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InTheLoop | 05.10.2010

May 10, 2010

SciDAC Tutorials Day Will Be Held July 16 at UTC

On July 16, 2010, the fourth SciDAC Tutorials Day will be held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Held on the day following the annual SciDAC meeting, Tutorials Day provides open and free tutorials on a wide range of subjects in scientific computing. The focus is on bringing the benefits of DOE’s investments in SciDAC to new researchers in academia and industry. This is a great venue to learn how to parallelize your current computational efforts or to improve your computation by implementing the latest computing algorithms and methods.

Registration is free. Transportation to and from the main SciDAC meeting site will be provided to presenters and attendees. A limited number of travel stipends are available for students needing assistance in their travel to the tutorials. For more information, contact David Skinner or Andrew Uselton. Tutorials Day is presented by the SciDAC Outreach Center, staffed by Skinner and Uselton at NERSC, with local organizing provided by Rusty Lusk of ORNL.

Early Registration for VECPAR’10 Ends May 21

Berkeley Lab and CITRIS will be hosting VECPAR’10, the Ninth International Meeting on High Performance Computing for Computational Science, on June 22–25, 2010 at Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. VECPAR’10 provides an opportunity for researchers and practitioners in branches of science that require computer modeling and simulation to get together and discuss techniques and technologies that can contribute to the effective analysis of complex systems and phenomena. The multidisciplinary meeting engages participants from academia, research laboratories, and industry. The deadline for early registration is May 21.

Keynote speakers include Charbel Farhat of Stanford University, David Patterson of UC Berkeley and CRD, Thomas Sterling of Louisiana State University and CALTECH, and Takumi Washio of the University of Tokyo. Workshops and tutorials include:

  • iWAPT: Fifth international Workshop on Automatic Performance Tuning
  • PEEPS: Workshop on Programming Environments for Emerging Parallel Systems
  • HPC Tools: Tutorial on High Performance Tools for the Development of Scalable and Sustainable Applications

OSF Parking Options Update

Starting today (May 10), the OSF parking lot will be closed (again) for the OSF power upgrade project. Motorcycle and limited off-hours parking are expected to remain available in the OSF lot except when the construction prohibits use of the driveway. Until the construction is completed in September, there are two alternative automobile parking areas (see map here):

  • Kaiser Center garage (near Lake Merritt):
    • Monthly parking card. If you park at the OSF more than eight days per month, Norma Early can provide a parking card. The card cannot be shared and, if used for one day, the Lab is charged for the entire month.
    • Single all-day vouchers may be available but are not guaranteed. Do not park here unless you have reserved an all-day voucher with Teresa Montero, Suzanne Stevenson, or Norma Early.
  • Franklin Plaza parking garage (entrance on 19th Street between Franklin and Broadway):
    • Hourly parking vouchers are available from Suzanne, Norma, or Teresa. The hourly vouchers are prepaid; if lost or not used, the Lab has still paid for them. This garage does not have all-day vouchers. This is not the Kaiser garage next to the OSF.

Need to Work Late? You’ve Got a Ride Home

Berkeley Lab encourages employees to find alternatives to driving solo to work. The Laboratory has contracted with Friendly Cab to provide no-cost transportation from the Laboratory to Lab Shuttle Bus stops when the shuttles are not running. In addition, the Lab participates in the Alameda County Guaranteed Ride Home Program, which gives employees a free ride home in a taxi or rental car if an emergency arises or if you must work unscheduled overtime.

Two other facts you may not know about transportation alternatives:

  • Blue Triangle day pass: If any member of your carpool has a blue triangle permit, any carpool vehicle can park in a blue triangle spot, as long as the permit holder is on site that day. Just show the carpool member’s permit to the security gate guard, and a special blue triangle permit will be issued for the vehicle being used that day.

  • Increased allowance for Pretax Transportation Program: Thanks to the Recovery Act, staff members who ride public transit or vanpools to work can deduct up to $230 per month of their transportation costs on a pretax basis. The previous limit was $100.

More information on these and other transportation alternatives can be found on the recently updated CS alternative transportation page.

NERSC and JGI Have Opening for Systems Administrator

NERSC and the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) are looking for a skilled Systems Administrator to support the computational infrastructure supporting research at JGI. The successful candidate will administer a wide array of equipment, including large-scale Linux computational clusters; multi-petabyte NFS file servers; Linux and Sun web and database servers; and layer 2/3 networking devices. The Systems Administrator will work closely with software developers and researchers to develop infrastructure and support strategies for a growing number of new sequencing technologies. See job details here. 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.

