NERSC User News

NERSC User News

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A weekly podcast aimed at NERSC users, featuring the latest center news and discussions of interesting HPC topics with experts from NERSC. Produced by the NERSC User Engagement Group.


Introducing the IRIS System; Gabor Torok and Mark Day Interview
Oct 7 • 13 min
In this episode we introduce the new IRIS allocation banking and identity and access management system that NERSC has developed to replace NIM. Learn from NERSC Infrastructure Services Group’s Gabor Torok and Mark Day about how the system was built, the…
Monitoring System Performance; Eric Roman Interview
Sep 23 • 16 min
In this interview with NERSC Computational Systems Group’s Eric Roman, learn about how NERSC is monitoring the performance of our systems, what we’re doing with that data, and how we plan to use it in the future.
The Superfacility Concept; Debbie Bard Interview
Sep 9 • 19 min
In this interview with NERSC Data Science Engagement Group Lead Debbie Bard, learn about the superfacility concept: what it means, how facilities interact, and what NERSC and partner experimental facilities are doing to prepare for the future of…
Optimizing I/O in Applications; Jialin Liu Interview
Aug 19 • 18 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Data Analytics Engineer Jialin Liu, learn about a case study on I/O optimization, in which the team took the Etalumis learning application from spending 75% of its time on I/O down to spending only 5% of its time on I/O.
ERCAP Allocation Requests; Clayton Bagwell Interview
Aug 12 • 10 min
Learn about ERCAP, the allocation request process for NERSC, which opens today (August 12), in this interview with NERSC allocations and account support specialist Clayton Bagwell.
Roofline Model for Application Performance; Charlene Yang Interview
Jul 29 • 12 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Specialist Charlene Yang, learn about the roofline model for application performance: what it is and how it works, how to use it to improve your application’s performance, and future directions in…
Parallelware Trainer; Manuel Arenaz Interview
Jul 8 • 23 min
In this interview with Appentra Solutions CEO and co-founder Manuel Arenaz, learn about the Appentra Parallelware Trainer tool: how it can help you learn to code with OpenMP and OpenACC, the features of the tool, and how to use it on Cori.
July Power Outage; Ben Maxwell Interview
Jul 1 • 17 min
In this interview with NERSC Building Infrastructure Group lead Ben Maxwell, learn about the mechanical substation work that will take NERSC offline the last weekend of July: what it’s for, what work will be performed, and how NERSC plans these events.
NERSC User Group; Richard Gerber Interview
Jun 17 • 11 min
Learn about the NERSC User Group (NUG), the upcoming NUG annual meeting (July 19, 2019 in Rockville, MD), and what NUG can do for you in this interview with NERSC HPC Department Head Richard Gerber.
Containers in HPC; Shane Canon Interview
Jun 10 • 20 min
Learn all about containers, how people are using them at NERSC, and how to get started with them yourself, in this interview with NERSC Data Analytics and Services Group’s Shane Canon!
Jupyter at NERSC; Rollin Thomas Interview
Jun 3 • 13 min
Learn about Jupyter at NERSC: what it is, how it works, and what people are using it for, as well as plans for the future of Jupyter at NERSC, in this interview with the NERSC Data and Analytics Services Group’s Rollin Thomas.
Profiling Codes with Cray Performance Tools; Heidi Poxon Interview
May 20 • 24 min
In this interview with Cray senior principal engineer and senior manager in programming environments Heidi Poxon, learn about why you would want to profile your code, what kind of differences you might see in performance on different architectures, and…
KNL Office Hours; Jack Deslippe Interview
May 6 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Group Lead Jack Deslippe, learn about NERSC’s KNL Office Hours (held every Friday in May from 9 am to 3 pm Pacific): why we’re holding them, what users can join in to get help with, and the advantages…
Community GPU Hackathon; Kevin Gott Interview
Apr 29 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Specialist Kevin Gott, learn about the upcoming community GPU hackathon NERSC will be hosting in July: what it’s about, what happens at a hackathon, and how to apply (due date May 15)!
