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InTheLoop | 10.29.2007

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

October 29, 2007

Kathy Yelick Named New NERSC Division Director

Kathy Yelick, head of CRD’s Future Technologies Group, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and an internationally recognized expert in developing methods to advance the use of supercomputers, has been named director of the NERSC Division. Yelick, who has been head of the Future Technologies Group at Berkeley Lab since 2005, will officially assume her new job in January 2008.

“After working on projects aimed at making HPC systems easier to use, I’m looking forward to helping NERSC’s scientific users make the most effective use of our resources,” Yelick said. “NERSC has a strong track record in providing critical computing support for a number of scientific breakthroughs, and building on those successes makes this an exciting opportunity.”

“We are truly delighted to have Kathy serve as the next director of NERSC, and only the fifth director since the center was established in 1974,” said Berkeley Lab Director Steven Chu. “Her experience and expertise in advancing the state of high performance computing make her the perfect choice to maintain NERSC’s leadership position among the world’s supercomputing centers.”

Yelick has received a number of teaching and research awards and is the author or co-author of two books and more than 75 refereed technical papers on topics covering parallel applications, libraries, languages, compilers and architecture. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science from MIT and has been a professor at UC Berkeley since 1991 with a joint research appointment at Berkeley Lab since 1996. Read her longer biography at http://www.nersc.gov/news/newsroom/yelick-bio.php.

Staff Invited to Give Input on Planned Program for Grad Students in CSE

Computing Sciences and UC Berkeley are currently working on a project to develop a Designated Emphasis (DE) in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE). Its primary goal is to better train graduate students in the multidisciplinary skills they need to incorporate computation and simulation into their research, but it is also expected to catalyze new research activities and make it easier to attract new graduate students, faculty and funding sources. Staff interested in the project are invited to review the draft proposal at http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~demmel/CSE_DE_Proposal_25Oct07.pdf and send comments to Horst Simon, Jim Demmel and Masoud Nikravesh, who has been named executive director for CSE. In particular, they are looking for suggestions of additional courses that may be suitable for students in the DE to take. The proposed DE could be approved within the coming weeks, and students would be able to start participating in fall 2008.

Laboratory Property Will Be Inventoried Soon

Laboratory Property Management will be conducting a statistical sample inventory from January 21 through March 31, 2008. In preparation for this inventory, the Computing Sciences Facilities office will be sending all staff who are property custodians an email with instructions for and a link to the Lab’s “Property Verification by Signature” report. Please print the report, review and validate or update the location data for your assets, and return it to Parisa Farvid at 50A-1148 or Suzanne Stevenson at 943-246 for NERSC staff at OSF.

All laptop computers and all assets over $1M will have to be scanned with a bar code reader during the inventory. CS Facilities would appreciate staff assistance in identifying any potential problem assets or items that may be difficult to scan before November 30, 2007. Call Parisa at x4965 or Suzanne at x6190 to report any problems.

Sandra Wittenbrock Joins the CRD/HPCRD System Engineering Team

Please join us in welcoming Sandra Wittenbrock to the CRD/High Performance Computing Research Department System Engineering Team. Sandra has been working at Berkeley Lab since 2002. She will provide computer systems support for the division, working with our users and staff/scientists to provide a stable computer and infrastructure environment. She will also work on long-term projects to promote better infrastructure support.

Seminar to Discuss “Image Segmentation, Optimization for Medical Imaging”

CRD’s Scientific Computing Seminars will present Dorit S. Hochbaum speaking on “Image Segmentation with Optimization Techniques Used for Medical Imaging” on Friday, November 2, at 1:00 pm in the 50F-1647 conference room. Dr. Hochbaum is a Professor in both the Haas School of Business and the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Here is the abstract:
“Image segmentation is to determine a partition to the main areas of the image and identify them as associated with different types of objects. This is of particular importance in medical imaging, where blur conceals information of critical importance. The problem is modeled as minimization of deviation penalty, from the captured colors of the pixels, and separation penalty, which is associated with two adjacent images having different colors.

“We describe a very efficient and best possible polynomial time algorithm for the problem. This algorithm is more efficient than most procedures based on spectral techniques, partitioning approaches or heuristic clustering. We then demonstrate how to apply the procedure for the purpose of de-blurring medical images.

“Time permitting, it will be discussed how similar models are effective for data mining and pattern recognition applications.”

CS Staff Invited to Sign up for Computer Research Association News Updates

As a member of the Computer Research Association (CRA), the Computing Sciences Directorate receives regular news updates. CRA is now seeking to broaden communication with faculty and researchers. Typical items sent to the list include workshop details and deadlines, announcements of new reports, and other items of interest to the computing community.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to majordomo@cra.org with the following line in the body of the e-mail:
subscribe announcements youraddress@your.com.
For example,
subscribe announcements johndoe@cra.org.

If you have any questions, please contact Jay Vegso at jvegso@cra.org. More information about CRA can be found at www.cra.org.

CITRIS Speaker Series to Feature IBM’s Irving Wladawsky-Berger on Oct. 30

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology, will be the next speaker in the CITRIS Distinguished Speaker Series on the UC Berkeley campus. Starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, Wladawsky-Berger will discuss “Innovation in the Knowledge Economy.” The talk will be given in the Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center. The talk is free, open to the public and will be broadcast live online at mms://media.citris.berkeley.edu/webcast. A wine and cheese reception will follow. Details can be found at http://www.citris-uc.org/Berger2007.

Here the abstract for the talk:
“Advances in information technology coupled with powerful market forces are transforming just about all aspects of business and society. We can increasingly leverage the Internet and related open standards to look at a whole organization — an enterprise, an industry ecosystem or an economy — as a holistic, integrated system, linking together processes, information and people. This talk will explore some of the huge challenges that we face in order to realize the potential benefits of such business and societal transformations, including the ability to effectively design and use highly complex, human oriented, market-facing systems and applications. We will also discuss the role of universities in conducting the necessary research and training the necessary talent needed in the emerging knowledge economy.”

Speaker Bio:
As Chairman Emeritus, IBM Academy of Technology, Wladawsky-Berger continues to participate in a number of IBM’s technical strategy and innovation initiatives. He is also Visiting Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT, where he is involved in multi-disciplinary research and teaching activities focused on how information technologies are helping transform business organizations and the institutions of society. He was formerly co-chair of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, as well as a founding member of the Computer Sciences and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council.

At IBM he was responsible for identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments critical to the future of the IT industry, and organizing appropriate activities in and outside IBM in order to capitalize on them. He was also responsible for IBM’s university relations office and for the IBM Academy of Technology, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Governors. In 1996, he led the effort to formulate IBM’s Internet strategy and to develop and bring to market leading-edge Internet technologies that could be integrated into IBM’s mainstream business.

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.