Computer scientist Greg Bronevetsky and physicist Vsevolod Soukhanovskii of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have each won a Department of Energy Early Career Research Program award.

Vlad SoukhanovskiiSoukhanovskii and Bronevetsky are among 69 scientists nationwide who will receive five-year research grants funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

Bronevetsky, who works in LLNL’s Center for Applied Scientific Computing, will focus his research on reliable high-performance supercomputing, and Soukhanovskii will conduct research in the Advanced High Heat Flux Diverter Program on the National Spherical Torus Experiment. Currently on a research assignment at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, his research is important to the development of fusion as an energy source.

The new methods Bronevetsky is developing for analyzing and overcoming the component failures that inevitably occur on increasingly large, complex and powerful machines are critical to the development of next-generation peta- (quadrillions of operations per second) and exa-scale (quintillion operations per second) supercomputers.

Under the program, researchers based at DOE national laboratories, where DOE typically covers full salary and expenses of laboratory employees, grants will be at least $500,000 per year to cover year-round salary plus research expenses. Beginning with the next fiscal year, the Department’s Office of Science plans to continue the program, choosing new candidates on an annual basis, and supporting them under annual appropriations.

To be eligible for an award, a researcher must be a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory, who received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years. Research topics are required to fall within the purview of the Department’s Office of Science’s six major program offices: Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Basic Energy Sciences; Biological and Environmental Research; Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics; and Nuclear Physics.Greg Bronevetsky

Awardees were selected from a pool of 1,750 university- and national laboratory-based applicants. Selection was based on peer review by outside scientific experts.

Today the LHC circulated two beams simultaneously for the first time, allowing the operators to test the synchronization of the beams and giving the experiments their first chance to look for proton-proton collisions. With just one bunch of particles circulating in each direction, the beams can be made to cross in up to two places in the ring. From early in the afternoon, the beams were made to cross at points 1 and 5, home to the ATLAS and CMS detectors, both of which were on the look out for collisions. Later, beams crossed at points 2 and 8, ALICE and LHCb. Screens showing two beams in the LHC

“It’s a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “But we need to keep a sense of perspective – there’s still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme.”

Beams were first tuned to produce collisions in the ATLAS detector, which recorded its first candidate for collisions at 14:22 this afternoon. Later, the beams were optimised for CMS. In the evening, ALICE had the first optimization, followed by LHCb.

“This is great news, the start of a fantastic era of physics and hopefully discoveries after 20 years' work by the international community to build a machine and detectors of unprecedented complexity and performance," said ATLAS spokesperson, Fabiola Gianotti.

“The events so far mark the start of the second half of this incredible voyage of discovery of the secrets of nature,” said CMS spokesperson Tejinder Virdee.

“It was standing room only in the ALICE control room and cheers erupted with the first collisions” said ALICE spokesperson Jurgen Schukraft. “This is simply tremendous.”

“The tracks we’re seeing are beautiful,” said LHCb spokesperson Andrei Golutvin, “we’re all ready for serious data taking in a few days time.”

These developments come just three days after the LHC restart, demonstrating the excellent performance of the beam control system. Since the start-up, the operators have been circulating beams around the ring alternately in one direction and then the other at the injection energy of 450 GeV. The beam lifetime has gradually been increased to 10 hours, and today beams have been circulating simultaneously in both directions, still at the injection energy.

Next on the schedule is an intense commissioning phase aimed at increasing the beam intensity and accelerating the beams. All being well, by Christmas, the LHC should reach 1.2 TeV per beam, and have provided good quantities of collision data for the experiments’ calibrations.



CMS Event

LHCb Event


Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences has received a $9.5 million grant to create research space that will house a Collaborative Cluster in Genome Structure and Developmental Patterning in Health and Disease. The space will bring together experts in such areas as genome structure and stability, developmental and regenerative biology, and tissue engineering to focus on "genome to organism" research to advance treatment of hereditary diseases, prevent birth defects and facilitate tissue regeneration.

The design and construction will be funded with an award of $9,463,691 issued by the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"We are delighted that NIH has selected Tufts to build this cutting-edge facility," said Tufts University Provost Jamshed Bharucha. "It will enable our burgeoning biology department, co-located with faculty from other life science disciplines, to expand into new and cross-disciplinary fields of discovery."

The cluster will create integrated space at 200 Boston Avenue, Medford, for approximately 70 researchers from the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences biology department.

"These scientists will be housed in state-of-the-art space within steps of each other, which will facilitate our ability to work together to tackle problems in biology and medicine," said Professor Sergei Mirkin, Ph.D., who holds the White Family Chair in Biology.