Edison Retirement; Zhengji Zhao Interview
Apr 22 • 13 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Consultant Zhengji Zhao, learn the detailed schedule for Edison’s retirement, a little Edison history, and how NERSC is helping you get prepared for running your codes on Cori KNL with KNL Office Hours (starting this…
IDEAS PSIP Process; Elsa Gonsiorowski Interview
Apr 15 • 13 min
In this interview with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory HPC I/O Specialist Elsa Gonsiorowski, learn about the Productivity and Sustainability Improvement Planning (PSIP) process originating from the IDEAS productivity project, how it can work for…
IDEAS-Productivity Project; David Bernholdt Interview
Apr 8 • 14 min
In this interview with David Bernholdt, a distinguished R&D staff member and leader of the Computer Science Research group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, learn about the IDEAS Productivity project: its goal of increasing productivity for HPC software…
High-Impact Science at Scale on Cori Program; Brandon Cook Interview
Apr 1 • 10 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Application Specialist Brandon Cook, learn about the High-Impact Science at Scale on Cori program: what it’s for, how to apply, and what to do if you aspire to run at large scale but you’re not quite ready yet.
Deep Learning for Science Summer School; Mustafa Mustafa Interview
Mar 18 • 14 min
In this episode, NERSC Data and Analytics Services Group’s Machine Learning Engineer Mustafa Mustafa discusses the upcoming Deep Learning for Science (DL4Sci) Summer School (https://dl4sci-school.lbl.gov/) hosted by Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area…
Building Management, Ernie Jew Interview
Mar 11 • 12 min
In this episode, meet NERSC Assistant Building Manager Ernie Jew, who helps make sure that the facilities at NERSC run smoothly. Find out about what his job entails, what special skills he brings to NERSC, and how he spent eight summers at Yellowstone…
Open-Source Software, Aditi Gaur Interview
Mar 4 • 15 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Systems Engineer Aditi Gaur, learn about the pros and cons of using open-source software, how to get started contributing to an open-source project, and how to make your own project open source!
The NERSC Data Collect, Tom Davis Interview
Feb 24 • 17 min
In this interview with NERSC Operations Technology Group’s Tom Davis, learn about why NERSC started collecting data on its machines, what sort of data NERSC collects, and how NERSC uses that data to diagnose issues on its machines and in the machine room.
HPC Networks Research at NERSC, Taylor Groves Interview
Feb 18 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Architecture and Performance Engineer Taylor Groves, find out what’s happening in the HPC networks research area, how Perlmutter’s network will be better than what we have today, and what you can do to get better network…
Energy Efficiency and Environmental Consciousness at NERSC, Norm Bourassa Interview
Feb 11 • 30 min
In this interview with Berkeley Lab’s Building Technologies and Urban Systems Division principal engineering associate and building energy efficiency expert Norm Bourassa, learn about how NERSC assures that our machines are operating at peak efficiency…
Perlmutter Facilities Work, Ben Maxwell Interview
Feb 4 • 20 min
In this interview with Berkeley Lab construction project director Ben Maxwell, learn about all the facilities work to prepare for the arrival of Perlmutter. Find out how much power and cooling is being added to the machine room, how the earthquake…
Getting a Machine from Contract to Reality, Tina Declerck Interview
Jan 21 • 19 min
In this interview with NERSC Systems Department Head Tina Declerck, find out what’s required to go from a contract with a vendor to a supercomputer in production for users.
A Day in the Control Room, Interview with Owen James
Jan 14 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC Site Reliability Engineer Owen James, learn about what it’s like in the Operations Control Room, what the Operations Technology Group is responsible for, and the tools they use to keep the systems up and running for you!
NERSC Year in Review and Looking Forward, Sudip Dosanjh Interview
Jan 7 • 18 min
NERSC Director Sudip Dosanjh discusses the highlights of 2018 at NERSC, as well as what NERSC is looking forward to in the next year and beyond.
