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InTheLoop | 12.20.2010

October 20, 2010

The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?

The rapid advances in information technology that drive many sectors of the U.S. economy could stall unless the nation aggressively pursues fundamental research and development of parallel computing — hardware and software that enable multiple computing activities to process simultaneously — says a new report by the National Research Council (NRC). Better options for managing power consumption in computers will also be essential for continued improvements in IT performance.

The report, titled The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level? was written by the NRC’s Committee on Sustaining Growth in Computing Performance. Berkeley Lab Associate Director Kathy Yelick is a member of the committee and contributed to the report. A National Academies news release summarizes the report’s conclusions and recommendations.

2011 LDRD Allocations Announced

Lab Director Paul Alivisatos has announced the awards for the FY2011 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. A total of about $19 million was allocated for 94 projects from a field of 207 proposals. LDRD projects led by CRD or NERSC PIs are listed below. For the complete list, go here.

  • Deb Agarwal: Enabling High Performance Computing (HPC) Workflows on Clouds
  • Shane Canon: Defining an Ecosystem to Support Data-Intensive Science
  • Xiaoye Sherry Li: Next Generation Computing for X-Ray Science
  • Peter Nugent: The Lyman Alpha Forest Cosmology Simulator
  • Chao Yang (with Stefano Marchesini of the Advanced Light Source): Computational Techniques for Non-Crystalline X-Ray Diffraction Imaging

NERSC and ESnet Have Openings for Group Leaders

NERSC has an immediate opening for a group leader to manage the Computational Systems Group, which provides production support and advanced development for the supercomputer systems at NERSC. The group leader will manage a staff of approximately ten computer systems engineers; provide technical leadership and specify, procure, install, optimize and operate high performance computational systems using both commodity Linux clusters and large-scale proprietary technology; serve as a consultant to senior management in long-range planning concerning new or projected areas of high performance computing, especially high performance computational architectures; contribute to the development and evaluation of innovative technological and architectural strategies for future high performance computational systems, including working closely with other major HPC facilities and vendors. See job details.

ESnet has an immediate opening for a Group Lead for Infrastructure, who will serve as a key member of ESnet’s executive team, building services and platforms to support scientific collaborations around the world. Current and future projects include roll-out of blade server infrastructure, next-generation ticketing system, Cfengine, Jumpstart, server virtualization, and mass storage replication. The successful candidate will be a technical generalist with strong analytical and management skills. 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.

Niels Gronbech-Jensen Named APS Fellow

Niels Gronbech-Jensen, a faculty scientist in CRD’s Scientific Computing Group and a professor in the Applied Science Department at UC Davis, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society, nominated by the Computational Physics Division. He was cited “for his development and application of new computational algorithms and tools in Biological and Condensed Matter Physics, especially those involving massively parallel molecular dynamics, electrostatic interactions, ion implantation, and nonlinear physics.”

Inder Monga Gives Talks at CISCO HQ, IEEE ANTS

Collaborating across distances poses not just technological challenges — one of ESnet’s core areas of expertise — but also communication challenges. That’s what Inder Monga, ESnet’s Area Lead for Research and Services, discovered when he was invited to Cisco Systems’ headquarters to give a presentation in their Nerd Lunch series on “Collaborative Science Research: Driving Network Innovation at ESnet.” With more employees attending the talk from their desks than in person, Monga was deprived of visual feedback on how the audience was responding to the presentation, and he is rethinking his approach. Read more.

Monga gave another invited talk that required a little more travel in the 100 Gbps Networking Session at the IEEE International Symposium on Advanced Networks and Telecommunications Systems (ANTS), held December 16–18 in Mumbai, India. A paper on “A Heuristic for Combined Protection of IP Services and Wavelength Services in Optical WDM Networks,” which he coauthored with ESnet’s Chin Guok and collaborators from UC Davis and Politecnico di Milano, Italy, was presented in the High-Speed Networks Session.

CS, HR Staff Present Job-Search Skills Program to High Schoolers

CS Communications staffers Jon Bashor and Linda Vu joined Lab HR recruiters Andi Horton and Robert Rodriguez in a presentation on finding rewarding jobs to a group of seniors at Kennedy High School in Richmond on Thursday, Dec. 16. The session drew 40 students from the school’s IT Academy and stemmed from a summer outreach program organized by Communications staff last summer. Among the topics covered were where to look for jobs, who to call on for help, dressing for success in the job interview, likely interview questions, and a “circle of support” exercise to identify people, organizations, and other support resources.

At the end, more than three-fourths of the students raised their hands when asked if they found the session useful, and a handful stayed afterwards to ask questions about opportunities at the Lab. Computer science teacher Lane Good also approved, asking the group to give a similar presentation to seniors during the next school year.

Holiday Safety Tips from the National Safety Council

The holiday season can be one of the most stressful and dangerous times of the year, so take your time and keep safety in mind. The National Safety Council offers a list of holiday safety tips including decorating safety, ladder safety, hosting and food safety, and winter vehicle preparation.

Link of the Week: A Darwinian Theory of Beauty

TED collaborates with animator Andrew Park to illustrate Denis Dutton’s provocative theory on beauty — that art, music, and other beautiful things, far from being simply “in the eye of the beholder,” are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins. Denis Dutton is a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggests that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty. See the video.

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.