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InTheLoop | 08.02.2010

August 9, 2010

NERSC and LLNL Are First U.S. Stops for LHC’s ALICE Data

One month a year, the nuclei of lead atoms traveling near the speed of light will collide in the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) ALICE experiment. Ten percent of all of the data collected in this month will travel from Switzerland to NERSC and to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via ESnet. These facilities will provide the primary computing and storage resources for the ALICE collaboration in North and South America. Read more.

CS Summer Student Program Presentations on Thursday, August 5

Come find out what the Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences summer students have been up to this summer on Thursday, August 5, in conference room 50B-4205 at 9:30 am. Every year, the Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Summer Student Program gives university students in the United States and abroad an opportunity to gain relevant research experience while pursuing their degree. The students partner with one or more staff members on well defined research projects. This event marks the end of their program, when the students give presentations based on their research findings. Go here for more information on the students and their projects.

Wright and Zheng Talk at Workshop on Heavily Threaded Systems

Two CS researchers contributed to the Programming and Runtime Models for Heavily Threaded Systems workshop held last week (July 27-28) in Annapolis, MD, sponsored by the Computer Science Research Institute (CSRI) at Sandia National Laboratories. Nick Wright of NERSC presented a talk on “Applications at Exascale: A NERSC Perspective,” and Yili Zheng of CRD participated in a panel discussion on “Scalable Communication Runtime System for Heavily Threaded Systems.”

John Shalf Giving Invited Talk at HEC FSIO Workshop

John Shalf of NERSC has been invited to give a talk on “Simulation Challenge: Exascale Planning Overview” at the High End Computing File Systems and I/O (HEC FSIO) Workshop being held August 2–4 in Arlington, VA, sponsored by the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD). His talk will discuss technology disruptions on the path to exascale and the conclusions of the DOE exascale technology report to address those problems.

LBNL Staff Are Contributing to Two CScADS Summer Workshops

The SciDAC Center for Scalable Application Development Software (CScADS) is holding four weeks of workshops in Snowbird, Utah, to engage the community in the challenges of leadership computing and foster interdisciplinary collaborations. At this week’s workshop (August 2–5), “Performance Tools for Petascale Computing,” David Skinner of NERSC is presenting “Performance Analysis of DOE Workloads in HPC and Cloud Environments.”

Next week’s workshop (August 9–11) will be “Libraries and Autotuning for Petascale Applications,” co-organized by NERSC Director Kathy Yelick along with Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Keith Cooper of Rice University, and Rich Vuduc of Georgia Tech. Presentations will include “Multicore Optimization of Particle-to-Grid Computations” by Lenny Oliker of CRD.

Par Lab Boot Camp Scheduled for August 16–18

The 2010 Pab Lab Boot Camp—Short Course on Parallel Programming is intended to offer programmers a practical introduction to parallel programming techniques and tools on current parallel computers, emphasizing multicore and manycore computers. Based on popular demand they have added lectures on parallel debugging and verification techniques. Three all-day sessions will be held at Wheeler Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus, as well as online. The course is free to students, faculty, staff, and affiliates (including Berkeley Lab), but registration is required. Go here for details.

CS Division Office Needs Administrative Assistant

The Computing Sciences Division Office has an opening for an Administrative Assistant III to provide customer-oriented administrative support to Computing Sciences senior management and administrative staff members. 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.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

It Takes Three to Tango: Bubble Dynamics in Basaltic Volcanoes and a Critical Look at Current Models of Strombolian Activity
Monday, August 2, 3:00–4:00 pm, 50F-1647
Jenny Suckale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Normal Strombolian activity, named after the famously episodic eruptions at Stromboli volcano, is characterized by temporally discrete fountains of incandescent clasts. The mildly explosive nature of normal Strombolian activity, as compared to more effusive variants of basaltic volcanism, is related to the presence of dissolved gas in the magma, yielding a complex two-phase-flow problem. We first demonstrate that a combination of three numerical tools — an extended ghost-fluid-type approach, the level-set method, and the extension-velocity technique — accurately simulate the dynamics of gas bubbles in basaltic flow. We then apply this tool to Stromboli volcano and find that large gas pockets are prone to rapid breakup.

This finding calls into question the widely held view that normal Strombolian activity is caused by the bursting of large gas bubbles at the free surface.

Link of Week: A New View of Why Women Shun Science Careers

It’s a nagging question that has long haunted the equality-minded world of academia: Why are women so underrepresented in the fields of science and technology? Do they simply have less innate ability in these areas, as former Harvard president (and current presidential adviser) Lawrence Summers famously argued? Or are they held back by ingrained sexism?

A team of Miami University researchers led by psychologist Amanda Diekman has come up with a different explanation. In a paper just published in the journal Psychological Science, they argue women perceive STEM careers (those in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as largely incompatible with one of their core goals: Engaging in work that helps others.

“STEM careers may elicit thoughts of the ‘lone scientist,’” the researchers write, conjuring up chilly images of a solitary man staring at his computer. Diekman and her colleagues argue such stereotypes, which imply isolation and a lack of human contact, may discourage some girls from pursuing scientific careers. Read more.

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.