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InTheLoop | 04.04.2011

April 4, 2011

Berkeley Lab Contributes to Success of Sold-Out Tapia Conference

For the first time in its ten-year history, the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference has registered more than 500 attendees, which prompted organizers to close registration a week before the April 3–5 conference began at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Of those registered, about 75 percent are students, more than 50 percent are women, and more than 70 percent are from other under-represented groups, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, or Latinos.

“We would love to have more attendees, but our hotel facilities simply can’t handle any more people,” said 2011 Tapia General Chair David Patterson, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley, faculty researcher in the Lab’s Computational Research Division, and former president of the ACM, the society sponsoring the Tapia conference.

Tapia 2011 is the fifth time (at least) that Berkeley Lab has been a supporter, contributing $5,000 to fund scholarships for students to attend the conference. Michial Greene, a student at Contra Costa College in San Pablo who will be attending the conference on an LBNL scholarship, will present a poster on “Wii-mote Infrared Electronic Whiteboard.” The Lab’s second scholarship will support Russell Carden of Rice University, who will present a poster on “Behavior of Ritz Values for Nonnormal Matrices.”

Other LBNL contributions include:

  • Conference Organizing Committee
    • Jon Bashor is the PR chair (for the third time).
    • Tony Drummond is the Student Poster chair. In the past, Tony has been a speaker and organizer of the Doctoral Consortium.
    • Linda Vu has provided social media support.
  • Conference Program
    • Elizabeth Bautista will be part of a Tuesday panel session on Opportunities at DOE Labs.
    • Deb Agarwal, Elizabeth Bautista, Orianna Demasi, Juan Meza, Sean Peisert, and Dani Ushizima will host tables during Tuesday’s “Lunch with Interesting Bay Area People.”
  • Related Activities
    • As a conference contributor, LBNL has an information table set up during the conference. This will be staffed by CS recruiter Jeff Todd during designated times today and Tuesday.
    • Jeff Todd and other Lab attendees staffed a Berkeley Lab display during the Sunday night “Opportunity” poster session. Linda Vu coordinated production of a poster describing opportunities for students at the Lab.
    • Diversity Working Group funds are providing registration for Deb Agarwal, Elizabeth Bautista, Orianna Demasi, Tony Drummond, Tareq Saif, Jeff Todd, and Linda Vu.
    • Juan Meza and Dani Ushizima participated in a panel discussion on opportunities in government research labs and industry at a pre-conference meeting hosted by the Empowering Leadership Alliance.
  • Post-Conference Activities
    • Linda Vu and Jon Bashor are coordinating a visit to LBNL by about 25 students on Wednesday, April 6. The half-day visit, with transportation provided by CS, will include presentations and tours of research facilities.
    • Also on Wednesday, April 6, Bashor will attend a meeting of the Coalition to Diversify Computing, organizer of the Tapia conference series.


Why High-Performance Clouds Are Best Kept In-House

Most commercial entities don’t have the infrastructure to handle the intensive workloads of high performance computing. And if they do, it will probably be more expensive—in one case, 10 times more expensive—for them to run dedicated services than for some federal agencies to run their own private clouds.

At least that’s the case for officials from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who spoke at a recent symposium on high performance computing. Representing Berkeley Lab, Associate Lab Director Kathy Yelick presented results from NERSC’s Magellan testbed. Read more in Government Computer News.

Aussies’ Data Flows Literally over the Top

Data transfer rates between the Australian National University and NERSC are impressive—in fact for one eight-minute stretch in February, they were literally off the chart, with about a third of a terabyte of data flowing over the network in under 10 minutes. Three groups at ESnet are providing assistance with various aspects of this effort. Read more.

CRD’s Bruce Bargmeyer Honored for Contributions to IT Standards

Bruce Bargmeyer, leader of the Metadata, Semantics, and Ecoinformatics Group in CRD’s Advanced Computing for Science Department, has been recognized with the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) Merit Award for 2011.

In notifying Bargmeyer of the award, Lynn Barra, director of ITI Standards Operations for the INCITS Secretariat, wrote “Without question, you have earned this recognition and INCITS would like to recognize your more than 15 years of participation and contributions to INCITS/DM32.8 Technical Committee and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC32. Your leadership and broad knowledge of important issues and dedicated efforts are what lead to the successful development and advancement of standards.”

The award will be presented today (Monday, April 4) at an INCITS symposium in Hillsboro, Oregon.

CS Diversity Working Group Announces Upcoming Opportunities

If you are interested in finding a mentor to help you here at Berkeley Lab or in signing up to be a mentor, this year’s mentoring program will be beginning soon. The CS Mentoring/Networking Program is now accepting applications, with a deadline of April 19. For the Mentor Enrollment Form, go here; for the Protégé Enrollment Form, go here. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Marcia Ocon Leimer. If you would like to learn more about the program, information sessions will be held April 7 (10:00–11:00 am in 50F-1647) and April 12 (11:00 am–12:00 pm in 50B-4205).

The CS Diversity Working Group will once again be able to sponsor three or four diversity summer students. The slots will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have selected a student to work with for the summer who is from an under-represented population and would like them sponsored, send a request to have the student sponsored to cs-diversity@george.lbl.gov. Include the student’s name, who they will be working with, and the position description.

Video Glossary: ESnet Experts Define Their Terms

In two new entries to Berkeley Lab’s video glossary, ESnet engineers Michael Sinatra and Eli Dart talk about the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the Department of Energy’s science network, and why we need them.

