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InTheLoop Special Edition 11.17.2008

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

November 17, 2008

After 12 years at NERSC, Bill Kramer will be leaving his post as general manager to undertake a new position as Deputy Project Director for Blue Waters Project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), in Urbana, Ill.

“LBNL and NERSC are very special. I have been at both longer by far than any place I have worked because of the mission to impact diverse science, the fantastic staff and commitment to the highest quality systems and services,” says Kramer. “What I will miss most are the NERSC people. People make NERSC work, and I was fortunate to work with innovative and highly dedicated people.”

During his tenure at the Berkeley Lab, Kramer saw NERSC through many major transitions, including a move from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to Berkeley; a migration of the entire user community from vector supercomputers to highly parallel computing; and the design and implementation of both the NERSC system architecture and the NERSC service architecture.

This past year, Kramer played an integral role in managing the hardware upgrade of NERSC’s Cray XT4 system, called Franklin, to quad-core processors, and setting up the procurement process for the NERSC-6 system, the next major supercomputer acquisition to support the Department of Energy Office of Science’s computational challenges.

“I have always been attracted to places that are trying to do what no one else has. Over the past decade, NERSC has redefined what it means to be a supercomputer center,” says Kramer.

“In his time at NERSC, Bill has successfully stood up some of the world’s fastest machines and established the standard by which production computing centers are run,” says Kathy Yelick, NERSC Division Director. “As I transitioned into the role of NERSC Director this past year, Bill’s wealth of knowledge and experience was invaluable to me.”

“I have worked together with Bill for almost 20 of the last 22 years, and have come to appreciate him as a great colleague: reliable, energetic, and always full of new ideas,” says Horst Simon, Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab. “I am disappointed to see Bill leave, but I am grateful for the many years where he shared his expertise and contributions. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavor.”

Originally from New York City, Kramer moved to Chicago, Ill. with his wife Laura, shortly after graduating from college. From his home in Illinois, Kramer commuted to Indiana every day to do computing work for a steel mill. He moved to California’s Bay Area to put the world’s first UNIX supercomputer into service as part of NASA Ames’ Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation program.

“Laura and I have loved the Bay Area for a long time — for the innovation, diversity, culture, and weather,” says Kramer. “Since we lived in Illinois shortly after college, for our first jobs, we can’t claim to be naive about the difference in weather. But every place we have lived, the Midwest, East and West, we have enjoyed and cherished for different reasons. We look forward to the university town life and making new friends, not to mention rooting for Purdue when they come to town.”

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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.