A-Z Index | Phone Book | Careers

Julian Borrill Unveils Cambridge’s Cosmology Supercomputer

August 7, 2012

Jon Bashor, Jbashor@lbl.gov, 510-486-5849

SetWidth230-JulianBorrill.jpg

Julian Borrill

Julian Borrill, co-leader of the Computational Cosmology Center in the Computational Research Division, gave an invited talk at the Numerical Cosmology 2012 conference held July 17-20 in Cambridge, England, and also chaired the session in which the university’s new supercomputer was officially launched.

Professor Stephen Hawking participated in the ceremony inaugurating COSMOS, the most powerful shared-memory supercomputer in Europe. Manufactured by SGI and the first system of its kind, the COSMOS supercomputer is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council DiRAC High Performance Computing facility, a national service for UK cosmologists, astronomers and particle physicists, as well as non-academic users.

Borrill also gave a talk at the by-invitation-only event, discussing “Big Bang, Big Data, Big Iron.”

For Borrill, it was something of a homecoming. He began studying mathematics at Trinity College, eventually earning a joint degree in math and political science. His concern for social issues then led him into working in child care and union organizing. While working for a union, he would take in lectures by Hawking over lunch. The lecture series formed the basis for the book, “A Brief History of Time,” which Borrill rates as “great lectures, unreadable book.”

But the lectures did inspire him to return to academia to study science, and eventually cosmology. Borrill went on to earn master’s degrees in astrophysics and IT from Queen Mary College in London and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Sussex.

So what happens when you invite the world’s most famous physicist to a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony? “We had much better cakes and cookies at tea that afternoon,” Borrill said.


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.