LBNL, CITRIS Sponsor i4science Symposium Tomorrow

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is a rapidly growing multidisciplinary field that encompasses real-world complex applications (scientific, engineering, social, economic, policy), computational mathematics, and computer science and engineering. High performance computing (HPC), large-scale simulations, and scientific applications all play a central role in CSE.

The i4Science Symposium, sponsored by the University of California’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and Berkeley Lab, will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5) in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall at UC Berkeley. This event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. No registration is required.

The symposium will focus mainly on a smaller subset of CSE applications that within three to five years would be scalable from thousands to millions of processors and from tera- to exascale computing using emerging computing technologies—HPC and Cloud. Here is the symposium schedule:

  • 12:10 pm: “i4Science: An Update”
  • 12:25 pm: “Cognitive Computing: Neuroscience, Supercomputing, and Nanotechnology,” Dharmendra Modha, IBM

    The ultimate goal of the DARPA SyNAPSE project is to build brain-like cognitive computing chips that scale to human cortex by moving beyond the von Neumann architecture and become the brains behind IBM’s Smarter Planet vision. The project leverages nanotechnology, supercomputing, and neuroscience and is a collaboration of four universities (Cornell, Columbia, Wisconsin-Madison, UC Merced) and five IBM sites (Almaden, Yorktown, EFK, BTV, and IRL).
  • 1:30 pm: “News Summarization and Visualization,” Laurent El Ghaoui, UC Berkeley
  • 2:00 pm: “Astrophysics of Streaming Time-Series Data: Discovery and Inference,” Josh Bloom, UC Berkeley
  • 2:30 pm: “Algorithms, Machines and People,” Michael Franklin, UC Berkeley
  • 3:00 pm: “Large-Scale Inference in Computational Marketing for Online Display Advertising,” Ram Akella, UC Santa Cruz

The next i4Science Symposium will be held on May 5, 2011.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Combining Data Mining and High-Throughput Ab Initio Computations for New Materials Discovery
Tuesday, April 5, 9:30–10:30 am, 55-117 (Life Sciences Conference Room)
Geoffroy Hautier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The discovery of new compounds is an essential step in achieving breakthroughs in technologically important materials science fields (e.g., energy storage, catalysis, or radiation detection). This discovery process can be however very slow, relying on a combination of chemical intuition and serendipity. In this talk, I will present how crystal structure prediction techniques based on a combination of machine learning and ab initio computations can dramatically accelerate the search for new materials, predicting large numbers of potentially new compounds with a relatively limited computational budget.

Using mathematical models trained on the information present in experimental databases, I will show how informed guesses can be performed about the compounds and crystal structures most likely to form in specific chemistries and how these guesses can be tested for thermodynamical stability using modern ab initio techniques.

The power of this data mining approach will be shown by presenting results from a computational search for unknown ternary oxides that identified hundreds of new ternary oxides with a limited computational budget. In addition, I will illustrate the importance of compound and crystal structure prediction by discussing recent results from a high-throughput search for new cathode materials.

Chemistry and Material Sciences Applications
Tuesday, April 5, 10:00 am–12:00 pm, 943-238 (OSF) and on the web
Registration required for remote access
Zhengji Zhao, NERSC User Services Group

The first hour of the training is targeted to new or beginning users who are running material science and chemistry application codes at NERSC. We will address things you should know to run the application codes more efficiently at NERSC. The second hour of the training is targeted to those users who want to compile the application packages by themselves on our machines. We will address things you should know to compile and run the material science and chemistry codes on our machines, so you can compile any codes as needed comfortably in the future.

i4science Symposium
Tuesday, April 5, 12:10–3:30 pm, Banatao Aud., Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley
See speakers and topics in the article above.

Multi-Domain Internet Performance Measurement: Sampling and Analysis
Wednesday, April 6, 10:00–11:00 am, 50B-1237
Prasad Calyam, Ohio Supercomputer Center

This talk will present the latest results from our DOE-sponsored project on multi-domain Internet performance measurement. The content will feature our research findings and tools developed in the context of the measurement data sets available via perfSONAR web services. More specifically, I will describe our OnTimeDetect tool for correlated and uncorrelated network anomaly notification in perfSONAR deployments, and the OnTimeSample tool for meta-scheduling network status sampling for accurate SLA monitoring and network weather forecasting. I will also present experiences from deploying these tools to analyze active measurement data sets accessible in worldwide perfSONAR deployments. Lastly, I will discuss how these tools can benefit the DOE community in projects such as E-Center for DOE enterprise monitoring, and ESnet’s perfSONAR deployments for network operations.

Link of the Week: The Life and Legacy of Richard Feynman

From childhood sweetheart to quantum electrodynamics, the life and scientific contributions of the legendary Richard Feynman, a physicist of mythic hero status, are given a new perspective in a book by Arizona State University professor Lawrence M. Krauss.

In the new scientific biography, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, released March 21, 2011, Krauss depicts the Nobel Prize-winning Feynman as more than “just” a brain. He paints a picture of Feynman, a sprightly and multifaceted man of varied talents and intellectual pursuits, ranging from percussion to Mayan hieroglyphs, by exploring the essence of the man as seen through his scientific contributions.

Even if an idea had already been proven, Feynman chose to ignore convention and distrusted any idea unless he had worked it out from first principles using his own methods; this approach and thoroughness expressed Feynman's strong emphasis on the journey of doing science in and of itself rather than the end result. “Accomplishment was not his purpose,” wrote Krauss in the epilogue of the book. “It was learning about the world. He felt the fun lay in discovering something, for himself, even if everyone else in the world already knew it.” 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 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.