Job Posting Web Page for Postdocs and GSRAs

The Berkeley Lab Learning Institute has created a position announcements web page as a resource for postdocs and graduate student research assistants looking for scientific positions at organizations outside of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Included are links to position listings at a variety of institutions, as well as scientific and postdoc position announcements forwarded by various Laboratory Divisions. If you’re interested in a posted position, please use the contact information provided in the posting. If you would like to submit a posting or have other suggestions for this site, please contact ktanttila@lbl.gov.

New UCB Python for Science Course Requests Assistance

UC Berkeley Professor Joshua Bloom will be leading a new class on using Python for physical science research in the fall, and he’s looking for two kinds of assistance: graduate students to help with a several-day boot camp and with final projects, and experts in various components of Python-based computing (sage and rpy, 3D modeling, testing suites, etc.) to run a special topics week. If you are interested in participating, please sign up for a brief organizational meeting to be held this week, or contact Professor Bloom.

Information Visualization Showcase Today on Campus

Cecilia Aragon of CRD’s Advanced Computing for Science Department has been teaching a class on Information Visualization and Presentation in the UC Berkeley School of Information, and her students are giving a final project poster session today, May 10, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm in South Hall room 110 on campus. Student teams have created new and compelling visualizations to enhance comprehension and analysis of structured information. Everyone is invited to see these visually interesting and informative presentations.

Submissions Are Open for NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference

NVIDIA will host its GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2010) from Monday, September 20, to Thursday, September 23, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California. The focus is on NVIDIA’s professional-level solutions and is 100% HPC and visualization, not consumer or gaming. Roughly 42% of the talks and posters at GTC 2009 were relevant to computational (continuum and particle) mechanics for both the research and engineering communities. Preliminary interest and talk/poster submissions show that GTC 2010 will comprise an even greater focus on CFD in particular.

The call for submissions is now open. Deadlines are June 1 for presentations and August 15 for posters.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Programming Language Evolution and Source Code Rejuvenation
Wednesday, May 12, 10:00–11:00 am, 943-236 & 50B-2222
Peter Pirkelbauer, Texas A&M University

Programmers rely on programming idioms, design patterns, and workaround techniques to make up for missing programming language support. Evolving languages often address frequently encountered problems by adding language and library support to subsequent releases. As new concerns such as parallelism or security arise, early idioms and language facilities can become serious liabilities. Modern code sometimes benefits from optimization techniques not feasible for code that uses less expressive constructs. Manual source code migration is expensive, time consuming, and prone to errors.

In this talk, I develop the notion of source code rejuvenation, the automated migration of legacy code. Source code rejuvenation leverages enhanced program language and library facilities by finding and replacing coding patterns that can be expressed through higher-level software abstractions. Raising the level of abstraction improves code quality by lowering software entropy. In conjunction with programming language extensions, source code rejuvenation offers an evolutionary path towards more reliable, more secure, and better performing code.

I present tools that allow efficient implementations of code rejuvenations. Two case studies, namely the recovery of concepts from C++ template functions and the recovery of initializer lists for their use with STL containers, will illustrate the application of our tool chain.

Link of the Week: Big Thinkers on What the Ash Cloud Means

Edge Foundation president John Brockman invited the Edge community of smart and original thinkers — from behavioral economists to psychologists, physicists to software engineers — to think about the recent volcanic ash cloud and the reaction to it, and tell him (in 250 words) something “that I don’t already know and that I’m not going to read in the newspapers.” You can read their responses here. A few samples:

  • Haim Harari: “The ash crisis and the financial crisis have much in common. Both result from the fact that almost all decision makers do not understand mathematics and science, even in a rudimentary level, while most mathematicians and scientists have no feel for the real life implications of their calculations. Both camps refuse to admit their failings.”

  • George Dyson: “We let ourselves be grounded, briefly, by an invisible threat coupled with the lack of a definition of acceptable risk. If we have drone aircraft, with fine-tuned senses, that can stay in the air for 24 hours at a time over Afghanistan, we can surely prepare to have real-time sampling concerning the next ash cloud. That would make the risk both more visible, and more politically acceptable, I think.”

  • Matthew Ritchie: “Faced with an unprecedented trans-national environmental crisis and without an obvious humanitarian ‘rescue and rebuild’ narrative; we just shut down the world…. We need to do better.”

  • John Tooby: “As life forms, we have become physically, biologically, culturally, economically and personally dependent on ‘present’ conditions, on the lazy assumption that they are ‘normal’ and will indefinitely persist…. Our problem is what statisticians call sampling error. All of our experience is far too tiny and unrepresentative a set of observations to reliably deduce the vast unknown realities we are floating in the middle of…. We are in a hiatus between civilization-precluding catastrophes.”

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.