A-Z Index | Phone Book | Careers

Berkeley Lab Wins Network Challenge at SC2000

November 14, 2000

The Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences organization again demonstrated its achievements and leadership in high-performance computing and networking at the annual SC conference held last week in Dallas.

The SC conference, formerly known as Supercomputing, drew 5,200 attendees and 153 exhibitors, including vendors and research organizations, such as the DOE labs. Berkeley Lab’s booth highlighted the release of new software, the development of technologies to advance DOE’s Science Grid linking computers and facilities around the country, and applications for computational science. Traffic at the booth was the highest in the Lab’s participation in the past six conferences.

“This year we focused on those areas where we have recognized leadership and used computer demonstrations, informative posters and a strong lineup of technical talks in our booth to reinforce our leadership position,” said NERSC Division Director Horst Simon. “Based on comments from DOE program managers, conference attendees and our own staff, this was our most successful SC to date.”

Highlights of Lab participation at the conference included:

A Berkeley Lab team made up of Brian Tierney, Wes Bethel, Jason Lee and Dan Gunter won the “Fastest and Fattest” prize for best overall performance in the SC2000 Network Challenge for Bandwidth-Intensive Applications. In demonstrating Visapult, Bethel’s prototype application and framework for remote visualization of terascale datasets, the team recorded a peak performance level of 1.48 gigabits per second over a five-second period. Overall, the team transferred 262 gigabits of data in 60 minutes from LBNL to the SC2000 show floor in Dallas

Another winner in the Network Challenge, taking top honors as the “Hottest Infrastructure” application, was a team representing the University of Southern California/Information Sciences Institute and Argonne, Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, with help from Berkeley Lab’s Arie Shoshani and Alex Sim, running “A Data Management Infrastructure for Climate Modeling Research.”

Berkeley Lab released three software packages at the conference and all 300 copies were gone within two days.

The first package, Berkeley Lab AMR, or Adaptive Mesh Refinement, serves as a “numerical microscope,” allowing researchers to “zoom in” on the specific regions of a problem that are most important to its solution. AMR has been under development for 15 years by scientists in NERSC’s Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering and Applied Numerical Algorithms Group (ANAG). The Visualization Group has also been actively working with ANAG on developing a new AMR visualization tool.

The second software package, developed by NERSC’s Future Technology Group, contains M-VIA and MVICH, two pieces of software to allow very high performance over cluster networks.

The third software package was Akenti, an authorization system designed to address issues raised by granting users access to distributed computing and networking resources controlled by multiple stakeholders.

 NERSC Deputy Division Director Bill Kramer led the design and deployment of a network with massive connectivity to support high-bandwidth applications at the conference. The conference network, called SCinet, offered a combined capacity more than 196,000 times faster than a typical residential Internet connection and 200 times as fast as the connections used by many universities. Kramer was interviewed for the regional edition of the Wall Street Journal and by local television and radio news reporters.

LBNL scientists also presented three papers at the conference. NERSC’s Adrian Wong, Lenny Oliker, Bill Kramer and David Bailey presented “ESP: A System Utilization Benchmark;” The Visapult team (see above) spoke on “Using High-Speed WANs and Network Data Caches to Enable Remote and Distributed Visualization;” and Bill Johnston was a co-author of “Computing and Data Grids for Science and Engineering.”

A fourth paper, "A Comparison of Three Programming Models for Adaptive Applications on the Origin 2000," by Hongzhang Shan of Princeton University and co-authored by NERSC's Lenny Oliker, was recognized as Best Student Paper at SC2000.


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 6,000 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 DOE 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.