Blog from March, 2012

Using data collected by the Sloan Telescope located at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and processed by the Riemann Linux cluster operated by Berkeley Lab's HPC Services Group, scientists have announced the most accurate measurement to date of the structure of the universe at the time, five to seven billion years ago,  when when dark energy took over and the expansion of the universe began to accelerate. More


Significant changes to our Identity Management Services are underway.

  • LDAP Directory Services
  • One Time Password (OTP) Services
  • Increase in use of our Single Sign-on and  Federated Authentication Service

The first two are targeted for initial deployment the first week of May.  In the case of the OTP service, a gradual migration to the new service will start, after the initial Pilot tests have been concluded.  The third is a gradual process that will continue on all year.  For more information on Identity Management Documentation, go here.

LDAP Directory Services

LBL is now upgrading from a robust but not recently updated Sun LDAP directory software on older hardware to OpenLDAP on a Virtual Machine Environment. The LDAP directory schema was designed some 20 years ago and we have been modifying and updating it since then.  In the process of this migration and upgrade, we are updating the schema, adding to the object classes and attributes that are stored, and removing obsolete object classes. Further, we are re-writing the sync application that adds new people to the directory, adding a self
service Password Reset Utility, and working on ideas for re-branding this service

One time Password

Over 1400 internal and external customers (many of them users of the HPC clusters managed by the IT Division's  HPC Services Group), use a 7 year old implementation of Cryptocard along with hard tokens that are individually configured and issued to users. As the result of a 6 month effort, the decision has been made to convert to Nordic Edge, using a combination of hard and soft tokens. Soft tokens can be deployed on smart phones, require a pin  just like a hard token, and offer much easier distribution and ongoing management capabilities.  We will continue to support both services until a gradual migration of existing users has been completed.  Over the next 6 months, research will also continue on extending OTP to business systems web applications (as opposed to the more typical use via SSH).

Federated Authentication and Single Sign On (SSO) Services

Our institutional Wiki ( will benefit from agreements we have reached with other institutions within the UC and National Lab Community.  Starting April 3, space owners on the wiki can work with partners at Argonne National Lab, UCLA and UC Merced.  Users from those institutions will be able to authenticate to commons and if the space owner gives permissions to these external users, actually participate in content editing.  We are expecting UC Berkeley to join  sometime in April.    We also continue to add to the Business systems that benefit from single sign on.   Google Apps, Commons, and Taleo are examples of applications that already take advantage of this capability.

IT recently concluded efforts to provide Bitbucket, a distributed version control system for software developers, to lab users. We are in the early stages of rollout and are looking for some early adopters.  Bitbucket supports both Git and Mercurial, works on Windows, Mac, or Linux systems and includes tools to convert from Subversion repositories.

Ask for a repository by entering a help request at

Our FAQ is here.

Are you running out of space in your office, moving to a new office, or tasked with processing the records of retiring (or already retired) scientists? Learn more about files that need to be kept, which can be archived, which can be disposed of, and DOE and Lab compliance at a workshop (BLI0926) sponsored by the Archives and Records Office and the Berkeley Lab Institute on Tuesday, April 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Perseverance Hall. Registration is required.

R2012a Release Highlights for the MATLAB and Simulink Product Families

For those of you are Matlab users, a 30 minute video concerning the latest improvements can be found here

For a short intro to a variety of products impacted by this release, go here.

HPCS team has scheduled a downtime to the Lab supercluster on March 6th, Tuesday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm to peform regular maintenance. Users will not be able to access the login nodes, cluster queues or the data on the cluster filesystems. This is a downtime for all the clusters in the supercluster - Alsacc, Baldur, Cumulus, Esd01, Euclid, Hbar, Mhg, Musigny, Nano, Natgas, Plutonium, Voltaire, Vulcan, Yquem and the Lawrencium cluster (lr1, lr2 & berkelium) including Condo resources (Co2seq, Matgen & Ganita).

Scheduler reservations will be in place such that there are no user jobs running in the queue during this window so far any jobs submittied before March 6th please make sure the requested wallclock time ends before 9.00 am on the 6th or else the jobs will stay blocked in the queue untill after downtime.

After the downtime all the resources will be returned back to production as before. Email us at hpcs AT if you have any questions.


Direct (self service) update of location, phone, fax, mailstop, and personal web page was implemented last Fall.  At the time, we noted there was some work to be done to re-engineer the process involving mailstops. This work has been completed.

Over the past several weeks, Facilities has worked with IT Business Systems to create an application that is now the authoritative source for mailstops. A web display of these valid mailstops can be found here:

This list (163 entries, as of March 1, 2012) replaces the almost 400 mailstops used in various systems in the past.  As part of the upgrade, each of the older mailstops was mapped to one of the new approved ones - and everyone who had an old one was changed by a program we wrote.  What you see in the "phone book" now represents the results of this effort.  Changes were made at 5:20pm. Thursday, March 1.

This link provides the phone book look-up as well as the link for updates of the information in the directory.

Next Steps

Bill Llewellyn  is the functional owner. He can be reached if there are any questions as to the creation of the valid mailstop list and is the right contact in case mailstops need to be added or changed.   (This may change in the future)

Going forward, individuals who do not have a valid mail stop will be sent an email notifying them. In that way, as things change in the future, we will have a process that detects and notifies within a day.  Our FAQ for Directory Services is here.

LabTech 2012

LabTech - The Berkeley Lab Computing and Technology Event By and For Lab Staff


This page is about LabTech2012, if you're looking for information about LabTech2013 coming up on October 10, visit:



Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11AM-6PM

What is LabTech?

LabTech is a free event created by and for Lab staff that focuses on computing and technology for science and operations. Modeled after UC San Diego's immensely popular Sharecase event, LabTech will feature technical tutorials, discussion sessions, networking opportunities, demonstrations, and more. LabTech will be a multi-track conference, with tracks aimed at scientists, technologists, and support staff.  Whether you're interested in the latest tools for data management for scientists, or the newest features in LBL business systems, LabTech will have something for everyone.

Full Program

LabTech Full Program. Click here to view it.

From your mobile device: (that's L T M for Lab Tech Mobile)