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InTheLoop | 09.21.2009

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

September 21, 2009

New Policy: Badge Access to Lab Revoked without Current GERT Training

Effective Thursday, Oct. 1, a new policy will be implemented that links General Employee Radiological Training (GERT) and card-access entrance to the Lab. After that date, employees without valid GERT will have all their badge access authorizations revoked. This includes access to specific rooms and buildings, as well as general site access. This means you will not be able to enter any area that requires card access during business hours and that you will not be allowed into the Lab after hours or on weekends.

GERT (EHS0470) is available online here. If logging in with an LDAP or badge number, credit should be received within an hour. Those taking GERT with a non-LDAP login and who do not provide an employee badge number will not receive course credit until the EHS Training Group is contacted (x2228, x7603, x7524, or x5271).

Over 95 percent of all badge holders have current GERT and won’t be affected by this new policy. But if you are one of the 5 percent of badge holders without current GERT, you will be denied access when the new system becomes active.

ESnet Named One of Top 10 Government IT Innovators

Once a year, InformationWeek magazine honors the most innovative players in the field of information technology, including the top 10 government agency innovators. And last week, ESnet was recognized as a member of this select group for its work helping thousands of researchers worldwide manage the massive amounts of scientific data. ESnet implemented a highly innovative design consisting of two separate, parallel networks. The first network, called the IP network, provides reliable global Internet connectivity. The second network, called the Science Data Network (SDN), provides circuit-oriented services tailored for large-scale science needs. SDN circuits provide guaranteed, end-to-end connections with a variety of customizable services, including traffic isolation and advance reservation of network capacity.

The award by InformationWeek is the second honor received by ESnet this year. In April, ESnet received an Excellence.Gov award for its achievements in leveraging technology to develop a specialized network for transferring large-scale scientific datasets.

Lab Coffee Bar Closed this Week for Construction

The Lab’s coffee bar in the cafeteria will be closed this week due to construction.

Flame Simulations Lift Combustion Energy’s Future

A new story in ASCR Discovery magazine, “Flame Simulations Lift Combustion Energy’s Future,” describes the work of CRD’s John Bell and the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering in simulating lean premixed combustion, which may be the key to near-zero-emissions combustion technology. Computation, with its ability to deal with complexity and unlimited access to data, has the potential for closing the gap between theory and experiment and enabling dramatic progress in combustion science.

NERSC Names New Safety Representative

Jason Hick is stepping down after serving for the past year as NERSC’s Safety Representative. Jason oversaw OSF’s preparations for the HSS audit and helped implement an array of new safety practices. High on the list of improvements he initiated were keeping a stock of Morency Rest wrist supports in his office, arranging onsite trainings provided by EHS trainers, setting up a safety page on the twiki, posting contact information at prominent OSF locations, and establishing a personal protective equipment (PPE) station in the computer room. Jason’s enthusiasm and thoroughness were great assets to the OSF safety program.

Taking Jason’s place will be Shane Canon, who has already sent out an email “Safety Minute” to NERSC staff, addressing Integrated Safety Management (ISM), contractor safety, and stop work authority. Shane will represent NERSC at the Division Safety Committee meetings, and can bring up issues and get responses on issues important to NERSC.

DOE Approval Deadline for SC09 Attendance Is Sept. 29

If you plan to attend the SC09 conference in November, please be sure your group administrator has entered your name and travel information into the Events Approval Database as a “travel-to” conference before September 29. The database will be locked on Wednesday, September 30, and routed to DOE for final approval.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Achieving Safer Motherhood with Solar Powered Light and Communication

Wednesday, September 23, 12 p.m., Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley (CITRIS)
Laura Stachel, Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability; Founder, WE CARE Solar 

WE CARE Solar promotes safe motherhood in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, blood bank refrigeration and mobile communication using solar electricity. In this talk, Dr. Laura Stachel discusses some of the challenges of reducing maternal mortality, which accounts for more than 530,000 deaths a year, primarily in Africa and Asia. Her dissertation research on emergency obstetric care in Northern Nigeria (supported by the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability) highlights the negative impact that inadequate electricity can have on the delivery of maternal health care. Her observations sparked an initiative to use solar-powered electricity to enhance maternity care by powering hospital lighting, mobile communication, and emergency medical equipment. Dr. Stachel will describe her experience in bringing solar electricity to one hospital and her ongoing efforts to supply smaller clinics and hospitals with lighting and communication using suitcase-sized portable solar electric systems.  For more information, see www.wecaresolar.com.

Laura Stachel is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with 14 years of clinical experience, holding an MD from UC San Francisco and an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from UC Berkeley, where she is currently pursuing her doctorate in public health. Her dissertation is focused on reducing maternal mortality in developing countries.

From Kant to Computation: Why Aesthetics Matter Now More than Ever, and What We Can Do about It: Adobe's Creative Technologies Lab: Inventing the Future Collaboratively

Wednesday, September 23, 4 p.m., HP Auditorium (306), Soda Hall, UC Berkeley
David Salesin, Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington and Senior Principal Scientist and manager of the Creative Technologies Lab at Adobe Systems


Part one: “From Kant to Computation: Why Aesthetics Matter Now More than Ever, and What We Can Do about It”

Our sense of aesthetics is grounded in the natural world, our place as living things. Yet our intimate connection with nature grows more tenuous every day. Indeed, within the last year the world passed an important milestone: for the first time, half of all people on the planet now live in urban rather than rural environments. In this talk, I will give a brief history of aesthetics, argue the need for incorporating aesthetics into our real and virtual environments, and discuss how computer graphics can play an essential role in this pursuit.

Part two: “Adobe’s Creative Technologies Lab: Inventing the Future Collaboratively”

Adobe was established 26 years ago with the invention of PostScript, work that redefined how people share documents around the world. Ever since, Adobe has been reinventing the way people engage with ideas and information. As Adobe continues to grow, deepening its technology in documents, graphics, and imaging — and broadening into new areas — where is the necessary innovation going to come from? In this talk, I will give an overview of the Creative Technology Labs and describe some of our most recent research.

Link of the Week: CCSE’s New Webpage Highlights Successes

Like most other groups in CRD, the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering has a strong track record in developing new computational methods, publishing papers, winning awards, giving invited talks and helping develop the next generation of applied mathematicians. But sometimes just doing good work isn’t enough and you need to ensure that your work gains wider notice. To this end, the group has created a News page highlighting their work. Not only does the page highlight a variety of efforts, but it makes it easier to respond to requests for accomplishments from higher-ups.

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.