The use of e-Infrastructures is enabling a new wave of collaborative scientific research through remote access to computing services, instrumentation and resources bringing “real-world” benefits that impact our daily lives. The Conference on e-Infrastructures across the Mediterranean, 30-31 March 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, builds on the success of the previous EU-Med Events and marks an important step to progressing collaboration between countries of the Mediterranean region and European Union (EU) in the field of e-Infrastructures and networking for research and education.

These advanced, multi-layered platforms spanning networking, storage, supercomputing & grids, and access to shared scientific data not only help researchers to tackle scientific problems more effectively but also engender new scientific communities to work on similar challenges irrespective of their geographical location. Economies of scale can and need to be a cornerstone in the e-Infrastructure landscape, fostering further development and reaping rewards now and in the future.

This Conference brings together invited policy makers and civil servants from relevant ministries and institutions, executives and officials from international organisations such as the European Commission, the Arab League, UN agencies, private companies and foundations, as well as representatives from the user community to deliver insights into the state of play and future perspectives, define what is needed to further collaborative work on research and education and deliberate high-level policy issues. The event is by invitation only and organised and sponsored by three European funded projects chartered with fostering the creation of e-Infrastructures through important inter-related activities:

  •  EUMEDCONNECT2 (, a research network that connects Europe with Africa, the Mediterranean rim and the Middle East.
  • EUMEDGRID-Support (, promoting the deployment of e-Infrastructures, and supporting existing and new applications, policy development and training.
  • GÉANT ( a world-leading pan-European research network, bringing together at gigabit speeds the networks of the national entities, NRENs, which are collectively represented by TERENA (Trans-European Research & Education Networking Association –

Programme agenda:

Venue: International Auditorium

Event website:

Appointment leverages strong technical sales leadership to accelerate market transition to the all flash data center

Violin Memory has announced that Said Ouissal has been named the new head of Violin’s Worldwide Field Operations.

Since joining the company in early 2014, Ouissal had been Violin’s senior vice president of Product Management and Strategy, and managed its worldwide team of System Engineers.  He replaces Tom Mitchell who will stay with the company and work closely with Ouissal and Violin’s leadership team to execute a seamless transition.

“Said Ouissal’s technical acumen and customer engagement experience will provide our global sales force with strategic IT insight shared by very few in our industry,” said Kevin DeNuccio, president and CEO at Violin Memory. “As Violin delivers its all flash technology solutions, replacing traditional primary, disk-based storage in the data center, Ouissal is uniquely qualified to align customer requirements with the transition to an all flash data center.”

At their annual meeting, the Subaru Users community and their representative endorsed the IPMU-led proposal to build a multi-object spectrograph (PrimeFocusSpectrograph or PFS) as the next new instrument on Subaru.  On Subaru, PFS will be the most powerful spectrograph in the world capable of simultaneously studying thousands of galaxies.  The Subaru telescope is unique among the largest telescopes in the world because of its wide field of view, about a thousand times that of the Hubble Space Telescope. PFS will complement imaging survey with HyperSuprimeCam (HSC), a new digital camera with 0.9 billion pixels and heavier than 3 tons whose construction is well underway. The new proposal came from Hitoshi Murayama (IPMU, Tokyo & Berkeley) as the principal investigator aiming at deciphering mysterious dark energy that is believed to comprise 73% of the Universe today and to determine its fate. PFS would also allow for detailed studies of evolution of galaxies from their birth, the productive period of star formation, to their mature stage now. The proposal is based on a close collaboration of IPMU with ASIAA Taiwan, Caltech, Laboratory of Astrophysics Marseille, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Princeton University, the Hawaii Observatory of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, and University of São Paolo.

 Dark Energy was discovered in 1990s and completely changed our view of the Universe. It is ripping the Universe apart, accelerating its expansion. Depending on its precise nature, it may end the Universe by ripping the galaxies down to elementary particles. There are many observational projects around the world trying to determine the nature of dark energy, and hence the fate of the Universe. They are categorized as “Stage III” projects because of their superior precisions compared to previous generations of measurements. The world astrophysics community is engaged in preparing for the ultimate “Stage IV” projects, and the recent report from the US National Research Council “Astro 2010” emphasizes the critical importance of such projects.

