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InTheLoop 12.21.2015

December 21, 2015

Berkeley Lab Scientists Publish New Method for Assessing Impact of Human-Induced Climate Change 

This is what scientists know: Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to a 1°C (2°F) increase in average global temperature over the last century. Scientists have also observed that rising regional temperatures and altered rainfall are already impacting many of Earth’s glaciers, ecosystems and human communities.

What remains unclear is how much human influence on the climate has actually contributed to these observed changes. So Gerrit Hansen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and Dáithí Stone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in California have developed and applied a methodology for answering this question. Their work was published today in Nature Climate Change.

“A large number of recent studies have revealed that observed climate trends have been impacting a range of ecological, physical, and human systems around the world, but only a handful had demonstrated the relevant climate trend was not just a natural fluctuation,” says Hansen. “We needed to develop a new analysis method that would allow us to fill in this gap.” »Read more.

Berkeley Lab, NERSC Help LUX Experiment Gain Ground in Search for Dark Matter

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment, which operates nearly a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has already proven to be the most sensitive detector in the hunt for dark matter. Now a new set of calibration techniques employed by LUX scientists has again dramatically improved the detector’s sensitivity.

Researchers with LUX are looking for WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles, which are among the leading candidates for dark matter. “We have improved the sensitivity of LUX by more than a factor of 20 for low-mass dark matter particles, significantly enhancing our ability to look for WIMPs,” said Rick Gaitskell, professor of physics at Brown University and co-spokesperson for the LUX experiment.

LUX improvements, coupled to advanced computer simulations at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and Brown University’s Center for Computation and Visualization (CCV), have allowed scientists to test additional particle models of dark matter that now can be excluded from the search. NERSC also stores terabytes of LUX data, and Berkeley Lab has a growing role in the LUX collaboration. »Read more.

CRD's Xiaoye Sherry Li Elected to SIAM Council

Sherry Li, a member of CRD’s Scalable Solvers Group, has been elected to the SIAM Council. According to the bylaws of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, “The Council shall formulate the scientific policies of SIAM, monitor its technical activities, propose new activities, and recommend action to the Board as appropriate.” In addition to 12 elected members, the council also includes the elected SIAM officers and chair of the society’s board of directors.

In her candidate statement, Li wrote that she would like to engage with the SIAM community in developing better approaches in the areas of:

  • Nurturing non-traditional areas that require cross-cutting technologies, such as analysis of experimental data from scientific instruments,
  • Facilitating closer collaboration between theoreticians and practitioners through joint appointments, conferences and publications, and
  • Providing more opportunities to involve graduate students and junior scholars, and promoting diversity.

Call Issued for FY17 LDRD Proposals

The FY 2017 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program has issued a call for proposals, with submissions due by Friday, March 25, 2016.

Computing Sciences has been identified as one of six high-priority topics for Area LDRD proposal submissions: According to the call, successful Lab-initiative related proposals will likely advance lab strategy in:

  • Exploration of Novel Computing Technologies
  • ALS-Upgrade Science and Technology
  • Microbes to Biomes
  • Water-Energy Systems at Scale
  • Quarks to Cosmos (Q2C)

The LDRD program constitutes one of the principal means to seed innovative science and new research directions. An important factor in judging proposals will be their support of competencies aligned with the Laboratory’s and DOE’s strategic directions. Multi-investigator and multi-divisional initiatives are particularly encouraged. Area proposals will be evaluated on their novelty and scientific quality and should involve higher-risk, higher-reward ideas.

All projects should have: a clearly stated problem (addressing a challenging scientific question, DOE mission, or national need), coherent objectives, and a well-considered plan for leadership, organization, and budget.

The total funding level of the FY 2017 LDRD program is estimated to be about $25M for operating and capital equipment expenses (including G&A).

The complete call, schedule, guidance, and forms will be available on the Web (http://www.lbl.gov/DIR/LDRD/). All proposals are to be submitted through a web-based submission system that can be accessed via the Call for Proposals (CFP) website, which will be set up soon.

InTheLoop Returns in 2016

Berkeley Lab will shut down for the winter holidays at close-of-business on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. We resume operations on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

Please feel free to email suggested news items or announcements for the Jan. 4 issue to cscomms@lists.lbl.gov.

Happy holidays from the Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Communications team: Jon Bashor, Kathy Kincade, Linda Vu and Margie Wylie.

No CS Seminars this Week