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InTheLoop | 06.15.2015

June 15, 2015

What the Blank Makes Quantum Dots Blink?

Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all kinds of new technologies, ranging from paint-on lighting materials and solar cells to quantum computer chips, biological markers, and even lasers and communications technologies.

But there’s a problem: Quantum dots often blink.

University of Chicago scientists computing at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) recently probed the mysterious blinking process in silicon quantum dots using simulations. Their results, published in the February 28 issue of Nanoscale, bring scientists a step closer to understanding—and possibly remediating—the problem. »Read more.

Francesca Verdier Retires from NERSC

After nearly two decades at NERSC, Francesca Verdier is retiring, this time for real.

Verdier was department head for User Services when she announced her intention to retire about a year ago. In the interim, she has wound down her role at NERSC, serving as allocations manager while working with her replacement and handing off her many duties (official and unofficial) to other staffers.

As head of the User Services Group, Verdier established procedures to manage the consulting help desk, online information systems, training programs and the installation and maintenance of third-party and locally written software. She has always emphasized the importance of obtaining user feedback, whether by online web surveys, e-mail surveys or personal phone calls. 

On a personal note, NERSC staffers and users alike will miss her boundless, positive energy. Two examples: During NERSC's 40th anniversary celebration last year, she volunteered to organize a series of talks given by Nobel Laureates whose work involved NERSC. She was also the organizer and chief motivational officer for a long-running noon-hour exercise group at NERSC. »Read more.

NERSC Hosts Digital Stargazing Portal

Even non-scientists can now browse sky survey images hosted at NERSC. The DECam Legacy Survey has published the first in a series of web-based catalogs that will offer an update to images of the night sky originally taken with the 15-year-old camera of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In the spirit of the new information age, the survey will share frequent updates on its public website.

The Sky Viewer lets anyone with web access explore the contents of the universe, choosing between false-color image, theoretical models of the sky, or the differences between the two. Similar exploration tools exist for the image archives of Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Hubble telescope. However, these data became publicly available only after a period of restricted use by a limited group of researchers. In this case, "raw images will appear the day after they were taken, and we plan on releasing processed versions every three to six months,” says David Schlegel of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who initiated the new project together with Arjun Dey, a staff astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.“  »Try the Sky Viewer. »Read more.

Last Call: Applications for SC15 HPC Early Career Program Close June 30

Just getting started in your HPC career and looking for ways to gain traction in research funding, publishing, mentoring and more? Apply for the SC15 Early Career Program, but do it now as applications close Tuesday, June 30 (extended from April 30). The program is intended for post-docs and people in their first five years of a permanent position. »Learn more. »Apply.

This Week's CS Seminars

»CS Seminars Calendar

Research Computing at Harvard Medical School

Wednesday, June 17, 10:00 am - 11:00 am, 943-238 Conference Room, Oakland Scientific Facility
Dr. Ruilin Chu, Harvard Medical School

High performance computing(HPC) applications in the life science community shows more diversity than in the engineering and science community. In this seminar I will give an introduction about research computing(RC) at Harvard Medical School(HMS), where major HPC applications include: biomedical image processing, bio-statistics, and RNA-seq analysis, etc. I will talk about how HMS RC provides user services to meet the fast-growing computational needs from the HMS community. I will also talk about a few on-going projects on HMS’s orchestra cluster, including the implementation of LMOD module system, job efficiency monitoring and Matlab parallel computing.

CS Summer Student Talk Series

Scientific Networking: Big Data in Motion

Thursday, June 18, 11:00 am –12:00 pm, Bldg. 50F Room 1647
Eric Pouyoul, ESnet, Berkeley Lab

 Modern science is highly collaborative in nature, due to use of large and expensive devices, such as the Large Halcyon Collider, that need to be shared by researcher teams distributed across the globe. Historically the wide-area network used to be the bottleneck, but recent advances allow for much higher bandwidth. This creates new challenges to achieve the potential maximum throughput. This talk will describes the various challenges that face end-to-end high performance data transfers.

A video feed will be available in room 254 at NERSC OSF.