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

February 7, 2008

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 CSCS Founded in 1991, CSCS is the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, providing, developing and promoting technical and scientific services for the Swiss research community in the fields of high-performance and high-throughput computing. It pioneers new information technologies, collaborates with domestic and foreign researchers, and carries out its own research in scientific computing. For more information, visit:

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.