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InTheLoop | 03.12.2007

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

March 12, 2007

NERSC Policy Board to Convene at LBNL on Tuesday, March 13

The NERSC Policy Board, which meets annually to learn about NERSC-related activities and provide feedback to Lab Director Steve Chu, will convene for a one-day session on Tuesday, March 13. The agenda includes presentations by Horst Simon, Bill Kramer, John Shalf, Phil Colella and Kathy Yelick.

The charge to the policy board this year is to evaluate the progress that NERSC has made in 2006 and offer recommendations that will help NERSC to continue to be a highly effective scientific resource in the future. The board is also being asked for ideas on what role could NERSC play in the national and international effort to harness the power of increased parallelism in high performance computers, and what actions should we take to be successful in that role.

Policy board members attending this year’s meeting are Chair Dan Reed, head of the Renaissance Computing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; David Dean of Oak Ridge National Lab; Sid Karin, former director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and currently professor at UC San Diego; Pier Oddone, director of Fermilab and former LBNL deputy director; Tetsuya Sato, director-general of Japan’s Earth Simulator Center; Stephen L. Squires, consultant to industry, academia, and government in diverse areas of information technologies, information system security, and high performance computing and networking; and Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for Computing and Life Sciences at Argonne National Laboratory. Unable to attend are Rober Goldston, director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; and Tony Hey, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Technical Computing.

CCSE Combustion Research Awarded 1.5 Million Hours on NASA Supercomputer

A combustion simulation project led by Marc Day of the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering was one of four projects selected by NASA for a large allocation on the Columbia supercomputer at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The project, “Flame Dynamics and Emission Chemistry in High-Pressure Industrial Burners,” will receive 1.5 million hours to simulate natural gas combustion in power-generation turbines to quantify the mechanisms that control the formation of pollutants. The resulting knowledge could reduce the pollution produced by power generation.

In all, NASA awarded 4.75 million hours of supercomputing time to four projects after peer review of the proposals. NASA awarded the time under its National Leadership Computing System (NLCS) initiative, chartered to provide resources to computationally intensive research projects of national interest.

CRD’s Lenny Oliker Featured in HPCwire Q&A on Application Performance

HPCwire featured a Q&A with Lenny Oliker, staff scientist in CRD's Future Technologies Group, in its weekly edition published last Friday. Oliker is the lead author on a paper comparing how well key scientific applications run on six supercomputers at national labs and at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The paper won a Best Paper award in the applications track of the IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium. Its authors will be honored at the symposium on March 28 in Long Beach, California. Co-authors are Andrew Canning, Jonathan Carter, Costin Iancu, Michael Lijewski, Shoaib Kamil, John Shalf, Hongzhang Shan and Erich Strohmaier from Berkeley Lab, Stephane Ethier from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Tom Goodale from Louisiana State University. Check out the Q&A at http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/1309580.html.

Lab to Host Scientific Computing Workshop on Wednesday, March 28

In order to take advantage of coinciding visits by a number of guests, the Scientific Computing Group has organized a one-day Workshop on Scientific Computing on Wednesday, March 28. The current list of confirmed speakers at the workshop includes:

* Zhaojun Bai, University of California, Davis
* Raymond Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong
* Iain Duff, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK
* Xiaoye Li, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
* Wesley Petersen, ETH, Switzerland
* Jennifer Scott, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK
* Ray Tuminaro, Sandia National Laboratories
* Panayot Vassilevski, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

A few other speakers have yet to be confirmed. Talk titles and abstracts, together with the location of the workshop and the program, will be posted as soon as they are available. For more information, contact Sandi Fischer (SKFischer@lbl.gov), Parry Husbands (PJRHusbands@lbl.gov), or Esmond G. Ng (EGNg@lbl.gov).

CRD Staff Play Key Roles in Upcoming International Workshops

CRD staff are among the organizers and speakers at two international workshops later this year.

The first is a Workshop and Advanced School on Eigenvalue Problems, Software and Applications (EPSA2007), to be held at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, on June 27-29, 2007. This event will be a combination of presentations on theory, applications, available software and algorithms, and hands-on sessions. The invited speakers are Jim Demmel (UC Berkeley and CRD’s Future Technologies Group), Peter Arbenz (ETH Zürich), Filomena Dias d’Almeida (University of Porto), Rui Ralha (University of Minho), and Tony Drummond (CRD’s Scientific Computing Group). Osni Marques of the Scientific Computing Group is one of the organizers of the workshop.

EPSA2007 will target an audience of researchers from a variety of fields, including graduate students and computational scientists whose research require the use of robust numerical algorithms, novel techniques, large amounts of eigenvalue calculations, or combinations of these. For more information, see http://www.fep.up.pt/epsa2007; a tentative program is available at http://www.fep.up.pt/epsa2007/program.htm.

The second workshop is the International Workshop on Multicore and Hybrid Systems for Numerically Intensive Computations (MHSN2007), to be held in conjunction with the Fifth International Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Processing and Applications (ISPA-2007) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada from August 28 to September 1, 2007. CRD’s Tony Drummond and Kathy Yelick are on the MHSN2007 program committee.

Submissions of high-quality papers describing mature results or ongoing work in multicore programming are invited for this workshop. Topics for submission include but are not limited to:

* algorithm stability on hybrid numerical hardware
* parallel programming models
* compiler technology
* runtime systems and libraries
* performance characterization.

The submission deadline is April 10; selected authors will be notified by May 10; and final copy is due June 10. The full call for participation can be read at http://www.cs.utk.edu/~luszczek/plasma/mhsn2007.html.

MSRI Hosting April 11-13 Climate Change Symposium for Mathematicians

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley is hosting a climate change symposium, “From Global Models to Local Action,” on April 11-13. The symposium begins with a public symposium to be held the evening of Wednesday, April 11, in San Francisco. The two-day technical symposium on April 12-13 will be held at MSRI, located in the Berkeley Hills above LBNL.

The symposium will feature experts on the subject from Europe and China as well as the US; it will be an ideal opportunity to learn, as a mathematician, about the current challenges in the field. The plan is to engage the mathematical sciences community in addressing the issues involved in translating global, long-term predictions of climate change into local forecasts relevant for public and private-sector policy.

The symposium will address several major challenges in climate projection, including:
* the formulation of climate models
* the process of downscaling from global to local scales
* the derivation of climate statistics and secular trends
* the interpretation of climate as a dynamical system
* the construction of risk analyses for climate impacts
* the extraction of climate information for decision making.

More information about the symposium, including a link to the registration page, can be found at http://www.msri.org/specials/climatechange/.

National Geographic Features NERSC Users’ Supernova Research

“Ever since he was a teenager, Stan Woosley has had a love for chemical elements and a fondness for blowing things up,” begins an article titled “Bang: The Cataclysmic Death of Stars” in the March issues of National Geographic. “Woosley, now an astronomer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has graduated to bigger explosions—much bigger,” the article continues, going on to discuss the latest discoveries and theories about supernovas and gamma ray bursts.

Woosley and Adam Burrows, both NERSC users, are two of the researchers whose work is highlighted in the article, which is illustrated with a gamma ray burst image based on calculations done at NERSC. An online version of the article is available at http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0703/feature3/. For further information on Woosley’s research, go to http://www.lbl.gov/CS/Archive/news072103.html.

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.