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InTheLoop | 06.23.2008

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

June 23, 2008

Blue Ribbon Panel Produces Report on DOE’s Applied Math Program

An independent panel composed of prominent figures from the applied and computational math community has studied possible new directions for the DOE applied mathematics program. Their report, “Applied Mathematics at the U.S. Department of Energy: Past, Present, and a View to the Future,” has been released and is available for comment and discussion in the community. The report outlines several areas of research for advancing mathematics for modeling, simulation, and analysis of complex systems.

The report is based on the work of a committee chaired by David Brown of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Panel members included John Bell, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Donald Estep, Colorado State University; William Gropp, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Bruce Hendrickson, Sandia National Laboratories; Sallie Keller-McNulty, Rice University; David Keyes, Columbia University; J. Tinsley Oden, The University of Texas at Austin; Linda Petzold, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Margaret Wright, New York University.

The report can be downloaded from http://brownreport.siam.org/. Comments can also be posted to that website.


Michael Wehner Co-Authors Report on Extreme Weather in North America

CRD climate modeling researcher Michael Wehner is one of the lead authors of a scientific assessment that provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America. The report was released last Thursday by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.

Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. You can read a story about the report at "Michael Wehner Co-Authors Report on Extreme Weather in North America", or download a FAQ brochure or the complete report from http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap3-3/final-report/default.htm.

The assessment has received wide coverage in the news media, including:


Second All-Hands Safety Meeting This Week

A mandatory safety meeting has been scheduled to provide a refresher on safety issues relevant to Computing Sciences and to discuss Berkeley Lab’s new Job Hazards Analysis (JHA). All NERSC and CRD staff who did not attend the first meeting last Wednesday at OSF should plan to attend on Thursday, June 26, from 2:30–3:30 p.m. in the 50B Auditorium.


Throw Out Obsolete and Unused Equipment

The Computational Research Division has 542 items on the inventory list that were purchased more than five years ago. As part of the Laboratory-wide initiative to dispose of, excess, and recycle assets that are no longer being utilized for the mission, Horst Simon has initiated a review of the status of all CRD equipment with the goal of eliminating all duplicative or underutilized items. Every CRD staff member who has responsibility for items at least five years old will be notified by email and must evaluate the continued usefulness of those items. The employee must then write a short justification for the retention of each item or dispose of them. Instructions for disposal/removal of obsolete equipment will be included in the email with the equipment lists. The goal is not to excess equipment that is in use and supporting science, but to ensure that equipment that is here, still has reason to be.

Although the formal initiative concentrates on DOE tagged assets because of the costly processes associated with accounting and inventorying them, Computing Sciences Facilities office will also assist you in excessing any untagged items such as old CRT monitors, printers, etc. that you would like to see disappear. They have equipment movement tags in the office at 50A-0143A and will provide you with custodian copies to document the transfer of your equipment to excess.

We would like to have equipment that needs to be excessed ready and collected by Monday, June 30, or Monday, July 7, at the latest. For questions or assistance, please contact Parisa Farvid (x4965), Wallace Haynes (4371), or John Hutchings (x7505). NERSC staff at OSF with obsolete equipment should contact Bill Iles (x5785).


Retirement Party for Jed Donnelley This Thursday

After 35 years as a University of California employee, Jed Donnelley is retiring on Thursday, June 26, and his friends and colleagues are honoring him with a retirement party at noon at Luka’s Taproom, 2221 Broadway, at the corner of Broadway and West Grand in Oakland. There is a customer parking lot behind Luka’s, or take BART to the 19th Street station, exit onto Broadway, and walk north four blocks (past the Paramount Theatre) towards West Grand. RSVP ASAP to Suzanne Stevenson, x6190 or smstevenson@lbl.gov.

Before coming to NERSC in 1997 to support the NERSC website and server systems, Jed worked as a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore Lab for over 25 years, where he did operating system and network protocol development, networking and computer security research, and served in a variety of research, software/system development, support, and management positions.

Using email while traveling is something we take for granted today, but in 1973 — a decade before the Internet made its debut — Jed managed to maintain email contact through ARPANET while traveling to Washington and Florida — and it wasn’t easy. He tells the story of how he did it at Jed's 30-year Service Award, where you can also see a photo of Jed walking on his hands down the Bldg. 50 Auditorium stairway to receive his 30-year service award in 2002.