Already located in the building are biomedical researchers from the department of biology and the School of Engineering who work together to study regenerative medicine, nanobiological structures, neural processes and biomimetic devices.

"Biologists in the cluster will be able to partner with engineers to translate research into techniques and devices to alleviate disease and heal injury," said Michael Levin, Ph.D., professor of biology and director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. Tufts' emphasis on cross-disciplinary work was an important factor in Levin's decision to come to Tufts last year.

"We also expect the cluster to intensify collaboration with math and computer science faculty and with researchers from such external organizations as Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health," said Juliet Fuhrman, Ph.D., chair of biology.

Over the next two years, Tufts will redesign office and laboratory space at 200 Boston Avenue into 16,527 square feet of wet laboratories and associated support facilities. The new space will be designed to LEED Gold certification standards.

Cummings Foundation, Inc., a private operating foundation based in Woburn, Massachusetts, owns the property at 200 Boston Avenue.

Tufts University biologists have been at the forefront of understanding the roles of both genome instability and dysregulation of normal development in human disease. They are credited with uncovering the first multistranded DNA structure (triplex H-DNA), discovering that the anomalous replication of DNA microsatellites is a common source of genome instability, and unraveling molecular mechanisms of chromosome fragility. In developmental biology, they are credited with several revolutionary approaches for the rational control of large scale patterning in eye, heart, and kidney development; limb induction; spinal cord/muscle regeneration; left right asymmetry; craniofacial patterning and nervous system development. They have made key contributions toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the biophysical multi-scale patterning control systems that guide embryonic development, regenerative repair and prevention of cancer.

Current collaborations include studies in model systems of diseases like fragile X mental retardation and Huntington's and Friedreich's ataxia, as well as the molecular modulation of natural ionic and voltage gradients to induce regeneration of vertebrate kidneys, limbs, eyes and other structures.

Two mathematicians from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have won prestigious prizes from the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) for groundbreaking work in applied math, with impacts ranging from fluid mechanics and aerodynamics to medical imaging and semiconductor manufacturing.Alexandre Chorin (left) and James Sethian

Alexandre Chorin won the 2011 ICIAM Lagrange Prize in recognition of his fundamental and original contributions to applied mathematics, fluid mechanics, statistical mechanics, and turbulence modeling. The Lagrange Prize provides international recognition to mathematicians who have made an exceptional contribution to applied mathematics throughout their career.

James Sethian won the 2011 ICIAM Pioneer Prize for his fundamental methods and algorithms that have had a large impact in imaging and shape recovery in medicine, geophysics and tomography, and drop dynamics in inkjets. The Pioneer Prize recognizes pioneering work introducing applied mathematical methods and scientific computing techniques to an industrial problem area or a new scientific field.

The awards, announced today by the ICIAM, bring to Berkeley Lab two of the five math prizes the organization awards every four years. The ICIAM is composed of many of the national and international associations of professional mathematicians concerned with applications.

Chorin is a senior scientist with the Mathematics Group of Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and a University Professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. Sethian heads the Mathematics Group of Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. They are two of the world’s foremost applied mathematicians and have spent most of their careers at Berkeley.

“These awards recognize the immense influence that Alexandre’s and James’ research has had on applied math as well as many scientific disciplines and industrial applications,” says Horst Simon, Deputy Director of Berkeley Lab. “The awards are also a testament to Berkeley Lab’s worldwide leadership in applied math, benefitting society and solving some of our most urgent scientific challenges.”

Chorin’s contributions span computational mathematics, fluid mechanics, statistical mechanics, and turbulence

In a career that spans nearly 50 years, Chorin introduced mathematical and computational methods for solving problems in science and engineering. He has applied his methods to understanding water flow in oceans and lakes, flow in turbines and engines, combustion, and blood flow in the heart and veins.

He invented techniques in the mid 1960s that were the first practical and accurate methods for approximating the full Navier–Stokes equations, which stand at the basis of the most popular codes in computational fluid mechanics.

Chorin followed this with the invention and design of vortex methods, for which he was given the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Award in Applied Mathematics and Numerical Analysis in 1989. These techniques made possible the modeling of the complex mixing and instabilities of turbulent flow.

More recently, Chorin developed methods for distilling fundamental properties buried in noisy and uncertain data. One application is designed to extract biological information from satellite imagery of the ocean.

