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InTheLoop | 06/17/2013

The weekly newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences

June 17, 2013

Moving Computer Services to Cloud Promises Significant Energy Savings

A six-month study led by Berkeley Lab researchers with funding from Google has found that moving common software applications used by 86 million U.S. workers to the cloud could save enough electricity annually to power Los Angeles for a year.

The report looks at three common business applications — email, customer relationship management software, or CRM, and bundled productivity software (spreadsheets, file sharing, word processing, etc.). Moving these software applications from local computer systems to centralized cloud services could cut information technology energy consumption by up to 87 percent — about 23 billion kilowatt-hours. Read more.

This report received considerable media attention last week, with stories appearing in Scientific American, Forbes, UPI, San Francisco Business Times, GigaOm, The Register, ICT Business (Italian), Xatakaon (Spanish), Cloud Tech, Green Computing Report, GreenBiz, as well as a featured link on the DOE Office of Science home page.

China’s Tianhe-2 Supercomputer Takes No. 1 Ranking on 41st TOP500 List

Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, is the world’s new No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, according to the 41st edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The list was announced this morning (June 17) during the opening session of the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

For the news release discussing the highlights of the latest list, go here. The complete TOP500 list is here. HPCwire discusses the implications of the newly released list and future trends with the TOP500 authors in a podcast here. NERSC’s Hopper system ranks 24 on the latest list.

International Supercomputing Conference Under Way in Leipzig

The International Supercomputing Conference (ISC’13) is being held this week, June 16–20, in Leipzig, Germany. Horst Simon and Erich Strohmeier are presenting the TOP500 awards today, along with co-authors Jack Dongarra and Hans Meuer.

Erich Strohmeier will also present “Highlights of the 41st TOP500 List”; will chair a session on “High-End Systems towards Exascale”; will present a paper he co-authored on “A Simple Concept for the Performance Analysis of Cluster-Computing”; and will co-present a BoF on “Apples-to-Apples Comparison: Improvements in Power Measurement.” Horst Simon will chair a panel discussion on “The Missing Middle — How Can HPC Help Industry?”

Sudip Dosanjh will participate in a panel discussion on “How Do We Protect the HPC Software Investments in the Future?” and will co-present a BoF on “GPU Supercomputing for Physics and Astrophysics — a Road to Exascale.” John Shalf will speak on “Converging Interconnect Requirements for HPC and Warehouse Scale Computing” and will be on the Infrastructure Panel for the session “Data Science — The Sexiest Field of the 21st Century.” David Bailey will present “Numerical Reproducibility in Exascale Computing.”

NUFO Holds Annual Meeting at LBNL This Week; Jaron Lanier to Speak

The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) is holding its annual meeting on June 19–21 in the Building 66 Auditorium, hosted by Berkeley Lab’s six user facilities, including ESnet and NERSC. Plenary talks will focus on the theme “The Future of Scientific Data: Strategies for Facilities.” Several Computing Sciences staff are participating:

  • David Skinner and Greg Bell will participate in the introductory Facilities Director's Panel.
  • Greg Bell will give his popular talk “The Network as a Scientific Instrument.”
  • Associate Lab Director Kathy Yelick will present “More Data and More Science from DOE User Facilities.”
  • David Skinner will co-chair sessions on “Data Access and Computing” and “User Facility Policies”
  • Linda Vu will co-present “An Introduction to Social Media for NUFO.”

Described as a “visionary” in a 2011 New Yorker profile, computer scientist, composer, and author Jaron Lanier will discuss how big data’s role in money and power colors its role in the sciences during a talk at the Thursday, June 20, dinner of NUFO meeting. The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. during a buffet dinner at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley. Send e-mail here to RSVP. Register to attend the whole meeting.

Emergency Preparedness Fair and Road Safety Day Tomorrow

The annual Emergency Preparedness Fair and Road Safety Day events join forces this year for a gathering that will both help employees prepare for and react to future emergencies, as well as raise their awareness on safe road behaviors. Held on Tuesday, June 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria parking lot, the more than 36 exhibits provide opportunities to learn about local emergency organizations, road safety, and disaster preparedness. There will be music, the Shaker Van, a cafeteria BBQ, raffle prizes, winning Emergency Go Kit contest entries on display, discounts on emergency kits and supplies, and a farmers market.

Two kickoff videos introduce the events:


This Week’s Computing Sciences Seminars

ARES and RadMAP: Big Data Concepts for Multisensor Systems
Monday, June 17, 2:00–3:00 pm, 50B-4205
Daniel Chivers, , Nuclear Science Technologies Group, LBNL

The Applied Nuclear Physics program has been developing advanced multi-sensor radiation detection systems for both airborne and mobile terrestrial platforms. These systems employ highly sensitive radiation detectors that enable gamma-ray energy and imaging analysis. These data streams are coupled to synchronous LiDAR and 3D imagery to provide the basis for high fidelity contextual annotation of the real world similar to Google Streetview. Both RadMAP (terrestrial) and ARES (aerial) collect approximately 1–2 TB per day. This talk will outline the RadMAP and ARES missions at LBNL and the unique large data challenges. The development of the Berkeley Data Cloud collaborative analysis and distribution framework will be discussed.

CS Summer Student Brownbag: TBA
Tuesday, June 18, 12:00–1:00 pm, 50A-5132
Kathy Yelick, Associate Lab Director, LBNL

CS Summer Student Brownbag: Using Math and Computing to Model Supernovae
Thursday, June 20, 1:30–3:00 pm, 70-191
Andy Nonaka, LBNL/CRD

Link of the Week: IBM Roomba-Based Robot Measures Data Center Heat

IBM is plotting the temperature patterns in data centers to improve their energy efficiency, using robots based on an iRobot Roomba base — and it is not the only company using this approach.

IBM has built a bunch of robots using iRobot Create, a customizable version of iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, which can move autonomously around data centers, plotting the temperature and humidity. The resulting maps can spot areas where cold air is being wasted, or hot spots are developing, so energy can be saved. The robots have recently been given the ability to scan RFID tags so they can add asset tracking to their role. Read more.

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.