This month, the Palomar Transient Factory team, which includes researchers from Berkeley Lab's Computational Cosmology Center, presented historic observations of a rare Type 1a supernova progenitor system. Astronomers collected evidence indicating that the system contains a red giant star. They also show that the system previously underwent at least one smaller nova eruption before it ended its life in a destructive supernova. The event was initially detected by the PTF Real-Time Detection pipeline at NERSC. More>
Using supercomputers at NERSC, researchers designed a new type of two-dimensional polymer that allows for highly efficient separation of CO2 from the exhausts of power plants. Simulations show it is over 100 times more permeable to CO2 than the best existing materials, while simultaneously allowing relatively little nitrogen and methane gases through. As a result, it acts as a molecular filter that lets the CO2 pass through easily, while preventing other harmful greenhouse gases from escaping. More>
When exascale computers begin running simulations at speeds of a billion, billion operations each second, gaining insights from these massive datasets will be a huge challenge. Scientists may be tempted to pause the simulation, effectively "holding the machine hostage" as they scramble to create meaningful portrayals of the data, says Hank Childs, an engineer in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division, who is out to prevent that. More>
Scientists from the international Particle Data Group teamed up with computer engineers in Computational Research Division's Advanced Computing for Sciences Department to develop a web-based system that supports the PDG collaboration’s workflow, as well as an interactive online version of The Review of Particle Physics, the most complete reference to anything that is relevant in particle physics. More>
From astronomy to genomics, increasingly sophisticated instruments are producing data at staggering rates, and many scientists are struggling to find the right computational and storage strategies to deal with the deluge. To help researchers in this effort, the Department of Energy's NERSC developed a Data Intensive Computing Pilot program. More>
John Killeen, the founding director of what is now known as the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), died August 15, 2012 at age 87. Killeen led the Center from 1974 until 1990, when he retired. The Department of Energy conferred its highest honor, the Distinguished Associate Award, on Killeen in 1980 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the magnetic fusion energy program. More>
Julian Borrill, co-leader of the Computational Cosmology Center, gave an invited talk entitled "Big Bang, Big Data, Big Iron: High Performance Computing and the Cosmic Microwave Background" at the Numerical Cosmology 2012 conference held July 17–20 at Cambridge University in England.
Borrill also chaired the session in which the university’s new supercomputer, COSMOS—the most powerful shared-memory supercomputer in Europe—was officially launched. Professor Stephen Hawking participated in the ceremony inaugurating COSMOS. More>
Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Summer Students explained their projects to a lab audience during a well-attended poster session held in Perseverance Hall Thursday, August 2.
Judges awarded prizes for the best, most innovative and most original posters. "The posters were all very good; it proved difficult to narrow the award selection to only three," said Osni Marques, who coordinated the summer students program for CS. Find out who won! More>
Astronomers have for the first time observed a nova-producing system turn into a supernova, a finding that indicates the universe has more than one way to create a nova. This story quotes Peter Nugent of CRD's Computational Cosmology Group. More>
ESnet's Greg Bell is quoted in an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) announcement that it is forming a group focused on bringing wired Ethernet speeds up to where they will need to be by 2015. The IEEE is taking steps to come up with a new Ethernet standard capable of between 400 Gbps and 1 Tbps. Bell discusses the data revolution occuring in science today, and how high-performance scientific networks like ESnet are preparing for it. More>
The five-year drought in the American West that began in the last decade was the worst in 800 years. Could devastating mega-droughts (some lasting decades) be the new normal in big parts of the United States? Michael Wehner, a climate scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division, was one of three panelists who discussed this possibility last week on the National Public Radio program On Point. More>
Earlier this month, Andrew Hacker, an author and former professor of political science at Queens College in New York City, created quite a stir with a New York Times op-ed entitled "Is Algebra Necessary?" In the editorial, Hacker argues that it is no longer necessary to expect the vast majority of K-12 students to study algebra, geometr, or calculus. In their Huffington Post blog, David Bailey of Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and Jonathan Borwein of the University of Newcastle, Australia, argue that algebra is still relevant, especially for disadvantaged students. And both authors wonder whether their careers in mathematics would have been possible if their schools had “tracked” them into mathematically less-challenging courses. More>
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