PCAST in California

A delegation from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) received an overview of computing programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), on Monday, Aug. 7. The group, including RENCI Director Dan Reed, toured the lab’s Terascale Simulation Facility (TSF).

Celia Merzbacher, executive director of PCAST, Floyd Kvamme, PCAST co-chair, and Reed, co-chair of the PCAST networking and IT subcommittee, received an overview of high performance computing programs from Dona Crawford, LLNL associate director for Computation, and Steve Ashby, deputy associate director and head of the Computing Applications and Research Department.

Kim Cupps, deputy division leader for High Performance Systems in Integrated Computing and Communications (ICC), discussed the technical challenges of deploying BlueGene/L, Purple and Peloton, a new system scheduled for delivery later this year. Barbara Atkinson, associate deputy department head for ICC, led a tour of the TSF.

The TSF houses two of the three most powerful supercomputers in the world, both built by IBM: BlueGene/L, the world’s fastest computing system according to the most recent Top 500 list, and Purple, the third fastest system. Both systems support the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program, a part of DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

PCAST provides guidance on science and technology issues to the administration through the Office of Science and Technology Policy and includes representatives from academia, industry, research institutions and other nongovernmental organizations. Co-chair Kvamme is a partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, a high technology venture capital firm.

Reed was named to PCAST in February and chairs the networking and IT subcommittee with George M. Scalise, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The subcommittee is examining U.S. global IT competitiveness as well as social, economic and workforce issues. It also will examine the work of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program, the multi-agency federal IT R&D effort.