Berkeley Lab's Computing and Networking Achievements
From the earliest days of scientific computing, Berkeley Lab has taken a leadership role in deploying and applying systems for research. In the 1950s, Luis W. Alvarez opened a new era in high-energy physics research with his proposal to build a pressurized chamber filled with liquid hydrogen. Known as a "bubble chamber," this device would allow scientists to discover and study new particles. In his 1955 prospectus for such a facility, Alvarez became one of the first scientists to propose using computing devices for analyzing experimental data, even before such computers were actually available. By the 1960s, Alvarez's vision was reality as Berkeley Lab researchers were using computers to track some 1.5 million particle physics events annually and developed scientific computing techniques which were adopted by researchers around the world. This effort led to Alvarez receiving the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1968.
Here are some of the Lab's other computing and networking achievements:
LBNL connects its CDC 6600 computer to ARPANET, making it the first online supercomputer.
Berkeley Lab has played a major role in creating and improving the Internet. For example, in 1985, ARPANET (the forerunner of the Internet) is collapsing due to congestion of data transmission. The TCP congestion control algorithms from Van Jacobson's 1988 paper on congestion avoidance and control become Internet standards in 1989. In 1986, the network is plagued with routing instability between the many connecting systems, resulting in many transmissions being lost. Lab experts develop a tool to trace data packets along the way, allowing routing problems to be pinpointed and corrected.
The Virtual Frog Dissection Kit website allows users to dissect a frog without all that smelly formaldehyde of high school science class. Ten years later, the site has been used by more than 15 million students in over 130 countries.
Van Jacobson and Steven McCanne of LBNL win one of R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards for developing a software toolpack that enables multiparty audio and visual conferencing via the MBone (Multicast Backbone).
Science magazine's Breakthrough of the Year is the Supernova Cosmology Project's discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating a discovery confirmed by data analysis at NERSC.
Vern Paxson of LBNL is honored at a security conference for his paper "Bro: A System for Detecting Network Intruders in Real-Time." Two years later, logs generated by Bro help the FBI convict a hacker for breaking into DOE and Department of Defense computers.
The first Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) address is assigned to ESnet, which plans to demonstrate the viability of using IPv6 to run scientific applications on the Internet.
The cover story of the December 24, 1999 issue of Science magazine reports the solution to a fundamental problem of quantum physics scattering in a quantum system of three charged particles which was computed at NERSC.
Analysis of cosmic microwave background data using NERSC computers reveals that the shape of the Universe is flat.
Upside magazine honors Deb Agarwal as one of the Top 25 Women of the Web for her work to provide reliable multicast communication for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty monitoring system.
When DOE launches its Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program, Berkeley Lab is selected as the lead lab for six projects.
NERSC helps climate scientists complete the first-ever 1,000-year run of the nation's leading climate change modeling application.
LBNL and UC Berkeley launch the Berkeley UPC compiler project to develop a portable, high performance implementation of the Unified Parallel C programming language for large-scale multiprocessors, PC clusters, and clusters of shared-memory multiprocessors.
In the Blue Planet proposal, Berkeley Lab outlines a strategy to develop science-driven computer architectures in close collaboration with vendors. This strategy is endorsed the following year in the report from a workshop on The Roadmap for the Revitalization of High End Computing. The high-bandwidth IBM Power series node architecture conceptualized in the Blue Planet proposal is adopted as the building block for the 100 teraflop/s ASCI Purple system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2004.
Berkeley Lab teams win the Network Bandwidth Challenge competition at the SC Conference on High Performance Computing and Networking three years in a row (2000, 2001, 2002), and retire from the competition undefeated.
DOE launches the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, giving three computational science projects a total of 4.9 million hours of supercomputing time at NERSC.
NetworkWeekFusion names Berkeley Lab senior network engineer Michael Bennett as one of the 50 most influential people in networking, on a list dominated by leaders of network and computer companies.
The Joint Genome Institute and the Biological Data Management and Technology Center launch a powerful data management system for microbes.
Groundbreaking combustion research by the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering is featured on cover of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Berkeley Lab researchers analyze the performance and potential of the Cell processor, a game processor with potential as a building block for high performance computers. An article about this research in HPCwire becomes the most downloaded article in the online magazine's history.
FastBit, an efficient, compressed bitmap indexing technology developed by the Scientific Data Management Research Group, outperforms MySQL, a popular open source database, in handling queries to a large database, achieving up to 1,000 times faster results.
NERSC and CRD staff members co-author a white paper called “The Landscape of Parallel Computing Research: A View from Berkeley.” Based on two years of discussions among a multidisciplinary group of researchers, this paper addresses the challenge of finding ways to make it easy to write programs that run efficiently on manycore systems.
In partnership with Internet2, ESnet4 rolls out a new cross-country 10 Gbps network, enabling researchers to send and obtain raw data and research results at a significantly faster rate and with greater reliability.
NERSC and Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division join forces to develop more cost-effective ways to cool computer centers.