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InTheLoop | 02.19.2008

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

February 19, 2008

Berkeley Water Center Featured in Microsoft Science News Article

The Microsoft Science website currently features an article, “Scientists Collaborate Worldwide to Gather Critical Data on Climate Change,” that highlights the work of the Berkeley Water Center (BWC). The full article can be read at Scientists Collaborate Worldwide to Gather Critical Data on Climate Change.

The BWC’s Microsoft eScience Project — a collaboration of Microsoft, Berkeley Lab, and UC Berkeley — has developed the server architecture for the Fluxnet Scientific Data Server, which is a network of networks providing a worldwide carbon-climate field dataset. This dataset is now being used by over 200 researchers to synthesize results across the field sites as well as integrate them with climate models. CRD contributors to the BWC project include Deb Agarwal, Monte Goode, Keith Jackson, and Robin Weber (UCB).

David Patterson Will Give the Keynote at BEARS 2008 Symposium

The UC Berkeley EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences) Annual Research Symposium (BEARS 2008) will take place on Thursday, February 21, in Sibley Auditorium. In the morning, two panels will discuss the topics “How will new technologies disrupt traditional industries?” and “What technological innovations will create new industries?” At noon, CRD’s David Patterson will give the keynote address, “What is the future of parallelism?” The afternoon will be devoted to Research Centers Open House, including “Computational Science and Engineering/LBNL,” co-hosted by Computing Sciences’ ALD Horst Simon, in 380 Soda Hall.

For more information on BEARS 2008 and to register, go to Bears 2013

New Data Structures for Multi-Core Architectures Will Be Discussed Friday

Fred G. Gustavson, who manages the Algorithms and Architectures group in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, will present a Scientific Computing Seminar from 1 to 2 pm on Friday, February 22, in the Building 50A, 5132 Conference Room. The topic will be “The Relevance of New Data Structure Approaches for Dense Linear Algebra in the New Multi-Core/Many-Core Environments.”

Here is the abstract:
“For over ten years now, Bo Kagstrom’s Group in Umea, Sweden, Jerzy Wasniewski’s team at Danish Technical University in Lyngby, Denmark, John Gunnels and I at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights have been applying recursion and New Data Structures (NDS) to increase the performance of Dense Linear Algebra (DLA) factorization algorithms. For about four years now almost all computer manufacturers have dramatically changed their computer architectures which they call Multi-Core, (MC). It turns out that these new designs give poor performance for the traditional designs of DLA libraries such as LAPACK and ScaLAPACK. Recent results of Jack Dongarra’s group at the Innovative Computing Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee have shown how to obtain high performance for DLA factorization algorithms on the Cell architecture, an example of an MC processor, but only when they used NDS. In this talk we will give some reasons why this is so.”

New Reports Submission System Starts Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow (February 20), Berkeley Lab authors and collaborators who produce or contribute to scientific or technical reports can use a new streamlined Reports Submission System to facilitate contractually required submissions of reports to the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information and to the California Digital Library. The old system will be available to complete reports with previously assigned numbers until March 30. To learn more about the benefits of the new system, go to Berkeley Lab Commons

CITRIS Presents “How (Much) to Trust Wikipedia” on Wednesday

Luca de Alfaro, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, will talk on “How (Much) to Trust Wikipedia” from noon to 1 pm Wednesday, February 20, at 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building on the UC Berkeley campus, as part of the CITRIS Research Exchange. These talks are free, open to the public, and broadcast live online.

Here is the abstract:
“The Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia: anyone can contribute to its articles simply by clicking on an ‘edit’ button. The open nature of the Wikipedia has been key to its success, but has a flip side: if anyone can edit, how can readers know whether to trust its content?

“To help answer this question, we have developed a reputation system for Wikipedia authors, and a trust system for Wikipedia text. Authors gain reputation when their contributions are long-lived, and they lose reputation when their contributions are undone in short order. Each word in the Wikipedia is assigned a value of trust that depends on the reputation of its author, as well as on the reputation of the authors that subsequently revised the text where the word appears. To validate our algorithms, we show that reputation and trust have good predictive value: higher-reputation authors are more likely to give lasting contributions, and higher-trust text is less likely to be edited.

“The trust can be visualized via an intuitive coloring of the text background. The coloring provides an effective way of spotting attempts to tamper with Wikipedia information. A trust-colored version of the entire English Wikipedia.

Link of the Week: The Mathematics Genealogy Project

The Mathematics Genealogy Project has the ambitious goal of compiling information about all the mathematicians of the world and how they are related through their thesis advisors. It’s like a game of “six degrees of separation” that goes all the way back to the seventeenth century.

For example, Horst Simon is a fourth-generation descendant of Andrei Markov (Markov > Tamarkin > Forsythe > Parlett > Simon) and a fifth-generation descendant of David Hilbert (Hilbert > Courant > Feller > Forsythe > Parlett > Simon). David Bailey and Phil Colella are also descendants of Hilbert but by different lineages: Hilbert > Weyl > Lane > Kaplansky > Ornstein > Bailey; and Hilbert > Courant > Friedrichs > Lax > Chorin > Colella.

Interestingly, Sir Isaac Newton has only three descendants listed, while Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz has 48,141 descendants, which suggests that the database is far from complete. The project welcomes information that will fill in the gaps.

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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.