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InTheLoop | 08.30.2010

August 30, 2010

Colella to Teach Finite Difference Methods for Fluid Dynamics

Phil Colella, head of CRD’s Applied Numerical Algorithms Group, will be teaching the course “Finite Difference Methods for Fluid Dynamics” (Eng 266A) this fall at UC Berkeley, 11:00 am-12:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays in 103 Moffitt Hall. Here is an abbreviated course description:

Prerequisites: One of: a graduate-level course in fluid dynamics; a graduate-level course in partial differential equations; or a graduate-level course on numerical methods for differential equations; or consent of instructor.

 In this course, we will cover the fundamentals of computational fluid dynamics for time-dependent problems. Our approach to designing such methods is based on a combination of mathematical analysis of model problems, physical reasoning, and numerical experiments. The first half of the course will be aimed at methods for compressible flow, while the second half will focus on methods for incompressible viscous flow.

Grades will be based on a combination of problem sets and programming assignments. Students will be given wide latitude in their choice of programming language, subject to the constraint that they are willing / able to implement all of the assigned programming exercises in that language.


New CSE Course in Python for Scientific Computing

Josh Bloom, a professor in the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department, will teach a course on “Python for Scientific Computing” (AY 250, CCN 06180) from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Mondays at Hearst 310. The first meeting (today) is optional; the course starts in earnest the Monday after Labor Day. The course may be taken for credit by undergraduates or graduate students and may be audited by anyone contacting the professor directly. Here is a short description of the course:

 This seminar-based course, based on the Python (python.org) language, provides a detailed overview of the techniques and core packages used in modern scientific research computing. It is intended for upper-division undergraduates and first/second year graduate students in the physical science disciplines.

 The Python language, and associated packages, provides a powerful open-source framework suitable for many, if not most, research needs in data-intensive disciplines. It is an object-oriented scripting language that draws the best elements from many often-used languages in science research (Perl, Interactive Data Language [IDL], C++, Java, Matlab, Fortran, Ruby), is easily connected to legacy C and Fortran codes, makes use of architecture-tuned vector and matrix manipulation packages, has mature plotting and statistical/physical packages, and can be straightforwardly parallelized on multicore and distributed hardware infrastructures.


CITRIS Research Exchange Schedule Is Now Available

The CITRIS Research Exchange is a weekly roundtable of presentations and discussions that highlight ways to frame and tackle societal-scale research issues. The schedule for the fall 2010 semester seminar series is now available. The seminars will take place on Wednesdays at noon in the Banatao Auditorium of Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Box lunches are provided.

As always, these talks are free, open to the public and broadcast live online at mms://media.citris.berkeley.edu/webcast the day and time of the event. Questions can be sent remotely to Yahoo IM: citrisevents.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

HPC Visualization Efforts at PICSciE, Princeton University

Monday, August 30, 9:30–10:30 am, 50F-1647
Simon Su, High Performance Technologies, Inc.

Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE) is an interdisciplinary institute that provides computational and visualization resources and services to the general Princeton University community and collaborators. The main goal of the visualization efforts at the institute is to enable the domain scientists to do scientific discovery. Computational scientists in the domain of Astrophysics, Geosciences, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Chemistry are among the main users of the visualization services and resources available.

In this seminar, various visualization projects from the institute will be presented demonstrating the visualization efforts that enabled scientific discovery. Open source software, including VisIt, were used as the main software packages in these visualization efforts. This seminar will also present how the visualization staff used VisIt to support the visualization steps from importing the data into VisIt to creating animation used to present the output of computational models. Research challenges and results from two major research projects will be discussed.

New Development in the Efficiency Limit of Solar Cells

Friday, Sept. 3, 11:00 am–12:30 pm, 521 Cory Hall (Hogan Room), UC Berkeley
Eli Yablonovitch, UC Berkeley

 With continual progress in solar cells, we are now approaching theoretical efficiency limits. As the efficiency rises, photon management becomes more important than electronic transport properties. The theoretical Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit implicitly assumes perfect extraction of luminescent photons from the semiconductor film. We know from light-emitting diodes that this is actually very difficult to achieve. A very good solar cell also needs to be an excellent LED.


Link of the Week: Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

Are concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information? Only 29 percent of college students believe that copying from the Web constitutes “serious cheating,” according to “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age” in the New York Times.

Other articles in the series “Cheat Sheet” by Trip Gabriel include “To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery” and “Under Pressure, Teachers Tamper With Tests.”

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.