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InTheLoop| 12.12.2011

December 12, 2011

NERSC’s Scott Campbell Wins Best Paper at LISA '11

Scott Campbell of NERSC's Networking, Security and Servers Group won the best paper award at USENIX LISA '11: 25th Large Installation System Administration Conference for his work entitled "Local System Security via SSHD." His paper describes a method for near real-time identification of attack behavior and local security policy violations taking place over SSH. At NERSC, Campbell works on the Bro intrusion detection systems and incident response. The LISA '11 conference was held in Boston, Mass., from December 4-9, 2011.

Climate Forecast: Today's Severe Drought, Tomorrow's Normal

While the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s grips Oklahoma and Texas, scientists are warning that what we consider severe drought conditions in North America today may be normal for the continent by the mid-21st century, due to a warming planet.

A team of scientists from Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the NOAA came to this conclusion after analyzing 19 different state-of-the-art climate models. Looking at the balance between precipitation and evapotranspiration—the movement of water from soil to air—they found that no matter how rainfall patterns change over the next 100 years, a warming planet leads to drought. Their results were published in the December 2011 issue of American Meteorological Society's Journal of Hydrometerology. Read more.

Catching Extreme Weather Events in Climate Models

Berkeley researchers are using state-of-the-art methods in data mining and high-performance computing to quantify extreme weather phenomena in the very large datasets generated by today's climate models. Their work will help scientists predict how climate change impacts the frequency of extreme weather events. Read more.

Danger of Death: Are We Programmed to Miscalculate Risk?

Assessing risk is something everyone must do every day. Yet few are very good at it. In this editorial, Berkeley Lab's Chief Technologist David Bailey and University of Newcastle mathematics professor Jon Borwein discuss the significant consequences of the public's collective inability to accurately assess risk. Read Bailey's and Borwein's essay.

CRD's David Patterson Writes Opinion Piece on Curing Cancer with Computing

David Patterson, a professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley with a joint appointment in the Computational Research Division, wrote a column in the Dec. 5 edition of the New York Times outlining how thousands of people, volunteering their personal computers, could speed the task of sequencing the genome of a tumor. Patterson suggests this approach in light of the recent discovering that cancer is a genetic disease, caused primarily by mutations in our DNA. As well as providing the molecular drivers of cancer, changes to the DNA also cause the diversity within a cancer tumor that makes it so hard to eradicate completely. Read Patterson's column.

This Week's Computing Sciences Seminar

Measuring and predicting metabolic fluxes through 13C carbon labeling experiments for pure cultures and microbial communities
Monday, December 12, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m., Bldg. 50F, Room 1647
Hector Garcia Martin, Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI)

Systems biology aims to provide a predictive and quantitative understanding of cell behavior as the outcome of the interaction of its comprising parts. Metabolic flux profiles (i.e. the number of molecules traversing each biochemical reaction encoded in its genome per unit time) are not only a key phenotypic characteristic but also embody the essence of this complexity since they represent the final functional output of the interactions of all the molecular machinery studied by all the other "omics" fields. Two of the most popular methods for studying metabolic fluxes are Flux Balance Analysis (FBA) and 13C Metabolic Flux Analysis (13C MFA), each of them displaying its own advantages and disadvantages. In this talk I will present a new method: Two scale 13C Metabolic Flux Analysis (2S-13CMFA), which combines the advantages of FBA and 13C MFA. I will showcase its applications and possibilities with data from the KEIO knockout collection.

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.