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InTheLoop | 07.31.2006

The weekly electronic newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences employees

July 31, 2006

Eric Hjort Joins NERSC from Nuclear Sciences


Eric Hjort has joined NERSC as the PDSF consultant in User Services after 16 years in the Lab's Nuclear Sciences Division. Before coming to NERSC, Eric worked in relativistic nuclear services doing computing for the STAR experiment.

“Joining PDSF is a natural progression for me,” he explained. “Plus, there are more opportunities to work in computing working at a computing facility rather than working in a scientific division.”

Eric's move from a NERSC user to NERSC consultant has allowed him to combine his earlier interests in grid computing and high performance computing. His job is to interface between users of the PDSF cluster and system administrators.

“I'm no longer on a single experiment,” he said. “I like the fact that I'm now working with 20 experiments or groups — it's a good opportunity for me to broaden my horizons.”

He explained that the STAR experiment is very data intensive with about 400 terabytes of files at NERSC, but now he has the opportunity to work on computationally intensive projects as well.

In his off-time, Eric enjoys spending time with his family and listening to his record collection. He plays the piano and guitar, and is also a major sports fan.


EH&S Reminder: Getting Ergonomic Help Now Can Prevent Problems Later


While the Lab's overall safety record is improving, one area of concern is the number of injuries attributed to poor workstation ergonomics. Injuries from repeated keyboard work account for about 28 percent of all reported injuries at the Lab. Preventative measures range from taking frequent stretching breaks to getting a professional ergonomic workplace evaluation. Under the Lab's “stop work” policy, an employee who believes his or her work environment is a safety or health hazard can and should stop work and notify the appropriate managers to remedy the situation. Supervisors are responsible for helping employees get the assistance they need, ensuring that the recommended changes are implemented and necessary equipment purchased.

But the key is to take action at the outset. When that first twinge of pain appears, it can often by treated by first aid measures and an ergonomic evaluation. Waiting until the pain is unbearable can lead to surgery, disability or similar drastic measures. As CS Safety Coordinator John Hutchings says, it's far more preferable to have employees go to Health Services to address the problem in the early stages than have Health Services have to intervene once the employee is in severe pain.

In addition to your supervisor, other resources are:

  • CS Safety Coordinator John Hutchings ( JEHutchings@lbl.gov )
  • EH&S Liaison Betsy MacGowan ( EEMacGowan@lbl.gov )
  • Ergonomic equipment display center: Bldg. 75B, room 1108. Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DOE Seeks Proposals for Expanded Large-Scale Scientific Computing


DOE's Office of Science is seeking new proposals to support innovative, large-scale computational science projects under the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. Successful proposals will be given the use of substantial computer time and data storage on supercomputers at NERSC and Oak Ridge , Argonne and Pacific Northwest national labs.

“Since launching INCITE in 2003, both the number of proposals and the amount of computing time requested indicate that high-performance computing resources, such as those at our national labs, are in high demand,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said. “This unique program opens up the world of high-performance computing to a broader research community. So far, INCITE has enabled scientists to make significant progress in such key research areas as combustion, astrophysics, protein structure, chemistry and engineering.”

Each year, INCITE seeks computationally intensive, large-scale research projects. The program encourages proposals from universities, other research institutions and industry. The Office of Science expects to make a small number of large awards. In 2005, 15 projects were awarded a total of 18 million processor-hours from the 43 proposals submitted, which requested a total of 95 million process-hours of computing time.

In 2007, the INCITE program will provide an opportunity for researchers to request time on the new Leadership Class Cray supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as the other HPC centers. INCITE proposals will be peer reviewed both in the area of proposed research and also for general scientific merit, comparing them with proposals in other disciplines. Current Department of Energy sponsorship is not required for this program. The deadline for proposals is September 15, 2006. DOE plans to announce the awards in December. The Call for Proposals, including DOE policies for proprietary work, is available at http://hpc.science.doe.gov/.



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.