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Berkeley Lab Team Receives NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award

June 11, 2010

Contact: Linda Vu, lvu@lbl.gov, 510-495-2402

From top to bottom: Jullian Borrill, Christopher Cantalupo and Theodore Kisner

From top to bottom: Jullian Borrill, Christopher Cantalupo and Theodore Kisner

Three scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab) Computational Cosmology Center (C3) are being honored with a NASA Public Service Group Award for developing the supercomputing infrastructure for the U.S. Planck Team’s data and analysis operations at the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

The award will be presented to current C3 members Julian Borrill, Christopher Cantalupo and Theodore Kisner, as well as former members Sara Ricciardi, Federico Stivoli and Radek Stomporon on June 15, 2010 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. All three researchers are also members of the U.S. Planck Team. The NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award honors a group's outstanding accomplishment that has contributed substantially to a NASA mission.

The European Space Agency's Planck satellite— in which NASA is a major partner— is currently gathering the most detailed observations ever made of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), which is essentially the leftover light from the Big Bang that permeates our universe. Transforming these observations into maps of the CMB is a very significant computational challenge in which NERSC’s supercomputers play a leading role. Computing is so critical to the U.S. contribution to the mission that NASA and DOE have entered into a unique Interagency Implementation Agreement guaranteeing Planck long-term access to NERSC resources.

"The CMB is our most valuable resource for understanding fundamental physics and the origins of the universe. We have spent much of the last decade getting the Planck data analysis infrastructure set up at NERSC, and getting this award is really a great honor to our work," says Borrill.

In addition to developing and maintaining the massively parallel software for processing and analyzing data collected by the Planck's high- and low-frequency instruments, the C3 scientists also work closely with NERSC staff to ensure that both the data and the mission-specific and general CMB analysis tools are available on all of the facility's platforms and accessible to all members of the U.S. Planck Team.

The Berkeley Lab team is also named on a second award to the US Planck Data Analysis team for outstanding participation as a partner with Euopean colleagues in conceiving and implementing the overall data analysis strategy for the Planck mission.

For more information about NERSC's legacy of computational cosmology, please read:

C3 is a joint center of the Berkeley Lab's Computational Research and Physics Divisions.

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.