinators Parisa Farvid or Bill Iles.

CSC07 SIAM Workshop Now Calls for Papers

The SIAM Workshop on Combinatorial Scientific Computing (CSC07) to be held February 17 to 19, 2007, in Costa Mesa, CA, is now calling for papers. For details, go to http://www.siam.org/meetings/cse07/csc07.php.

PPoPP'07 Calls for Proposals

The ACM SIGPLAN 2007 Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming (PPoPP'07) to be held March 14-17, 2007 in San Jose, CA, is now calling for proposals. For details, go to http://ftg.lbl.gov/ppopp07/ppopp07.html.

Job Posting: High Performance Computing Software Engineer

NERSC's Science-Driven Services has a open position for a High Performance Computing Software Engineer. The posting is available on the Laboratory's jobs page at http://jobs.lbl.gov/ under the requisition number (#019277). Go to http://jobs.lbl.gov/LBNLCareers/details.asp?jid=19277&p=1 for details.

Job summary:
Key responsibilities for this position include engineering and management of NERSC's database-driven web interfaces; securely maintaining and general support of all software components from database to web interface; extend existing and develop new PHP code; program AJAX or XSLT interfaces for information parsing and display; define XML data formats and information conduits for a wide range of data related to the status and utilization of resources within the NERSC center; implement scalable data aggregation methodologies across multiple platforms. These activities are a key component of NERSC's ability to provide high quality systems and services. The group also provides consulting services for NERSC users in its areas of expertise.

For recruiting purposes, contact Bernadette Cu-Todd (BCu-Todd@lbl.gov, x5327).

Winning Recipe: Whiskey Peppercorn Steak

By John Christman



3 tsp. fresh cracked black peppercorns
1 T. green peppercorns
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup favorite whiskey
Two 1- to 1-1/2 inch beef steaks of your choice


1. Marinate steak with olive oil and press in kosher salt and cracked black pepper and allow it to sit for one or more hours.
2. Heat a heavy skillet to a high temperature. Sear steak quickly (about 20 seconds) on each side to seal in the juices. Then place on the grill and grill to desired doneness.
3. While steak is grilling, deglaze pan and add a little butter, add cracked black pepper, green peppercorns, heavy cream and whiskey. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. At this time the steak should be done. Your sauce will be clear at this point.
4. Place steak on serving dish and pour pepper sauce over steak, or serve the sauce in a small ramekin on the side.
5. This recipe yields about 1/4 cup of sauce or enough for two 8 ounce steaks.

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.