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InTheLoop | 11.19.2012

November 12, 2012

ESnet Rolls Out World’s Fastest Science Network

As scientific research becomes increasingly data-intensive and globally collaborative, the ability to quickly and reliably share enormous data sets is critical to challenges as diverse as finding cleaner energy technologies, understanding climate change, and investigating the nature of our universe. To accelerate such discovery, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) ESnet (Energy Sciences Network) is now operating the world’s fastest science network, serving the entire national laboratory system, its supercomputing centers, and its major scientific instruments at 100 gigabits per second — 10 times faster than its previous generation network.

ESnet Policy Board member Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer and Google’s chief Internet evangelist, says, "In January, 1983, the Internet was launched into operation on a 50 Kb/s ARPANET backbone. Thirty years later, ESnet backbone speeds are two million times faster. Terabit speeds are in sight and faster aggregate speeds can be anticipated. Talk about riding a rocket!" Read more.

In the blog post "Network as Instrument: Please Adjust Your Mental Models," ESnet Director Greg Bell explains the impact that this milestone will have on scientific research. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science also put this milestone in context with a blog post titled “Carrying ‘Elephants’ and ‘Mice’ at the Speed of Light.”

Globus Online and ESnet Partner for Scientific Data Management

Globus Online and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) announced a new collaboration to help scientists better manage the growing amounts of data they need to move, share, and analyze worldwide. As partners, the organizations plan to develop joint outreach and educational programs designed for small and medium science collaborations that have not traditionally used data transfer tools and advanced networking as part of their workflow, but who will soon require these capabilities as their data volumes increase. ESnet and Globus Online will also pursue coordinated research efforts aimed at better integrating their services to make it easier for scientists to set up efficient end-to-end data transfers. Read more.

Berkeley Lab Staff Speak at Albany High’s Annual Career Day

Computing Sciences staff members Dan Martin and Peter Nugent and other Berkeley Lab researchers discussed their work and career paths at Albany High School’s annual Career Day on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The event featured 40 or so speakers on a wide range of careers. Read more.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Require Extra Vigilance for Safety

Quiet vehicles, hybrids operated at low speeds, and electric vehicles are increasingly common among the general population and even more so at Department of Energy sites. These vehicles present a potential hazard that lacks some of the indicators people use to sense that they are in use. Relying upon your hearing to make you aware of moving vehicles is no longer sufficient in this ever-changing world. At lower speeds, hybrid and electric vehicles are 37 percent more likely to strike pedestrians and 66 percent more likely to collide with cyclists than traditional gas-powered cars. Read more.

This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

Par Lab Seminar: Dart in a Nutshell

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 1:00–2:30 pm, 430 Soda Hall (Wozniak Lounge), UC Berkeley
Lars Bak and Ivan Posva, Google

Dart is a pure object-oriented, dynamically and optionally typed programming language. This presentation will argue why Dart is a better programming language for writing large scale web applications. Unlike JavaScript, the Dart programming language has been designed to solve major problems related to web development: toolability, slow startup, and slow runtime performance.

The second part of the talk will discuss design decisions in implementing a high performance virtual machine for Dart.

The Transformation of Linear Second-Order ODEs into Independent Second-Order Equations: Scientific Computing and Matrix Computations Seminar
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 12:10–1:00 pm, 380 Soda Hall, UC Berkeley
Matthias Morzfeld, LBNL/CRD

The class of linear second-order dynamical systems is considered. These systems of coupled ordinary differential equations (ODE) are characterized by three symmetric positive definite (SPD) coefficient matrices: one arises from inertial terms, the second from Hooke’s law, and the third from velocity-proportional energy dissipation. The goal is to transform the coupled set of n second-order ODEs into n independent (scalar) second-order equations. In the absence of damping, this goal can be achieved by congruence transformation because two SPD matrices can be simultaneously diagonalized. However, three SPD matrices cannot be simultaneously diagonalized by congruence transformations unless certain restrictive conditions apply, so in this case we must consider more general transformations. I will present a method that utilizes a real, invertible but nonlinear mapping to transform any set of coupled second-order linear ODEs into independent equations. Two examples from earthquake engineering are provided to indicate the utility of this approach. This is joint work with Fai Ma, Ali Imam and Beresford Parlett.

Link of the Week: Thinking in Network Terms

Network science is changing or will change the way every scientific discipline is done, according to Albert-László Barabási, Distinguished Professor and Director of Northeastern University’s Center for Complex Network Research, and author of Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do and Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means.

In a conversation with Edge, Barabási discusses how his research has developed over the past decade and where it’s headed, including the implications for physics, biology and medicine, social science, and economics. Some excerpts:

We always lived in a connected world, except we were not so much aware of it. We were aware of it down the line, that we’re not independent from our environment, that we’re not independent of the people around us. We are not independent of the many economic and other forces. But for decades we never perceived connectedness as being quantifiable, as being something that we can describe, that we can measure, that we have ways of quantifying the process. That has changed drastically in the last decade, at many, many different levels….

It is almost common sense now that we live in the age of networks. What most people haven’t really internalized is that these networks are not random. They have internal rules. Once you start seeing them, then you start looking at the very different way of how these networks function. The number of highly connected or less-connected nodes is never random in the network. The way they break down, the way they evolve is never random in these networks. The way that hubs link to their neighborhood, the way the community is formed, the way the communities look, their number, their size, they all follow very precise laws and very quantifiable patterns.

These patterns are often amazingly simple. Once you break it down, then it creates a new perspective of how the system works.

This conversation is part of the series “Computational Social Science @ Edge.”

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.