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InTheLoop | 06.27.2011

June 27, 2011

Berkeley Lab Expertise Tapped in ISC’11 Video Blogs

This month, high performance computing (HPC), network, and storage experts from around the globe convened in Hamburg, Germany for ISC’11, the International Supercomputing Conference. For an entire week the discussions surrounded HPC disruptive technologies. To get some perspective on topics ranging from GPUs to the Top500 list, ISC’11 video bloggers turned to Berkeley Lab experts Horst Simon, John Shalf, and Erich Strohmaier. View the videos.

KQED Quest: Supercomputers Hit an Energy Wall

Associate Lab Director Kathy Yelick and John Shalf of NERSC discuss the future of supercomputers with KQED science reporter Lauren Sommer in a QUEST radio story and science blog. Go here to listen or to read the blog.

HPCwire: Disruptive Technologies in the Making

At last week’s International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, two of the biggest topics on the agenda were heterogeneous architectures and GPU/accelerator computing. The HPC community has known for awhile that conventional CPUs, at least in their x86 form, will not be a practical path to exascale computing.

But is the emerging HPC heterogeneous architecture with discrete GPUs or Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) co-processors just another dead end as well? That’s what HPCwire set to find out in a conversation with John Shalf, who heads up the Advanced Technologies Group at NERSC. Shalf has given a lot of thought to this new computing paradigm, and at ISC’11 he moderated a panel entitled “Heterogeneous Systems & Their Challenges to HPC Systems.” Read more.

Magellan Is Helping to Solve the Case of the Missing Proton Spin

It’s been nearly 25 years since the European Muon Collaboration made a startling discovery: only a portion of a proton’s spin comes from the quarks that make up the proton. The revelation was a bit of a shock for physicists who had believed that the spin of a proton could be calculated simply by adding the spin states of the three constituent quarks. This is often described as the “proton spin crisis.”

The three concurrent Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider experiments are ideally suited to answer that question, and the STAR collaboration is using the Magellan cloud computing testbed at NERSC and Argonne to provide almost real-time event processing. The cloud-based data processing system functions as a self-adjusting assembly line and handles variable throughput with no human intervention needed. As a result, the W boson results should be ready to present at conferences six months earlier than in previous years. Read more in International Science Grid This Week.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

One Click Dataset Transfer: Toward Efficient Coupling of Distributed Storage Resources and CPUs
Monday, June 27, 10:00–11:00 am, 50F-1647
Michal Zerola, Czech Technical University, Prague

The massive data processing in a multi-collaboration environment with geographically spread diverse facilities will be hardly “fair” to users and hardly using network bandwidth efficiently unless we address and deal with planning and reasoning related to data movement and placement. The needs for coordinated data resource sharing and efficient plans solving the data transfer paradigm in a dynamic way are being more required. We will present the work (PhD thesis) which purpose is to design and develop an automated planning system acting as a centralized decision making component with emphasis on optimization, coordination and load-balancing.

We will describe the most important optimization characteristic and modeling approach based on “constraints.” Constraint-based approach allows for a natural declarative formulation of what must be satisfied, without expressing how. The architecture of the system, communication between components and execution of the plan by underlying data transfer tools will be shown. We will emphasize the separation of the planner from the “executors” and explain how to keep the proper balance between being deliberative and reactive. We will present several real use-case scenario and performance of the system with a comparison to the “traditional” methods. Finally, we will outline several possible enhancements and avenues for future work.

Uncertainty Quantification Study Group
Monday, June 27, 10:00–11:00 am, 50B-2222
Dan Gunter and Lavanya Ramakrishnan, CRD

The group will discuss two papers: “Design and Analysis of Computer Experiments” (Sacks, Welch, Mitchell, Wynn, 1989) and “Uncertainty Quantification and Error Analysis” (LANL workshop). The first paper is about statistical approaches, whereas the second one focuses more on the engineering/computing aspects for large applications.

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.