PrimeFocusSpectrograph (PFS) on the Subaru telescope was proposed as a “Stage IV” project on dark energy to start data taking later this decade. The Subaru Users met at the National Astronomical Observatory in Mitaka, Tokyo, on January 19 and 20, and voted overwhelmingly to endorse the proposed instrument as the next-generation major facility instrument on their observatory. The Subaru telescope is exceptionally suited for this purpose because of its large aperture (8.2 m) that allows the study of faraway galaxies billions of light years away while having a very wide field of view (over a square degree, a thousand times as large as the Hubble Space Telescope) that allows a kind of “census” of galaxies to identify the trend of the Universe without being bogged down by the personality of each galaxy. It sits on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, one of the best astronomical sites in the world.
To measure properties of dark energy, one needs to measure the expansion history of the Universe precisely. Because light travels at a finite speed, one can measure the expansion rate of the past by looking far. Comparing the expansion rate at varying distances would reveal the expansion history. The way the Universe turned from deceleration to acceleration about some seven billion years ago will point to the precise nature of dark energy. The expansion itself is relatively easy to measure. The light emitted by a distant galaxy is stretched by the expansion of space and becomes redder, which can be measured by any decent spectrograph.
To measure the expansion history, we also need to know how far back in time the light was emitted from the galaxy, or equivalently, how far away it is. Measuring distances precisely on cosmological scales is very challenging. PFS will employ a special feature in the way galaxies are distributed throughout space that comes with a characteristic distance and can be used as a “standard ruler.” To use this technique called baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO), one has to study millions of galaxies, and needs a wide field of view. By building a spectrograph that can study several thousand galaxies at the same time, the group hopes to obtain a large enough sample to be able to use this technique without spending thousands of years of observation.
In addition to BAO, there are a number of other measurements to constrain the properties of dark energy using this instrument. Furthermore, this type of spectrograph with a large field of view and a massive multi-object capability will be unique among the largest telescopes in the world, allowing for unprecedented studies of formation and evolution of galaxies, as well as the assembly history of our own Milky Way galaxy.
The strength of this project comes from exploiting the data using HyperSuprimeCam (HSC), a 3-tonne digital camera with 900 million pixels, slated for the first light later this year. The combination of imaging using HSC and spectroscopy using PFS on Subaru is dubbed SuMIRe, Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts. The SuMIRe project is expected to repeat and exceed the tremendous success of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) mounted on a 2.5 m telescope, but with a much deeper view of the Universe back to the era that formed early stars and supermassive blackholes.
The Subaru Advisory Committee (SAC), which represents the Subaru Users community, issued the following statement. “Subaru can maintain its position as one of the top telescope facilities in the world by having both a wide-field imager and a wide-field spectrograph. The PFS instrument concept was initially developed primarily for a BAO survey, but after consideration of the instrument specifications, it was realized that PFS could have much broader scientific impact, in areas such as galactic archaeology and galaxy/AGN evolution. Thus, with the conditions listed below, SAC recommends further development of the PFS project as a next-generation Subaru instrument.”
The PFS collaboration currently consists of researchers and engineers from Caltech, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Princeton University, Laboratory of Astrophysics at Marseille, Royal Observatory Edinburgh and the UK coalition, University of São Paolo and the Brazilian coalition, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) and the Taiwan coalition, the NAOJ Hawaii Observatory, and IPMU.
Members of the collaboration are overjoyed by this endorsement. The PI Hitoshi Murayama says “PFS would provide a unique opportunity not only to measure the dark energy properties at an unprecedented precision, but also to study events of the Universe when it was still a baby. Given the endorsement by the Subaru Users community, the collaboration will work together to build an impressive instrument to expand the frontier in our understanding of the Universe. I view this endorsement analogous to a half way between CD-0 and CD-1 approval by the US Department of Energy. I am so excited and enthusiastic about its prospect. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know whether the Universe has an end?”
Richard Ellis, Steele Professor of Astronomy from Caltech has been hoping for an instrument like PFS on an 8m-class telescope for many years. He is very happy to see the endorsement and says, "I welcome the decision from the Subaru Users' meeting to support the construction of the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS). Realizing PFS is the dream of many of us at Caltech and in the Keck community, and we will be pleased to work with our Japanese and other colleagues to realize such an opportunity. This is great news!"
David Spergel, Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy from Princeton University, has been in the HSC collaboration working with scientists in Japan and Taiwan. He adds "We are delighted and encouraged by the support PFS has in the Subaru community. This will be a unique instrument on one of the best telescopes in the world, and we very much look forward to working closely with Japanese astronomers to make it happen."
From the UK group, John Peacock has been mapping the Universe for some time. He points out “SuMIRe-PFS is the next step we needed to make in the grand project of mapping the Universe. The 2dFGRS and SDSS pictures taught us so many new things about the distribution of matter in the Universe today; but to understand where this structure originated, we have to look at the distribution of faint galaxies at early times. Only the light grasp of Subaru lets us do this, and it is fantastic news that Japanese astronomers are willing for their world-leading telescope to be used for this project.”
Laerte Sodre Jr, Professor of Astronomy at University of São Paolo, leads a group in Brazil with expertise in optical fibers, a critical element of the project. He proclaims “I and several other colleagues in Brazil are excited with the possibility that the Brazilian community can join the PFS/SuMIRe project. Personally, I am very happy to be a member of this project, and look forward to build a rich and scientifically productive collaboration between our community and IPMU and the other partners of the PFS/SuMIRe project.”
Paul Ho, the director of ASIAA, which has been making critical contributions to the HSC collaboration, the imaging component of the SuMIRe project. He expressed his enthusiasm as “We at the ASIAA are delighted that the Subaru users community and the science advisory committee have recommended the PFS to be the next instrument for Subaru.  We look forward to working with both IPMU and NAOJ to build this new instrument which will enormously increase the speed at which we can measure the redshifts of distant systems over wide fields.   We consider the PFS, as in the case of the HSC, to be our continuing collaborations between ASIAA and the Subaru project.”
The conditions put forward by SAC are
• PFS must satisfy instrument specifications agreed by the Japanese community.
• A firm management structure should be built in Japan to develop PFS, including the assignment of a Japanese project manager.
• SAC representative(s) should participate in important decision-making stages about international collaboration.
• There must be a framework for young Japanese students/researchers to get involved in the PFS instrumentation.
The next step for the collaboration is formulation of the management structure and securing necessary resources, and meeting the conditions put forward by the SAC. The study of the scientific merit of the PFS instrument was lead by Masahiro Takada, Associate Professor of IPMU. The outcome of the study led to this endorsement by SAC.
The work by PI Hitoshi Murayama is funded by the FIRST (Funding program for world Innovative R&d on Science and Technology) program from the Cabinet Office of Japan.

