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InTheLoop | 06.09.2014

June 9, 2014

Nugent Named Deputy, Scientific Engagement for Computational Research Division

Peter Nugent has been appointed Deputy for Scientific Engagement in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division (CRD). In his new role, Nugent will work with CRD and Computing Sciences leadership to develop and implement a strategy for engaging with other Berkeley Lab scientific divisions in need of computational solutions for data-intensive science projects. He will also act as a facilitator for these inter-divisional collaborations. »Read more.

Shoshani Retiring after 38-Year Career in Big Data

For 38 years, Arie Shoshani has been ahead of the curve in managing scientific data, leading the Lab's Scientific Data Management Group and serving as the lead for three SciDAC projects to develop new approaches for managing data. Over the course of his career, he has become an internationally recognized expert on creating, organizing and sharing scientific datasets. In August 2013, Shoshani's contributions to the scientific community were recognized with the Berkeley Lab Prize for Lifetime Scientific Achievement. »Read more

Simulations Show Farming is a Climate Change Culprit

Increased agricultural activity is a rain taker, not a rain maker, according to computer simulations of African monsoon precipitation run at NERSC and Oak Ridge. Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Texas fed observed land-use change data into a climate model and found the expansion of agriculture in the African Sahel region decreases summer rainfall through its impact on monsoon rains. The simulated decrease in summer rainfall reaches 10 percent over the Sahel, a region that is already stressed by water needs for human and ecological use. »Read more.

Funding Available to Attend Grace Hopper Conference

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, October 8-10, 2014.
 
This conference is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industrial, academic and government communities. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.
 
The Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Diversity Working Group is able to pay the travel and registration of a few Lab staff to attend. If you would like to attend the Grace Hopper Conference and would like to have your travel costs sponsored by the Diversity Working Group, please »e-mail Elizabeth Bautista the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your supervisor's name
  • A brief explanation of why you would like to attend (one paragraph)

The deadline for submitting applications is 5:00pm, this Friday, June 13.

Wednesday: Perlmutter Wraps Up NERSC's Nobel Keynote Lunchtime Lectures

Saul Perlmutter, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, will give the final lecture of NERSC's Nobel Keynote Lunchtime series at noon this Wednesday, June 11 in the building 50 auditorium on the Berkeley Lab campus. In the 1990s, Perlmutter discovered that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. He confirmed his observational conclusions by running thousands of simulations at NERSC. His research team is believed to have been the first to use supercomputers to analyze and validate observational data in cosmology. This melding of computational science and cosmology sowed the seeds for more projects, establishing Berkeley Lab and NERSC as centers for the emerging field. Perlmutter's talk, “Data, Computation and the Fate of the Universe,” will be live-streamed at »hosting.epresence.tv/lbl.

Perlmutter is the last of four speakers who addressed Nobel Prize-winning science NERSC has been privileged to help support over its »four decades of service to the scientific community. The center marks its 40th anniversary this year. »View past talks.

Friday: Employee Self-Assessments Due

The 2014 annual performance review process provides a valuable opportunity to talk with your supervisor about your goals and how they relate to broader division goals, and to reflect on your performance and development. Employees written assessments are due to their supervisors on Friday, June 13.

As last year, the process will be automated through Google Docs. To find your individualized form, go to Google Drive and click "Shared with me."

Employees may also wish to visit and review the »2014 Computing Sciences Performance Review Process website for instructions on completing the self-assessment, important dates, and resources. You will also find online tools and samples (for represented and non-represented), »Employee Resources - Performance Reviews

Review online tools and samples (for represented and non-represented), »Supervisor Resources - Performance Management

For additional needs with drafting and delivering performance reviews, contact Marcia Ocon Leimer, x2727 or Maria Maroudas, x2772.

If you have questions or need assistance with Google docs, please contact Tara White, division process owner, x6118.

Dosanjh Outlines Link Between Exascale and Big Data in Invited Address

NERSC Director Sudip Dosanjh gave an invited talk about exascale computing on June 5 at the Digital Automation Conference (DAC) held in San Francisco. In the talk, entitled "On the Confluence of Exascale and Big Data," Dosanjh told DAC attendees that big data and exascale computing are closely linked, saying it will only be possible to accelerate scientific discovery if we bring together the high performance computing and big data communities. He argued that exascale and big data face many similar challenges including increasing power/energy constraints, the growing mismatch between computing and data movement speeds, an explosion in concurrency, and the reduced reliability of large computing systems. »Read more.

San Francisco Exploratorium Seeks Volunteers

The Exploratorium is seeking female engineers to serve as role models and help facilitate hands-on activities for girls age 10-12 during three upcoming engineering camps.

Female engineer role models would commit to one day, between the hours of 9:30am - 4:30pm.  We would like to have two female volunteers each day of each workshop.  This means we are looking for at least 30 volunteers!  Engineer volunteers will help facilitate hands-on activities, share their lives and work with the girls, and serve as role models to the girls.  

Possible dates for volunteering:

Monday, June 16, 2014 - Friday, June 20, 2014
Girls Science Institute: Introduction to Engineering
This five-day workshop for girls ages 10-12 will cover four disciplines of engineering(Chemical, Mechanical, Structural, and Electrical) through hands-on activities and group engineering challenges.  

Monday, June 23, 2014 - Friday, June 27, 2014Girls Science Institute: Electrical Engineering
This five day workshop for girls age 10-12 will explore the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, circuits, motors, and give the girls the opportunity to hone their soldering skills.

Monday, August 11, 2014 - Friday, August 15, 2014
Girls Science Institute: Electrical Engineering
This five day workshop for girls age 10-12 will explore the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, circuits, motors, and give the girls the opportunity to hone their soldering skills.

The  Exploratorium Girls Science Institute aims to increase content knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; provide positive female role models from many disciplines of STEM; and to promote girls' interest in pursuing careers in STEM.

If you are a female engineer who is interested in sharing your love for your work with young girls and helping to encourage the next generation of female engineers, please contact Cassie Byrd at cbyrd@exploratorium.edu or by phone (415) 528-2824.

This Week's CS Seminar

»CS Seminars Calendar

Overview of CAMERA: Center for Applied Mathematics for Energy Research Applications

Monday, June 9,  12 noon - 1:30pm, NERSC OSF, Room 238

Jamie Sethian, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National

The Center for Applied Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA) is an integrated, cross disciplinary center aimed at inventing, developing, and delivering the fundamental new mathematics required to capitalize on experimental investigations at DOE User Facilities. This talk will provide an overview of the CAMERA project and discuss opportunities for collaborations with NERSC.

Link of the Week: AI Program Passes Turing Test

A computer program nick-named Eugene has passed the famous Turing Test, according to the University of Reading. Proposed by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, the test proposes a definition for true artificial intelligence: Can it be mistaken for human by at least a third of questioners? Eugene convinced 33 percent of its examiners it was a human. Skeptics, however, have pointed out that Eugene's creators may fudged a bit.  "For starters, convincing one-third of interrogators that you’re a teenager who’s speaking in a second language perhaps skews the test a bit. Was the computer that smart? Or was it a gimmick?" wrote Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post. »Read more.