Performance Portability on Perlmutter, Doug Doerfler Interview
Dec 17, 2018 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC architecture and performance engineer Doug Doerfler, learn about what NERSC is doing to plan for the next NERSC machine, why performance portability is vital for code development teams who want their application to run on…
NESAP and Grace Hopper Postdoc Programs, Brian Friesen Interview
Dec 10, 2018 • 10 min
In this episode, Application Performance Specialist Brian Friesen discusses the postdoctoral fellowships at NERSC. Find out how you can join NERSC as a postdoc, either working in the NESAP program to prepare codes for Perlmutter, or as the Grace Hopper…
NESAP Postdocs, Laurie Stephey Interview
Dec 3, 2018 • 11 min
In this interview with NERSC NESAP postdoc Laurie Stephey, learn what NESAP postdocs do, how Laurie optimizes Python code for the DESI project, and what it’s like to be a NESAP postdoc!
Multi-Factor Authentication at NERSC, Abe Singer Interview
Nov 26, 2018 • 20 min
In this interview with NERSC security specialist Abe Singer, learn about NERSC’s plans for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), discover what will happen when MFA becomes mandatory in the new allocation year, and hear answers to some frequently asked user…
NESAP Program, Brandon Cook Interview
Nov 12, 2018 • 10 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Specialist Brandon Cook, learn about the NERSC Exascale Scientific Applications Program (NESAP), the benefits of participation, and how you can participate (as a code team or a recent graduate looking…
NERSC-9 (Perlmutter), Interview with Jay Srinivasan and Nick Wright
Nov 5, 2018 • 10 min
In this interview with NERSC-9 project manager Jay Srinivasan and chief architect Nick Wright, learn about the new machine arriving at the end of 2020, why it was named Perlmutter, and the new features of the machine that users will especially like.
Large-Scale Jobs at NERSC, David Trebotich Interview
Oct 29, 2018 • 25 min
In this interview with Berkeley Lab Computational Research Division staff scientist and prolific NERSC user David Trebotich, learn what all those big jobs of his are for, what makes running at full-machine scale challenging, and pick up some tips from…
Security at NERSC, Craig Lant Interview
Oct 22, 2018 • 20 min
In this interview with NERSC Security Engineer Craig Lant, learn about how NERSC keeps our machines safe, the unique security challenges in high-performance computing, and an exciting opportunity to join our team!
Superfacility, Katie Antypas Interview
Oct 15, 2018 • 20 min
In this interview with Division Deputy and Data Department Head Katie Antypas, learn about what a superfacility is, how NERSC is helping users from experimental facilities to analyze their data, and what challenges lie ahead!
NERSC Filesystems, Lisa Gerhardt Interview
Oct 8, 2018 • 21 min
Learn about the various filesystems available at NERSC, which filesystem to use when, and how HPSS accounting works in this interview with NERSC HPC Data Consultant Lisa Gerhardt.
PGAS Programming Models, Brian Friesen Interview
Oct 1, 2018 • 16 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Specialist Brian Friesen, learn what PGAS means, how using a PGAS programming model could benefit you, and how to get started with PGAS.
ERCAP, Clayton Bagwell Interview
Sep 24, 2018 • 8 min
In this interview, NERSC Allocations and Account Support specialist Clayton Bagwell discusses the ERCAP process. Learn what ERCAP stands for, find out the latest developments in the ERCAP system, and how to get help if you’re struggling with your ERCAP…
Latest MFA Developments at NERSC, Abe Singer Interview
Sep 17, 2018 • 17 min
This week NERSC Security Analyst Abe Singer returns to the show to discuss the latest developments with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) at NERSC. Tune in to hear about sshproxy (a NERSC-developed utility for generating ssh keys with MFA that can be used…
Machine Learning at Scale, Thorsten Kurth Interview
Sep 10, 2018 • 17 min
In this interview with NERSC Application Performance Specialist Thorsten Kurth, learn about some interesting applications of machine learning to science, why some of the most interesting applications require computing at scale, and hear Thorsten’s…
Software Development Best Practices, Gabor Torok Interview
Sep 4, 2018 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC Infrastructure Services Group’s Gabor Torok, learn about best practices for software development, what kinds of skills are important for an effective software engineer, and how Gabor went from scientific illustrator to…
Burst Buffer, Dave Paul Interview
Aug 27, 2018 • 10 min
In this interview with the Computational Systems Group’s Dave Paul, learn about what a burst buffer is, why you would want to use it, and how to use the burst buffer on Cori!
