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InTheLoop | 03.01.2010

March 1, 2010

NERSC Accepts Cray XT5, Hopper, after Rigorous Testing

After several months of rigorous scientific testing, NERSC has accepted a 5,312-core Cray XT5 machine, called Hopper (Phase 1). Innovatively built with external login nodes and an external filesystem, Hopper Phase 1 will help NERSC staff optimize the external node architecture before the second phase of the Hopper system arrives. Phase 2 will be a petascale system comprised of 150,000 processor cores and built on next-generation Cray technology. Read more.

NERSC Announces First Round of 2010 NISE Awards

NERSC has announced this year’s first round of awards of computer time under the NERSC Initiative for Scientific Exploration (NISE). Eleven projects from nine universities, representing a wide range of science, have been selected to receive approximately 12 million hours of time on NERSC supercomputers. NISE awards are given to groups exploring new scientific research areas, programming models, or algorithms. Descriptions of the selected projects are available here.

The NISE program is ongoing; the next round of awards will be made in late March or early April. Approximately 17 million hours remain available, and NERSC expects to allocate all of the time by June 2010.

Historic SNO Data, Carried by ESnet, Lives On at NERSC

Tunneled 6,800 feet underground in Canada’s Vale Inco Creighton mine, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) was designed to detect neutrinos produced by fusion reactions in the Sun. Although the observatory officially “switched off” in August 2006, a copy of all the data generated for and by the experiment will live on at NERSC. Read more.

Berkeley Lab Issues Call for LDRD Proposals

Lab researchers are invited to submit proposals for Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funding, which is funded at about $20 million for the FY 2011 cycle. LDRD is one of the Lab’s principal means to seed innovative science and new research directions. Proposals that are synergistic with the Carbon Cycle 2.0 or Next Generation Light Source (NGLS) initiatives are strongly encouraged, with approximately two-thirds of funding directed to these two areas. The review process will use two tracks: divisional and/or Lab-wide proposals will be reviewed by a team of senior managers, while the Discovery proposals will be reviewed by external scientific reviewers. The LDRD deadline is March 19. More information.

Open Positions for Visualization Engineer, Two Postdocs

The Visualization Group in CRD has an opening for a Visualization Engineer to support implementation and deployment of the Group’s technologies. Duties include installing/configuring high performance visual data exploration and analysis software and related components on parallel computer systems; developing wrapper software that makes the capabilities of such applications available to remote users; optimizing performance of these applications for use on large-data problems on parallel computing systems; extending these applications to meet customer/stakeholder needs; using these applications to produce high quality visualizations; interacting with consumers of high performance visual data exploration and analysis services/capabilities to diagnose/troubleshoot performance or capability problems. See job details.

The Applied Numerical Algorithms Group (ANAG) in CRD has two openings for postdoctoral researchers to work on the development of high-resolution numerical algorithms for partial differential equations and their application to a variety of areas of interest to DOE, including fluid dynamics and plasma physics. See job details.

The Lab’s Employee Referral Incentive Program (ERIP) awards $1,000 (net) to employees whose referral of an external candidate leads to a successful hire.

Juan Meza Named IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor

Juan Meza, head of CRD’s High Performance Computing Research Department, has been selected by the IEEE Computer Society to participate in the Distinguished Visitors Program. Initiated in 1971, the Distinguished Visitors Program provides “first quality speakers serving IEEE Computer Society professional and student chapters.” Among the criteria for selection are the condition that participants be recognized authorities in their respective field. Meza, one of 20 participants in the North American program, will serve a three-year term beginning in January 2010.

Cardo and Cholia Give Conference Presentations This Week

Two NERSC staff members will be giving presentations at two difference conferences this week. Nick Cardo will give a talk on “Managing Production Scientific Computing Resources” at ISUM2010, the First International Supercomputing Conference in Mexico, March 2-5 in Guadalajara. Shreyas Cholia will give a presentation on “Building Transparent User Gateways with Globus and the MyProxy CA” at GlobusWorld 2010, March 2–4 at Argonne National Laboratory.

Submissions Now Being Accepted for SC10 Technical Program

SC10 has announced that submissions are now being accepted for its technical program. The 23rd annual conference in the series, SC10 will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana November 13–19, 2010. Over 11,000 attendees from industry, academia and government are anticipated. This year the technical program encourages participants to focus on one of three thrust areas to be featured prominently at the conference: climate simulation, heterogeneous computing, and data-intensive computing.

Technical paper abstracts are due April 2, and final papers as well as submissions for tutorials and the Gordon Bell Prize are due April 5. Other immediate submissions deadlines include Workshops, which are due April 15, 2010; the Student Cluster Competition, which is due by April 16, 2010; as well as Panel submissions, which are due April 26, 2010.

For the entire list of technical program deadlines, go here. More details about each thrust area are available here. For any questions about the technical program, email program@info.supercomputing.org.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery
Wednesday, March 3, 12:00–1:00 pm, Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley
Ben Shneiderman, Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, University of Maryland
Broadcast live online at mms://media.citris.berkeley.edu/webcast

Interactive information visualization tools provide researchers with remarkable capabilities to support discovery. By combining powerful data mining methods with user-controlled interfaces, users are beginning to benefit from these potent telescopes for high-dimensional data. They can begin with an overview, zoom in on areas of interest, filter out unwanted items, and then click for details-on-demand. With careful design and efficient algorithms, the dynamic queries approach to data exploration can provide 100 msec updates even for million-record databases.

This talk will start by reviewing the growing commercial success stories such as www.spotfire.com, www.smartmoney.com/marketmap and www.hivegroup.com. Then it will cover recent research progress for visual exploration of large time series data applied to financial, medical, and genomic data (www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/timesearcher). These strategies of unifying statistics with visualization are applied to electronic health records (www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/lifelines2) and social network data (www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/socialaction and www.codeplex.com/nodexl). Demonstrations will be shown.

Link of the Week: Media Multitaskers Pay Mental Price

Attention, multitaskers (if you can pay attention, that is): Your brain may be in trouble.

People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory, or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found.

“They’re suckers for irrelevancy,” said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Everything distracts them.”

The researchers are still studying whether chronic media multitaskers are born with an inability to concentrate or are damaging their cognitive control by willingly taking in so much at once. But they’re convinced the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they could.

“When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what's not relevant to their current goal,” said Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

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.