Retirement Party for Bill Johnston Will Be on August 6

Plans are under way for a retirement party for Bill Johnston, Department Head of ESnet at Berkeley Lab. The celebration will take place from 3–5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 6, at Kensington Circus Pub, 389 Colusa Avenue, Kensington, CA 94707 (about three miles from the lab). (Note: Kensington Circus Pub is opening its doors early for this private event.) Please try to come for the entire duration to enjoy all the festivities planned to honor Bill. A map and driving directions from Berkeley Lab to Kensington Circus Pub can be found at Mapquest.

The cost per head is $20, which covers the cost of pub fare appetizers and a gift for Bill. Drinks can be purchased separately at the bar (please remember to tip the bartenders, who are coming in early for this event). Payment can be made either in cash or by check, payable to Joe Burrescia. All payments and RSVPs should be sent to Kathy Day no later than Friday, July 25 (email address: kathy@es.net; mailing address: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road, Mailstop 50A-3111, Berkeley, CA 94720).

“From Virtual Frog to Grids,” an HPCwire interview in which Bill reflects on his 35-year career at DOE labs, can be read at "ESnet's Bill Johnston, Nearing Retirement, Reflects on His Career".


Applications Open for ACM/IEEE-CS HPC Ph.D. Fellowship Program

The ACM/IEEE Computer Society High Performance Computing Ph.D. Fellowship Program is now accepting nominations for its second annual competition at SC14 Submission Site. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 8, 2008.

This fellowship program honors exceptional Ph.D. students throughout the world with the focus areas of HPC, networking, storage, and analysis. The program also supports the sponsors’ longstanding commitment to workforce diversity and encourages nominations of women, minorities, and all who contribute to diversity.

ACM/IEEE-CS HPC Ph.D. Fellowships are awarded with a certificate and a stipend of at least $5,000 (US) for one academic year. All Fellows are invited to attend at least one SC conference (usually the one after one year of receiving the award). The SC Steering Committee and other conference volunteers are willing to facilitate, where possible, internships for Fellows at HPC research or development sites.

Students must be nominated by a full-time faculty member at a Ph.D. granting institution. Nominees must be enrolled in a full-time Ph.D. program and they should have completed at least one year of study in their doctoral program at the time of their nomination. Fellowship recipients will be selected based on:

  • Their overall potential for research excellence.
  • The degree to which their technical interests align with those of the HPC community.
  • Their academic progress to date, as evidenced by publications and endorsements from their faculty advisor and department head as well as a plan of study to enhance HPC related skills.
  • The demonstration of their current and/or anticipated use of HPC resources.

For more information about the program, see the web page at  or contact the committee at hpc-fellowship-questions@acm.org.


Registration Is Open for 2008 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Fran Allen, IBM Fellow Emerita and 2007 Turing Award Winner, and Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CTO of One Laptop per Child, will be keynote speakers for the 8th Annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, which will be held October 1–4, 2008 at the Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado. Registration for the event is now open and the program is available.

The world’s largest gathering of women in computing in industry, academia, and government, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is a three-day technical conference designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. This year’s conference theme, We Build a Better World, recognizes the significant role women play in creating and utilizing technology to improve world conditions. More than 1,600 women from industry, academia, and government are expected to turn out for this year’s event.

Registration is now open, with early bird discounts in effect through August 17 and super early bird discounts through July 6. Applications are being accepted for scholarships to attend GHC through June 15. For more information, visit www.gracehopper.org/2008/.


This Week’s Seminar Schedule

Scientific Visualization as a Means of “Seeing the Unseeable”

Berkeley Lab 2008 Summer Lecture Series
Tuesday, June 24, noon, Building 50 Auditorium
Wes Bethel, CRD Visualization Group Leader

Scientific visualization transforms abstract data into readily comprehensible images, provides a vehicle for “seeing the unseeable,” and plays a central role in both experimental and computational sciences. Bethel, who heads the Scientific Visualization Group in the Computational Research Division, presents an overview of visualization and computer graphics, current research challenges, and future directions for the field.


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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.