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InTheLoop | 01.16.2007

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

January 16, 2007

Process of Building ESnet4 Is Well Under Way


Last month, ESnet Department Head Bill Johnston provided a progress report on building ESnet4, a partnership with Internet2. The current ESnet4 rollout plan is located at www.es.net/ESnet4. Here is an edited version of Johnston's update to the ESnet community:

This optical network consists of a dedicated fiber pair provided by Level3 Communications on a substantially expanded national footprint. The fiber is provisioned with advanced optical multiplexing equipment provided by Infinera. The fiber and optical equipment that form the optical network infrastructure are all maintained by Level3 as part of their production network. This will ensure that the quality of the infrastructure underlying ESnet4 will be equal to what it has been in the past.

ESnet will use a collection of 10 Gb/s waves/circuits on this optical infrastructure that are dedicated to ESnet in the same way that ESnet currently uses waves on the Qwest network. ESnet will build and operate its own network hubs that consist of the ESnet core routers (for the IP network), switches (for the new Science Data Network), and supporting equipment.

Compared with today's network, ESnet4 is substantially larger (17 hubs vs. nine in the current network) and has substantially higher bandwidth (starting with about 21,000 miles of 10 Gb/s circuits in 2007 and going to more than 70,000 miles of 10 Gb/s circuits in 2011, compared with today's less than 7,000 miles of 10 Gb/s circuits).

The first optical nodes have been installed by Level3, and the optical infrastructure is operational between Washington, New York, and Chicago. The remainder of the optical nodes will be installed working from east to west over the next four months.

ESnet has ordered new IP routers and SDN switches for the expansion hubs and to facilitate the transition from ESnet3 to ESnet4. The transition will be done in such a way that the redundancy provided by the ESnet backbone ring architecture remains intact throughout the transition.

The complete ESnet4 IP core and the initial deployment of the SDN network from Atlanta, across the north and west to Seattle and Sunnyvale, is scheduled to be complete by September 2007. A new metro area network (MAN) ring will be built in Atlanta to provide improved connectivity, and the West Chicago MAN will be completed and connected in this time frame. A new hub in Nashville will be built for a new ESnet connection for ORNL.

The transition from ESnet3 to ESnet4 is will be carried out so that there will not be any service interruptions. This is an exercise that the ESnet engineering staff has successfully accomplished several times before in the history of ESnet.


DOE INCITE Program Awards Large Allocations at NERSC


Under the INCITE computing awards announced last week by DOE, seven of the projects received significant allocations totaling nearly nine million processor-hours on NERSC systems. The projects range from studying the behavior of a supernova to designing quieter vehicles.

The INCITE program (Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment), which launched in 2003, selects projects that not only require large-scale and intensive use of computers but also promise to deliver a significant advance in science or engineering. For 2007, the program awarded 95 million processor hours for 45 projects overall, a five-fold increase in computing time awarded from 2006.

NERSC is one of the four supercomputer centers providing resources for these INCITE projects. Here are short descriptions of the seven projects awarded computing time at NERSC:

  • A project led by Paul Bemis of Fluent Inc., in partnership with General Motors, will use its computational fluid dynamics software to perform intensive calculations for designing different parts of a car to reduce wind noise.
  • Gilbert Compo from the University of Colorado, along with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration, will use a new technique to create a more representative dataset for validating certain climate models. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is using the climate models to make 21st-century projections in its Fourth Assessment Report, due out later this year.
  • Hong Im of the University of Michigan will lead the work on developing three-dimensional simulations of turbulent nonpremixed flames in the presence of a mean flow strain and fine water droplets.
  • Warren Mori from UCLA will lead research on using computer simulations to answer questions about plasma-based particle accelerators that currently cannot be answered through experiments. The project will contribute to the development of better acceleration methods.
  • Chuang Ren at the University of Rochester, along with Mori from UCLA, will create large-scale particle-in-cell simulations to test fast ignition, one of the most promising new schemes to improve the viability of inertial confinement fusion as a practical energy source.
  • Lawrence Pratt at Fisk University plans to unravel the mysteries of several lithium compounds that are among the best reagents for forming carbon-carbon bonds in organic synthesis, which can lead to the development of powerful medicines. The project will look at the structures and reactions of these compounds.
  • Don Lamb, a researcher at the University of Chicago's ASC/Alliance Flash Center, will create three-dimensional simulations of a stellar explosion known as a Type Ia supernova.

FYI: Acronym Finder Can Help Sort Out Acronyms


An article in the Jan. 13-14 edition of the Wall Street Journal profiled a Colorado couple who set up and maintain Acronym Finder (AF), a Web site devoted to providing the largest dictionary of acronyms. The site owners receive about 200 new submissions each day, and the site now includes about 525,000 edited entries. With its companion site, Acronym Attic, readers can search a base of 3 million acronyms. View the site at http://www.acronymfinder.com/.



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.