Appro has announced that it has been awarded a subcontract for a 147.5TF Appro 1U-Tetra supercomputers from Lockheed Martin in support of the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). The HPCMP supports DoD objectives to strengthen national prominence by advancing critical technologies and expertise through use of High Performance Computing (HPC). Research scientists and engineers benefit from HPC innovation to solve complex US defense challenges.

As a subcontractor of Lockheed Martin, Appro will provide system integration, project management, support and technical expertise for the installation and operation of the supercomputers and Lockheed, as a prime contractor will provide overall systems administration, computer operations management, applications user support, and data visualization services supporting five major DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers (DSRCs). This agreement was based on a common goal of helping customers reduce complexity in deploying, managing and servicing their commodity High Performance Computing solutions while lowering their total cost of ownership.

The following are the supercomputing centers where Appro clusters will be deployed through the end of 2010:
Army Research Laboratory DSRC at Aberdeen Providing Ground, MD,
US Air Force Research Laboratory DSRC at Wright Patterson AFB, OH,
US Army Engineer Research and Development Center DSRC in Vicksburg, MS,
Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Center at Stennis Space Center, MS,
Arctic Region Supercomputing Center DSRC in Fairbanks, AK.

“We are extremely pleased to work with Lockheed Martin and be part of providing advanced cluster technologies and expertise in High Performance Computing (HPC) in support of the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), said Daniel Kim, CEO of Appro. "Lockheed Martin leads its industry in innovation and has raised the bar for reducing costs, decreasing development time, and enhancing product quality for this important government program, and our products and solutions are a perfect fit for their demanding expectations."

Fujifilm reaches tape storage milestone, demonstrating a new record in areal density of 123 billion bits per square inch

FUJIFILM President Shigehiro Nakajima has announced that in conjunction with IBM, a new record in areal data density of 123 billion bits per square inch on linear magnetic particulate tape has been achieved. This breakthrough in data density equates to a standard LTO cartridge capable of storing up to 220 terabytes of uncompressed data. 220TB is more than 88 times the storage capacity of the current LTO Ultrium 6 tape. A tape of this size can preserve the human genome of 220 people on a single cartridge. This is the highest capacity storage media ever announced, including HDD, BD and solid memory NAND flash. This is the 4th time in less than 10 years that Fujifilm and IBM have accomplished record breaking storage capacities on tape.

“With high performance computing and cloud storage services on the rise, this data density achievement is significant,” said Norio Shibata, corporate vice president, FUJIFILM Corporation, Recording Media Products Division. “Fujifilm and IBM are leading technology development companies committed to advance tape technology to meet the growing data requirements and position tape as the medium of choice for archival storage.”

This record breaking demonstration was achieved using an advanced prototype tape incorporating NANOCUBIC technology developed by Fujifilm, with advanced tape-drive technologies developed by IBM.

Fujifilm's NANOCUBIC technology is enhanced to increase recording density by decreasing the magnetic particle size that is essential for high recording density. Fujifilm's original BaFe synthesis method increases the uniformity of BaFe particle size and decreases 25% of the switching field distribution(SFD), which is an important magnetic parameter for high density recording. The lower SFD leads to a high quality signal output due to the uniform magnetic property of each recorded bit. To ensure the stability of the ultra-fine BaFe particles Fujifilm improved the magnetic coercivity, yielding an archival life of over 30 years.

A highly controlled dispersion process and newly developed chemical compound allows the BaFe particles to separate and disperse more uniformly and increase perpendicular oriented ratio. Perpendicular orientation technology with BaFe produces high signal to noise ratio and better frequency response. Enhanced NANO coating technology with super smooth non-magnetic layer controls tape surface roughness and achieves smooth surface of magnetic layer for high signal output. Fujifilm's advanced servo writing technology decreases high frequency disturbance of servo tracks and enables a higher track density.

IBM researchers developed new technologies, including:

  • A set of advanced servo control technologies that enable more accurate head positioning and increased track density.
  • An enhanced write field head technology that enables the use of much finer barium ferrite particles.
  • Innovative signal-processing algorithms for the data channel that enable reliable operation with an ultra-narrow 90nm wide giant magnetoresistive (GMR) reader.

Fujifilm will continue to lead the development of large capacity data storage media with BaFe technology to provide a cost-effective archival solution to preserve digital data.

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