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Berkeley Lab Team Receives NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award

Jet Propulsion Lab honors team for computing infrastructure at NERSC

June 11, 2010

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.

U.S. Plank team at C3 and NERSC

U.S. Plank team members Julian Borrill, Christopher Cantalupo and Theodore Kisner stand in front a map of cosmic background radiation created by the Plank infrared telescope. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

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 European 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 Berkeley Lab's Computational Research and Physics Divisions.

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, the NERSC Center 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.