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InTheLoop | 02.16.2010

February 16, 2010

Rosio Alvarez Will Provide CIO Transition Support to DOE

On February 11, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman made an announcement titled “Acting DOE CIO and Transition Support”:

As many of you know, after 46 years of distinguished Federal service, Tom Pyke will be retiring from DOE on February 26, 2010. As of March 1, 2010, Bill Turnbull will serve as the Department’s Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Also beginning in early March, Dr. Rosio Alvarez, the Chief Information Officer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will provide the Secretary and me with advice to help with the transition and with advancing IT reform across the DOE enterprise.

Please give Bill and Rosio your full support in the coming months as we transition to a permanent CIO.

Computing Sciences Deputy Michael Banda Moving to ALS

Michael Banda, who has served as Computing Sciences Deputy since 2001, has accepted a position as Division Deputy at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. The exact date for his transfer has not been set, but a transition plan that spans one to two months is being discussed.

Bill McCurdy recruited Banda from JGI to Computing Sciences as his deputy in 2001. Banda remained in the position and assumed additional responsibilities after Horst Simon became Computing Sciences ALD. Banda also served as the Computational Research Division Deputy.

“Banda has helped NERSC and CRD to run a highly efficient combined operation, and has made significant contributions to major projects such as the development of the CRT building. I really can’t thank Banda enough for his years of service to our organization, much of which dealt with critical issues behind the scenes,” Simon said. “We will miss him, but the good news is that his knowledge and services will continue to be available to Berkeley Lab. Banda’s move will also enhance opportunities for interaction and collaboration between Photon Sciences and Computing Sciences.”

The CS Deputy position is expected to be posted within a week, and a search will start immediately.

CRD Researchers Receive INCITE to Restore Earth’s Carbon Balance

As humans emit more carbon into the atmosphere than the planet’s natural processes are able to remove, the Earth’s carbon cycle is increasingly out of balance. In an effort to restore the carbon balance, two groups of researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division (CRD), led by Lin-Wang Wang and John Bell, have developed computational methods to explore the viability of carbon-neutral technologies, like nano solar cells and near-zero emission combustion devices.

And now, the researchers will put those tools to work using allocations on two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s Leadership Computing Facilities. Together, the CRD researchers received more than 18 million supercomputing hours through the 2010 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program to conduct experiments and run simulations. Read more.

ACS Has Opening for Computer Science Postdoctoral Fellow

The Advanced Computing for Science (ACS) Department currently has an opening for a postdoctoral fellow with particular interest in statistics, data mining, and/or eco-informatics. The fellow will participate in research projects to develop new tools and capabilities; will have exposure to science problems and datasets from a broad range of science disciplines including hydrology, biology, astrophysics, groundwater modeling, and climate; and will gain experience working with one or more of these science areas. See job details.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Multigrid and Algebraic Multigrid: Main Principles, Definitions, Algorithms and Applications
Wednesday, February 17, 11:00 am–12:00 pm, Soda Hall, Room 380
Panayot S. Vassilevski, Center for Applied Scientific Computing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Last week we gave an introduction to multigrid methods (or MG) for solving systems of (linear) algebraic equations. We first gave a motivation why the method has the potential to be of optimal order, namely, that it can be viewed as a (recursive) “divide and conquer” algorithm. Then we introduced the main definitions and algorithms and summarized some basic theoretical results.

Today we will focus on the algebraic version of the method (or AMG). The latter refers when the hierarchy of vector spaces needed to define a MG is constructed by the user in a matrix (operator) dependent way. In a sense, the AMG can be viewed as an “inverse” problem and as such it is “ill-posed,” that is, many hierarchies of coarse spaces can be constructed so that they produce equally good (or bad) multigrid methods. We will focus on one AMG approach suitable for discretized partial differential equations on unstructured meshes. Finally, we will mention a dual use of AMG, namely, we will demonstrate how to use AMG approaches to construct new discretization (upscaling) spaces with high accuracy.

Link of the Week: Cloud Culture: The Promise and the Threat

Charles Leadbeater, a financial journalist turned innovation consultant, wrote an essay on “Cloud Culture: The Promise and the Threat” in the online magazine Edge. A few excerpts:

We are about to get a very different kind of Internet, one replete with huge potential and danger. The spread of cloud computing will allow much greater personalisation and mobility, constant real time connection and easier collaboration. Cloud computing will give rise to a cloud culture. Many of the purveyors of that culture will be cloud capitalists. Our chief challenge will be to make cloud culture and cloud capitalism work, for public as well as private good….

The web has huge and still unfolding potential to allow for more cultural self-expression and connection. Our interests as citizens and consumers will be best served by their being a rich variety of cultural clouds: public and private, social and voluntary, global and very local, cosmopolitan and nationalist. We should seek the maximum possible diversity of clouds rather than thinking simply of the cloud. It is inevitable that some of cloud culture will not be benign and may well be predatory and even vicious.

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.