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InTheLoop | 03.29.2010

March 29, 2010

Measuring a Monstrous Supernova

The international Nearby Supernova Factory (SNfactory) based at Berkeley Lab has measured, for the first time, the mass of a kind of Type Ia supernova astronomers once thought would be so exceedingly rare they might never be found. Richard Scalzo of Yale University, leading a team of his SNfactory colleagues (including Peter Nugent and Rollin Thomas of CRD’s Computational Cosmology Center), found that the progenitor star (or stars) of the extra-bright supernova 2007if had almost two and a half times the mass of our sun — a so-called super-Chandrasekhar-mass supernova.

With the wealth of data they collected, the team was able to compare SN2007if with a handful of other unusually bright Type Ia supernovae. The remarkable similarities allowed the team to identify SN2007if as belonging to a new and rare subclass of supernovae, most likely resulting from the merger of two “degenerate” white dwarf stars. Read more.


NERSC Has Opening for High Performance Computing Technician

The NERSC Systems Department has an opening for a High Performance Computing Technician, reporting to the Group Lead for Computer Operations and ESnet Support. This technician will perform first-line support for NERSC and ESnet including monitoring supercomputers, mass storage system, general servers, network routers and switches, and user support. Work will be performed on the first shift (7:00 am to 3:00 pm) including rotating weekends at the Oakland Scientific Facility. 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.


iWAPT 2010 Submission Deadline is April 19

The Fifth international Workshop on Automatic Performance Tuning (iWAPT2010) is an international workshop that provides opportunities for researchers and practitioners in all fields related to automatic performance tuning to exchange ideas and experiences on algorithms, libraries, and applications tuned for recent computing platforms. This workshop, to be held on June 22 at UC Berkeley, will consist of a few invited speaker presentations from leading researchers in academia or industry, and several presentations of peer-reviewed papers that report the latest results in auto-tuning research. iWAPT 2010 will be held in conjunction with VECPAR’10.

In addition to research papers, iWAPT 2010 is also soliciting two-page position papers. All submissions are due by April 19.


SC10 Tech Paper Abstracts Due April 2, Other Deadlines Approaching

The deadline for submitting technical papers for the SC10 conference is fast approaching. As last year, there is a two-stage submission process, with abstracts being due Friday, April 2, and full papers due by Monday, April 5. Submissions for the ACM Gordon Bell Prize have the same requirements and due dates. Submissions must be made via the SC10 Submissions site.

Other immediate submissions deadlines include: Workshops, which are due Thursday, April 15, the Student Cluster Competition, which are due by Friday, April 16; and Panel submissions, which are due Monday April 26. Read the entire list of technical program deadlines.

SC10, the 23rd annual conference in the series, will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana from November 13-19, 2010.


Microsoft Research Announces 2010 eScience Workshop

Microsoft Research—in partnership with the Berkeley Water Center, the Colleges of Engineering and Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—is pleased to announce the 2010 Microsoft Research eScience Workshop, “Scaling the Science,” on October 11–13 in Berkeley, California.

The goal of this seventh annual cross-disciplinary workshop is to bring together scientists from diverse research disciplines to share their research and discuss how computing is transforming their work. The event will also include the presentation of the third annual Jim Gray eScience Award to a researcher who has made an especially significant contribution to the field of data-intensive computing.

The workshop is now accepting paper submissions; go here for information. The deadline for paper submission is May 28. 2010.


This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Getting It All Done with C++:
Abstraction, Reusability, Performance, and Future-Safety

Thursday, April 1, 11:00 am–12:00 pm, 50A-5132
Ulrich Drepper, Red Hat

Efficiently writing code which then is also performing well is not easy. The knowledge needed for writing the code and the knowledge needed to program a modern computer efficiently are each sufficiently vast to require experts in the individual fields. To counter the inefficiencies possibly introduced by the division of labor, this talk proposes some programming techniques.


Link of the Week: Spin, Science and Climate Change

An editorial in The Economist, “Spin, science and climate change,” argues that action on climate is justified, not because the science is certain, but precisely because it is not. A companion article, “The clouds of unknowing,” presents the case that uncertainties in climate science do not mean it is fundamentally wrong:

In any complex scientific picture of the world there will be gaps, misperceptions and mistakes. Whether your impression is dominated by the whole or the holes will depend on your attitude to the project at hand. You might say that some see a jigsaw where others see a house of cards. Jigsaw types have in mind an overall picture and are open to bits being taken out, moved around or abandoned should they not fit. Those who see houses of cards think that if any piece is removed, the whole lot falls down. When it comes to climate, academic scientists are jigsaw types, dissenters from their view house-of-cards-ists.



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.