The ICIAM news release states, “Beginning with his pioneering work 40 years ago, Chorin developed some of the key mathematical and algorithmic ideas that underlie many of the most powerful computer codes in computational fluid dynamics, by blending mathematical intuition, physical insight and a deep attention to practical implementation.”

His many awards include Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics from the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, which he received in 2000. He was honored with the title of University Professor by the Regents of the University of California in 2002. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Chorin, 72, was born in Poland and grew up Israel and Switzerland. He received his PhD from the Courant Institute of New York University in 1966 and joined Berkeley Lab in 1975.

Sethian’s contributions range from fluid interfaces to computer chips

For the past three decades, Sethian has built mathematical and computational tools to tackle pressing problems in fields such as medical imaging, seismic imaging, combustion calculations, computer chip manufacturing, and inkjet printing.

The broad reach of his applications stem from his pioneering work on the computer representation of the motion of curves, surfaces, interfaces, and wave fronts, for which he was awarded the Norbert Wiener Prize in 2004.

According to the ICIAM news release announcing the award, the level set method pioneered by Sethian and Stanley Osher has had a major impact in a wide range of fields and is one of the most used algorithms of the past few decades.

Sethian’s mathematical algorithms for modeling etching and deposition in the manufacture of computer chips are now an indispensable part of industrial semiconductor fabrication simulations throughout the world.

Sethian’s algorithms for imaging and shape recovery are found throughout medical and biological imaging technologies, including imaging workstations that quantify cardiac motion and efficiency.

He developed tools for solving Hamilton–Jacobi equations with applications in geophysics and tomography, currently in use by the petroleum industry. He also developed numerical methods for inkjet dynamics and combustion processes.

The ICIAM news release adds, “This extraordinary range of successes is made possible by Sethian’s unparalleled eagerness to learn thoroughly the engineering aspects of problems he works on, the accuracy and depth of his feeling for mathematical structure, and his broad mathematical knowledge. His body of work is emblematic of what an applied mathematician should aspire to achieve.”

Sethian, 56, was born in Washington, D.C. He earned his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 and joined Berkeley Lab in 1985. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The prizes will be awarded at the International Congress for Industrial and Applied Mathematics next July in Vancouver, Canada.

Chorin’s and Sethian’s research has been funded in part by the Department of Energy’s Applied Mathematics program, which is part of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California.  It conducts unclassified scientific research for DOE’s Office of Science and is managed by the University of California. Visit our Website.

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International Innovation Experiment Validates ROI of Competitive Software Development as New Model for America's Space Agency

TopCoder has announced the success of a pilot competition that tasked its global community of software programmers with helping to develop the next generation of capabilities NASA will need for its crews to live and work in space. Conducted by Harvard Business School and London Business School/MLab, the NASA-TopCoder Challenge asked TopCoder members to create improved mathematical algorithms to determine the optimal contents of medical kits for future human exploration missions.  The experiment delivered a cost effective set of improvements to a critical NASA Space Life Science Directorate application, which will be used to reduce the risk associated with manned space flight.

Overall, TopCoder members delivered 2,833 distinct code submissions during the course of the competition and produced numerous enhanced solutions that NASA will adapt for use in its International Space Station missions as soon as early next year. Among the 1,095 participating, top solution providers were Blazde of the UK, Chokudai and Imazato of Japan, Marcadian of Indonesia and WLeite of Brazil. The competition offered $24,000 in cash prizes.

Professor Karim Lakhani of Harvard Business School and Professor Kevin Boudreau of London Business School/MLab joined with TopCoder and NASA to help design the experiment and monitored and analyzed the TopCoder Marathon Match competition output and results from a distributed innovation perspective. The pilot research project was funded by grants from the London Business School/MLab and the Harvard Business School.

The NASA-TopCoder Challenge was the first time the TopCoder community of more than 250,000 software enthusiasts was utilized by NASA.  Long-duration human exploration missions such as those being planned for the International Space Station, Moon, and Mars, will require higher levels of pre-planning and more analysis of available data than ever before. Physiologic modeling applications and mission simulation programs are algorithmically-intensive as flight surgeons and mission planners explore and evaluate medical scenarios that might occur on long-duration missions. Categories for analysis included Mass, Volume, Probability of Evacuation, Crew Health Index (a NASA derived number that measures the quality of crew life), and probability of loss of crew. In this experiment, competitors developed algorithms to help NASA's flight surgeons make decisions involved with optimizing the contents of the medical supplies kit that may one day be carried onboard long-duration space missions. The submissions were compared with the results of an existing computer model that has simulated the expected medical occurrences and outcomes for various mission scenarios.

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