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InTheLoop | 10.10.2011

October 10, 2011

Nobel Laureate Blazed New Trails in Computational Cosmology

Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter last week won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.” Perlmutter’s group is believed to have been the first to use supercomputers to analyze and validate observational data in cosmology—a field that would soon expand rapidly at NERSC and elsewhere. Read more.


Ten Billion Light Years Away, a Gang of Supernovae Reveals a Cosmic Secret

An international team of astronomers, including the Computational Research Division’s Dovi Poznanski, has exposed the largest sample of distant supernovae ever found—150 events, many of which are located about 10 billion light years away from Earth. These events reveal that a particular breed of cosmic explosions, called Type 1a supernovae, occurred five times more frequently when the universe was young than they do today. Read more.


Two ESnet Projects Are Honored with Internet2 IDEA Awards

Two of ESnet’s projects, OSCARS and MAVEN, have received IDEA (Internet2 Driving Exemplary Applications) awards in Internet2’s 2011 annual competition for innovative network applications that have had the most positive impact and potential for adoption within the research and education community. Learn more in Network Matters and the Internet2 press release.


Microsoft Research and Cray Websites Highlight CRD and NERSC Research

Microsoft Research recently posted three science stories involving collaborations with the Computational Research Division’s (CRD’s) Advanced Computing for Science Department (ACS) and the Berkeley Water Center (BWC):

The ACS team involved in the work includes Deb Agarwal, Monte Goode, Keith Jackson, and Gary Kushner. They collaborated closely with BWC personnel, University of Virginia researchers, and Catharine van Ingen of Microsoft Research on these projects.

The Cray Inc. home page now features links to three case studies about research conducted using NERSC’s Cray systems:


ESnet’s Inaugural Seminar Series Introduces Users to New Network Capabilities

Over the past few years, ESnet staff have regularly worked with the DOE Office of Science community to target its network services to specific needs of their research programs. ESnet has inaugurated a series of seminars targeted at the different groups of scientists ESnet supports.

The first session, titled “The Energy Sciences Network: Moving Data, Advancing Science,” took place at the October 4 Advanced Light Source User Meeting at Berkeley Lab. ESnet’s Eli Dart discussed ways of using the ESnet network to more efficiently exchange and transfer scientific data.

More seminars are in the offing, reviewing the new tools and software innovations ESnet developed as part of its goal of making its network and services more accessible to users. If you would like to get tips on how to use ESnet focused on your particular scientific discipline, or just have general questions, please contact ESnet at info@es.net.


NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Now Accepting Applications

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is now accepting applications for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes young women at the high school level for their aspirations and achievements in technology and computing. The award is open to young women in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in grades 9–12. Students can apply online at www.aspirationsaward.org.


This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

LBNL Strategic Directions and Second Campus
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 12:15–1:30 pm, OSF Room 238
Horst Simon, Berkeley Lab Deputy Director

LBNL has ambitious plans for the future including development of a second campus at an East Bay site to be determined. This presentation will discuss the six sites being evaluated as well as the strategic need to consolidate programs from leased facilities and provide space for future growth.

EECS Colloquium: History and Future of the FinFET
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 4:00–5:00 pm, 306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium), UC Berkeley
Tsu-Jae King Liu, UC Berkeley

In 1996 the semiconductor industry was ramping up production of 0.25 mm CMOS integrated circuits, and the end of transistor scaling was in sight. DARPA issued a call for proposals for research on 25 nm silicon transistors suitable for tera-scale integrated circuits. A team of researchers at UC Berkeley responded to this call, and by the end of 1998 demonstrated multiple pathways for transistor scaling to 25 nm and beyond. The most prominent of these was the FinFET, an advanced transistor design of which Intel’s “3-D transistor” (announced in May 2011 and slated for 22 nm CMOS production by early 2012) is a variant. After setting the stage for this story, this talk will take the audience on a journey back through the development of the FinFET by UC Berkeley and its adoption by the industry, and offer a perspective on continued transistor scaling well into the future.

Large-Scale Photonic Integrated Circuit for DQPSK Transport System
Friday, Oct. 14, 11:00 am–12:30 pm, 521 Cory Hall (Hogan Room), UC Berkeley
Mehrdad Ziari, Infinera

This talk will review the current state-of-the-art large-scale InP multi-channel photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and present recent result on integration of >400 functions onto a single monolithic InP chip for coherent communications.


Link of the Week: Six So-Called Rules for Creativity

In a blog post titled “6 So-Called Rules for the Bad*** Creative Woman,” writer Justine Musk offers suggestions that could be useful to everyone:

  • Create a safe environment.
  • Reject the toxic.
  • Give yourself constraints.
  • Explore your ragged edge.
  • Reframe judgment and uncertainty.
  • Own your stories.


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.