NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years


March 1, 2008


An article on the role and successes of the SciDAC Outreach  Center, which is run by NERSC researcher David Skinner,  appeared in a recent issue of Scientific Computing magazine.  

David Skinner

 SciDAC (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing)  is a DOE Office of Science program that supports the development of software tools for tackling research using terascale  computers. The Outreach Center, launched last year, serves as  a clearinghouse for software tools and information for scientists  who use or conduct research on high-performance systems. It  also facilitates exchanges between various SciDAC research  centers and the rest of the scientific community. 

For example, the Outreach Center has helped the Applied Partial Differential  Equation Center (APDEC) to promote and distribute its software. The tools developed by APDEC are being used in areas such as fusion energy, combustion,  astrophysics and oceanography.  

In another instance, the Outreach Center worked with a database equipment  company that wanted to know more about how their technology could benefit the  research community. The Outreach Center connected the company with scientists  who might be interested in using the technology.  

“Whether it is bringing new talent to HPC (high performance computing), delivering HPC resources to new audiences, or incorporating new technologies into  DOE’s HPC portfolio, the SciDAC Outreach Center is there as a broker between  resources and needs to help get computing done,” wrote Skinner in the article,  titled “Reaching Out to the Next Generation of HPC Users.” Skinner also heads  the Open Software and Programming Group at NERSC.  

Read the article to learn more about the Outreach Center.


Bill Kramer

NERSC General  Manager Bill Kramer  will be a keynote  speaker at the Storage  Networking World  Conference next month  in Florida, presenting  the technology and  services provided by  NERSC for archiving scientific data.  Computerworld, a technology maga- zine and website, is hosting the conference.

In his talk, titled “NERSC —  Extreme Storage and Computation for  Science,” Kramer will discuss the storage, networking and computational  requirements for the computer center.  He will describe the current and future  deployments of the NERSC Global  Filesystem, a key component in the  center’s strategy to provide an integrated set of systems and services for  handling petabytes of data in a highly  parallel environment. 

The conference features a diverse  set of speakers, including Jim Swartz,  Chief Information Officer at Sybase,  and Laura Campbell, Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives at the  Library of Congress.  

The conference will take place in  Orlando from April 7–10. Kramer will  speak on April 9, and you can learn more  by checking out the conference agenda.


The SciDAC Outreach Center, headed  by NERSC’s David Skinner, presented  talks about high-performance computing  tools in a workshop sponsored by the  DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) and the Interagency Working Group on Metabolic  Engineering.  

The four-day workshop in February was  called “Joint Genomics: GTL Awardee  Workshop VI and Metabolic Engineering  2008 and USDA-DOE Plant Feedstock  Genomics for Bioenergy Awardee  Workshop 2008.” DOE’s Genomics:GTL  research program aims to understand the  abilities of plants and microbes that  enable clean energy generation, toxic  waste cleanup and other environmental  benefits.

The SciDAC Outreach Center organized a half-day workshop for identifying  computational resources that would  benefit researchers in the new bioenergy research centers, announced last  year by DOE Secretary of Energy  Sameul Bodman and administered by  BER. Berkeley Lab is one of the six  organizations that will run the DOE  Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), which  is one of the three bioenergy research  centers and is expected to receive  $125 million in funding over five years.  

Skinner, head of NERSC’s Open  Software and Programming Group,  spoke about “Grid Based Management  and Parallel Molecular Dynamics  Simulations.” Kathy Yelick, director of  NERSC, discussed “NERSC Systems  and Services.” Wes Bethel, head of the  NERSC’s Analytics Team and the SciDAC  Visualization and Analytic Center for  Enabling Technologies, presented  “Analysis of 3D Gene Expression Data.”  

In addition, Nagiza Samatova from  the SciDAC Scientific Data Management  Center talked about “Scientific Data  Management: Technologies and  Applications.” Ruth Pordes from the  Open Science Grid (OSG) gave a talk  about the OSG.  

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.