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InTheLoop | 03.21.2011

March 21, 2011

Simulating Tomorrow’s Accelerators at Near the Speed of Light

Realizing the promise of laser-plasma accelerators crucially depends on being able to simulate their operation in three-dimensional detail. Until now such simulations have challenged or exceeded even the capabilities of supercomputers.

A team of researchers led by Jean-Luc Vay of Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator and Fusion Research Division (AFRD) has borrowed a page from Einstein to perfect a revolutionary new method for calculating what happens when a laser pulse plows through a plasma in an accelerator like BELLA. Using their “boosted-frame” method and NERSC supercomputers, Vay’s team has achieved full 3D simulations of a BELLA stage in just a few hours of supercomputer time, calculations that would have been beyond the state of the art just two years ago. Read more.

NERSC, ESnet Staff to Address ASCAC and JGI User Meetings

On Tuesday, March 22, NERSC Director Kathy Yelick will address the DOE Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) spring meeting in Washington, DC, presenting a “Summary of National Academy Panel on HPC.” On Wednesday, March 23, ESnet network engineer Kevin Oberman will address the ASCAC meeting on issues and implications of IPv6. On Thursday, March 24, Yelick will discuss “Hardware and Software Trends in Computational Systems for Biology” at the 6th annual DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) user meeting, “Genomics of Energy & Environment,” which is being held in Walnut Creek, CA.

Berkeley Lab Hosts Albany High Students on Job Shadow Day

As part of Albany High School’s annual Job Shadow Day, 18 juniors from the school spent several hours shadowing Berkeley Lab scientists, mathematicians, engineers, technicians and communications staff. Based on their choice of potential career paths, students were matched with mentors at the main Lab facility, NERSC in Oakland, and the Potter Street biosciences research center. Read more.

SC11 Issues Call for Participation; First Deadlines in April

The SC11 conference continues a long and successful tradition of engaging the international community in high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. SC11 will place an emphasis on bringing together communities to facilitate information exchange, discussions and new collaborations for research and education related to innovating high performance computing applications and advancing scientific discovery and scholarship.

Submissions for most areas of the SC11 technical program are now being accepted. Abstracts for technical papers and ACM Gordon Bell Prize nominations are due April 1. Full final papers and ACM Gordon Bell Prize nominations are due April 8, as are submissions for panels, tutorials and workshops. Submissions for the Student Cluster Competition, which showcases student teams competing to build a small computing cluster, are due by April 15; and State of the Practice reports are due May 20.

All submissions should be made online. For a complete list of SC11 program deadlines, go here. Questions about the technical program should be directed here.

Opportunity for Joint Postdoc Funding with INRIA

The Berkeley Computational Science and Engineering program has announced an opportunity for joint funding of postdocs with INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control. The postdocs would work on projects of joint interest, spending part of their time in Berkeley and part at INRIA. There is a visitor from INRIA on campus this semester, Malik Ghallab, who would be happy to talk to you about the possibilities. Please contact Jim Demmel or Masoud Nikravesh if you are interested.

For a recent talk by the President of INRIA, Michel Cosnard, on INRIA’s interests in high performance computing (just one of their interests), go here.

Link of the Week: The Greatest Biologist of All Time?

Who is the greatest biologist of all time? After a year of celebrations honoring Darwin, the answer might seem obvious. But Armand Leroi, Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology at Imperial College London and author of two television series about Darwin, begs to differ. He nominates Aristotle and explains his reasons in an Edge video with transcript.

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.