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InTheLoop | 01.22.2007

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

January 22, 2007

Cray Delivers First Third of Production System to NERSC

Last week, NERSC received the first installment of its new Cray XT4 supercomputer. Although a test system had been delivered last fall, the delivery of 36 cabinets on Tuesday marks the start of the installation of the full system, which is expected to go into production this summer.

Named “Franklin” after Benjamin Franklin, America’s first scientist, the Cray XT4 will consist of more than 19,000 processor cores when fully installed. It will deliver sustained performance of at least 16 trillion calculations per second, with a theoretical peak speed of more than 100 teraflop/s.

“Franklin, the world’s largest XT4 system, represents 10 times more computing power than any other NERSC system,” said Bill Kramer, NERSC’s general manager. “We are extremely pleased to be able to make such a significant addition to the resources our computational scientists use.”

Assembled and shipped from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the cabinets feature a distinctive blue and gold color scheme reflecting their new home in Berkeley.

Visualization Groups Adds Two “New” Employees

The Visualization Group in CRD has added two new staff members, and while their assignments may be new, both staffers have previously worked at the Lab.

Janet Jacobsen is returning to the Berkeley Lab after working in the Atmospheric Sciences Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and, more recently, at the Engineering Systems Research Center (ESRC) and the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) at UC Berkeley. Previously at Berkeley Lab, Janet was a staff scientist in the Earth Sciences Division, where she analyzed field data, developed finite element mesh generators for fracture data and numerical simulators for reactive chemical transport, and developed visualizations involving many types of field data. Janet received both an M.A. in mathematics and a B.A. in applied mathematics and statistics from UC Berkeley.

Janet’s primary role on the NERSC Analytics Team will be to work with users to create data visualizations, but she also will be involved in helping users to simplify the process of getting their simulation output or experimental data into data visualization software at NERSC and in working with other Analytics Team members to develop workflow and analysis tools.

Gunther Weber has recently joined CRD’s Visualization Group, which also supports NERSC users. Gunther comes to the Lab from UC Davis, where he was an assistant project scientist at the Institute for Data Analysis and Visualization. At IDAV, Gunther’s research focused around visualization and computer graphics. Gunther worked on visualization of three-dimensional gene expression data (with researchers in the Lab’s Genomics and Life Sciences divisions), topology-based exploration of scalar data, and visualization of brain imaging data and experimental earthquake data.

Gunther has worked at NERSC before, as a student employee and then a guest student assistant in NERSC’s Visualization Group between 2000 and 2003. He has also been a guest in the Lab’s Life Sciences Division since 2003. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in computer science from the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany.

His research interests include scientific visualization, computer graphics, data analysis, bioinformatics, topological data analysis methods, hierarchical data representation methods, gene expression data analysis, and visualization and image synthesis.

CUG 2007 Meeting Extends Deadline for Talks, Panels Submissions

The program chair for the 2007 Cray Users Group meeting, to be held May 7-10 in Seattle, is still seeking abstracts for talks. The new deadline is Wednesday, June 24.

“The response has been good, but we have room for many more talks or panels,” said John Noe, CUG 2007 program chair. “Please consider sharing your knowledge and current experience with your colleagues. Take a few minutes and review what you’ve done on your Cray system since last year, and perhaps a unique experience or interesting result or trouble investigation will come to mind that would benefit the entire Cray user population.”

Details for abstract submission can be found at http://www.cug.org/1-conferences/CUG2007/pages/2-CallForPapers/index.php. More information about the meeting can be found at http://www.cug.org/1-conferences/CUG2007/index.php.

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.