Software Management with Spack, Mario Melara Interview
Aug 20, 2018 • 9 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Consultant Mario Melara, learn about NERSC’s management of the software we install for users with Spack, opportunities for getting involved with the growing Spack community, and how Mario went from driving a bus to being a…
Variable-Time Jobs, Zhengji Zhao Interview
Aug 13, 2018 • 10 min
In this interview with NERSC HPC Consultant Zhengji Zhao of the User Engagement Group, learn about what variable-time jobs are, what they can be used for, and how to run them on NERSC resources!
Science at NERSC, Interview with Richard Gerber
Aug 6, 2018 • 14 min
In this interview with NERSC’s Richard Gerber, learn about the types of scientific research going on at NERSC, why computers are used for scientific research, and how a sports writer ended up becoming the senior science advisor at NERSC!
NERSC Project Management, Interview with Becci Totzke
Jul 30, 2018 • 8 min
In this episode, learn about what it takes for NERSC to bring you a new supercomputer!
Future Storage Systems, Interview with Glenn Lockwood
Jul 23, 2018 • 19 min
In this interview with NERSC’s Glenn Lockwood, learn why the outlook for storage systems is rosy for the next several years, how flash storage works, and what NERSC has in common with Netflix!
Slurm and Job Scheduling, Doug Jacobsen Interview
Jul 16, 2018 • 27 min
Listen in to find out why NERSC switched to Slurm as its batch system and job scheduler, how Slurm schedules jobs, and how you can get jobs through the queue faster in this interview with NERSC Computational Systems Group lead Doug Jacobsen.
Spin, Interview with Cory Snavely and Val Hendrix
Jul 9, 2018 • 16 min
Spin is NERSC’s new service platform to be used as a complement to computational tasks. In this interview with NERSC Infrastructure Services Group Lead Cory Snavely and Berkeley Lab computer systems engineer Val Hendrix, find out more about what Spin is,…
Scratch Purge, Interview with Kirill Lozinskiy
Jul 2, 2018 • 10 min
In this episode, learn about the scratch filesystems available to NERSC users, why we purge them, and how the purge is performed in this interview with NERSC HPC Storage Systems Analyst Kirill Lozinskiy.
Identity and Access Management, Interview with Mark Day
Jun 25, 2018 • 9 min
Learn what Identity and Access Management (IAM) is, how NERSC uses it to manage our many users, and our plans for the future, including the potential to enable you to use your institutional identity instead of having to memorize yet another username and…
August Electrical Maintenance and Jeff Broughton Interview
Jun 18, 2018 • 7 min
Find out more about the maintenance that will bring NERSC offline the weekend of August 18 and 19! Learn what a switchgear is, why it’s important, and how NERSC tries to minimize disruptive outages for users in this interview with NERSC Deputy for…
Performance Portability and Jack Deslippe Interview
Jun 11, 2018 • 11 min
Learn what performance portability is, what makes it so difficult to achieve, and tools and programming environments that can help in this interview with NERSC’s application performance group leader, Jack Deslippe.
Python at NERSC and Rollin Thomas Interview
Jun 4, 2018 • 10 min
Learn about how some users are using Python in their daily workflows, what a Jupyter notebook is, and how to get the best Python performance at NERSC in this interview with NERSC data architect Rollin Thomas.
Archive Storage System and Wayne Hurlbert Interview
May 28, 2018 • 21 min
Learn about NERSC’s Archive HPSS system: what it is, how it works, and how NERSC plans to relocate the data on it from Oakland to the main Berkeley Lab campus!
Deep Learning and Debbie Bard Interview
May 21, 2018 • 15 min
Learn about what deep learning is, how it can benefit your science, and what Debbie Bard (who leads NERSC’s Data Science Engagement Group) has in common with some of the biggest-name bands in the world!
MFA & Abe Singer Interview
May 14, 2018 • 17 min
Find out all about multi-factor authentication (MFA) at NERSC, as well as the name of the podcast theme song, in this interview with NERSC security analyst Abe Singer.
May Quarterly Maintenance & James Botts Interview
May 7, 2018 • 12 min
A summary of the May quarterly maintenance, plus an interview with NERSC system administrator James Botts on why it takes so long to upgrade the operating system on a supercomputer.