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IntheLoop | 06.06.2011

June 6, 2011

Juan Meza Named New Dean of Natural Sciences at UC Merced

Juan Meza, acting director of the Computational Research Division and head of CRD’s High Performance Computing Research Department, has been named Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced. The appointment, announced Friday, June 3, will be effective this fall.

“As I was considering this position, I was truly impressed by the quality of the faculty, the commitment and diversity of UC Merced's students and the great potential to help shape the development of the newest campus in one of the world's best public university systems,” Meza said. “I'm looking forward to tapping into this great potential to help develop each student as an individual and the institution as a whole.” Read more.


CS Staff Give Keynotes, Talks at Federated Computing Research Conference

Once every three or four years, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) sponsors the Federated Computing Research Conference (FCRC), an assemblage of 16 affiliated research conferences and workshops, at a weeklong coordinated meeting held at a common time and place. FCRC’11 is being held this week at the San Jose Convention Center, and Computing Sciences staff are giving a number of keynote presentations and talks. Here is a day-by-day look at some of the Lab staff presentations:

Saturday, June 4

  • John Shalf of NERSC’s Advanced Technologies Group gave the opening keynote talk at the EMEA (Emerging Applications and Many-Core Architecture) workshop. Shalf’s presentation was on “Manycore ASICs for Energy Efficient Scientific Computing: From Teraflop Toaster Ovens to Exascale Computing.”
  • UC Berkeley Professor Dave Patterson, who holds a joint appointment in the Lab’s Computational Research Division, gave a keynote address on “Emerging Applications from the UC Berkeley Par Lab.”
  • Deb Agarwal, head of the Advanced Computing for Science Department, participated in a panel on “The Job Search Process (pre-Ph.D.)” at the CRA-W 2011 workshop (The Computer Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research).

Sunday, June 5

  • NERSC Director Kathy Yelick gave the keynote address at the 1st International Workshop on Adaptive Self-Tuning Computing Systems for the Exaflop Era (EXADAPT 2011). Yelick’s talk was entitled “Autotuning in the Exascale Era!”
  • Deb Agarwal participated in a CRA-W 2011 panel on “Learning How to Lead: Strategies to Grow Your Technical Leadership.”
  • Krste Asanović of UC Berkeley and NERSC joined a panel discussion on “Specialized vs. General-Purpose Hardware” at CARD, the Third Workshop on Computer Architecture Research Directions.

Monday, June 6, 2011

  • Krste Asanović is co-author of a paper on “Exploring the Tradeoffs between Programmability and Efficiency in Data-Parallel Accelerators” to be presented at ISCA 2011, the 38th International Symposium on Computer Architecture.

Wednesday, June 8

  • Jim Demmel, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley with a joint appointment in CRD’s Scientific Computing Group, will give an invited talk on “Accurate and Efficient Expression Evaluation and Linear Algebra, or Why It Can be Easier to Compute Accurate Eigenvalues of a Vandermonde Matrix than the Accurate Sum of 3 Numbers” at SNC 2011, the Symbolic Numeric Computation Workshop.
  • Julian Borrill of CRD’s Computational Cosmology Center will give a talk on “Cosmic Microwave Background Data Analysis at the Petascale and Beyond” at the Workshop on Dynamic Distributed Data-Intensive Applications, Programming Abstractions, and Systems (3DAPAS). CRD’s Keith Jackson is on the workshop organizing committee.
  • Lavanya Ramakrishnan, Scott Campbell, Shane Canon, Iwona Sakrejda, and Tina Declerck of NERSC are among the authors of “Magellan: Experiences from a Science Cloud,” a paper to be presented at ScienceCloud2011, the 2nd workshop on Scientific Cloud Computing.

Thursday, June 9

  • NERSC Director Kathy Yelick will deliver the keynote talk on “Exascale Opportunities and Challenges” at the 20th International ACM Symposium on High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing (HPDC).
  • In a Parallel Performance Session at HPDC, Steven Hofmeyr and Costin Iancu of CRD’s Future Technologies Group are co-authors of a paper on “Juggle: Proactive Load Balancing on Multicore Computers.”
  • Keith Jackson chairs an HPDC session on Data Management and Movement.
  • At the HPDC Posters and Conference Reception, Lavanya Ramakrishnan is a co-author of a paper on “Adapting MapReduce for HPC Environments.”

Saturday, June 11

  • Keith Jackson will participate in an HPDC panel discussion on “The Future of Parallel and Distributed Computing.”

Yelick, Patterson Discuss Parallel Programming in The Economist

Parallel programming, once an obscure niche, is the focus of increasing interest as multicore chips proliferate in ordinary PCs, according to the article “Parallel bars” in the June 2 issue of The Economist. NERSC Division Director Kathy Yelick and UC Berkeley professor David Patterson, who has a joint appointment in the Computational Research Division, are two of the experts quoted in the article, which discusses both the necessity and the difficulties of parallel programming. Read more.


This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Getting Started at NERSC
Tuesday, June 7, 10:00 am–12:00 pm, OSF 943-238 and webcast
Richard Gerber and Yushu Yao, NERSC

This training event is intended for new NERSC users. Hands-on exercises will be interspersed with the presentations. Outline:

  • What is NERSC?
  • Hardware Resources
  • Storage Resources
  • How to Get Help
  • Accounts and Allocations
  • Connecting to NERSC
  • Using NX to accelerate X Windows Applications
  • Compiling Code
  • Running Jobs

Influence Region Downscaling
Wednesday, June 8, 12:00–1:00 pm, 50B-4205
Kate Marvel, Stanford University

We present a new empirical downscaling method based on observed correlations between climate variables. We describe how to calculate the “influence region” for a given point on a high-resolution grid, and show how this region varies with timescale. This new method can be applied to observed temperature and precipitation time series, and used to extrapolate local climate behavior into the future using lower resolution general circulation models. Using these extrapolations, we investigate the emergence of extreme events, and show how this behavior can be localized.


Link of the Week: China Cranks Up Heat on Nuclear Fusion

Is China’s latest technological drive going to end up producing yet another Sputnik moment for the U.S.? That has to be one question on the minds of scientists, researchers and politicians in the U.S. as China unveils its latest attempt to reach for one of science’s brass rings: viable nuclear fusion technology.

According to a report in the state-run China Daily, the central government is planning to train 2,000 experts to pursue research and development into magnetic confinement fusion, which seeks to use magnetic fields to create the high-pressure conditions necessary for fusion. Read more in The Wall Street Journal.



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.