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Leading Supercomputing Centers in Switzerland and United States to Share Staff Expertise, Experience

February 7, 2008

Contacts:
CSCS: Ladina Gilly, lgilly@cscs.ch
NERSC: Jon Bashor, jbashor@nersc.gov

MANNO, Switzerland, and BERKELEY, California—The Swiss National Computing Centre (CSCS) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have signed a memorandum of understanding for a staff exchange program between the two centers.

The agreement gives more formal structure to already existing ties between the two centers. Berkeley Lab Associate Director for Computing Sciences Horst Simon is a member of the CSCS advisory board. Both centers also share a common technological focus, having selected Cray XT supercomputers as their primary systems after thorough reviews of various systems.

Last year, a group from CSCS visited NERSC for a series of discussions about systems and facilities. Howard Walter, who oversees NERSC’s computational systems, paid a return visit in January 2008, sharing NERSC’s expertise in designing and building energy-efficient computing facilities.

“While many of us at NERSC are in frequent contact with our colleagues at other supercomputing centers in the U.S., we see this agreement as a means to broaden our outreach and perspectives,” said NERSC Director Kathy Yelick. “Our informal discussions have already yielded valuable insights. With a more formalized structure, we expect these exchanges to be even more productive.”

The two centers also play similar roles in their national research communities: CSCS is the largest supercomputing center in Switzerland and is managed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. NERSC is the U.S. Department of Energy’s flagship facility for computational science, serving 2,900 users at national laboratories and universities around the country.

“Not only do our two centers share organizational and operational similarities, but we both have the same primary goal of advancing the scientific research of our users,” said CSCS COO Dominik Ulmer. “We believe each center has a lot of expertise to share and we are looking forward to working together on new HPC technologies that will allow us to further enhance the support and services we offer our users.”

Under the agreement, staff exchanges will be arranged based on specific projects of mutual interest. Each center will continue to pay the salary and expenses of staff participating in the exchanges. According to the agreement, which was signed in late January, the goal is “sharing and furthering the scientific and technical know-how of both institutions.”


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.