IT Realigns to Focus on Science Needs

As announced by MIke Witherell on May 17, 2018, IT Division will be realigning to better focus on the needs of the scientific community at Berkeley Lab.   This realignment will enable new services and refinement of existing services in support of the scientific needs of the Laboratory.


Why Realign?

IT at LBL has always had a strong connection to the science divisions.  From our pioneering Scientific Cluster Support program (which was among the first such programs at large Tier 1 research institution), to our focus on collaborative applications for scientists, IT has long supported research needs.   However, we see new challenges today and on the horizon.   From big data to the proliferation of computational services and techniques to the increasing complexity of research pipelines, we see numerous opportunities to serve the scientific community in new and more impactful ways.  Realignment of our services towards the emerging priorities will make it easier for us to serve the missions of the institution.

What's Happening?

Organization:

A new org chart for IT has been created which combines key IT support for science resources in a single unit.   While not all the parts of IT that support science are represented here, the new unit will help act as the concierge for services for science across IT. You can view the new org chart here.

Advisory Committee:

A new scientific systems advisory committee is in the process of being chartered.  This committee will help guide the portfolio of services IT offers to the scientific divisions.   Lab leadership from each ALD will be represented and the committee will report to Horst Simon and Rosio Alvarez.   Additional information about members and charter will be available soon.

Engagement:

IT is recommitting itself to engagement with the science divisions.   Meetings with Division leadership, scientific staff, and individual projects will be more frequent and more regular.   We are especially focused on early engagement with projects where we can help scientific project staff design and engineer smart computing solutions from the ground up.

New Services:

The new advisory committee will help guide our portfolio of science services in the future.  While no specific services have yet been decided on, we see great opportunities to help the Laboratory in these areas:

Data Management and Support: A suite of services from reliable institutional storage to high speed data transfer architecture, to data publication and management to help projects navigate the data deluge.

Expanded Cluster Computing: Expanded scientific computing offerings to meet the future compute needs of the Lab’s next generation of projects, combining both expanded cluster computing and new architectures to support emerging capabilities such as machine learning.

Cloud  & Colocation Services: New and expanded services to help scientists leverage local and cloud computing offerings, including enhanced virtual machine support, expanded hosting for scientific systems, and cloud architects who can help projects navigate the increasingly complex world of cloud service offerings.

Consulting: Expanded consulting with a focus on early-engagement with scientific projects and aligning computing resources from any source with the needs of researchers.

Your Thoughts:

We want to hear from you.   In the next few months, our triennial user survey will go out with a focus on refining our science services portfolio.

But you can also get in touch at any time - tell us what you think, what you'd like to see in the future and how computing at LBL is or is not meeting you needs now.   Get in touch at it-communications@lbl.gov