BRC Program receives NSF grant for Cyberinfrastructure Engineer

February 9, 2016

A Cyberinfrastructure Engineer funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)  will soon begin to help researchers adapt and scale research workflows to take advantage of campus cyberinfrastructure including the Berkeley Research Computing (BRC) resources, the Science DMZ and associated high-speed networking, and high-speed data transfer tools. The position will be funded by an ACI Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC-NIE) grant awarded by the NSF in December 2015, and will augment the BRC Program’s staff. CIO Larry Conrad is the Principal Investigator on the grant.

The proposal summary describes the situation researchers frequently encounter with their research workflows:

Research workflows involving computation are typically developed by a researcher on their desktop PC or a single system. This single machine may act as the combined data acquisition, storage, and computational systems. The workflow may appear straightforward because all data  and computation occurs within the single machine. Though a simple and effective solution, the capacity of a single workstation for computation and storage is often insufficient when research needs scale up. Transposition of such workflows to shared cyberinfrastructure can be non-trivial.

The Cyberinfrastructure Engineer will work with researchers to address workflow transposition challenges.

Three research use cases on the Berkeley campus included in the grant proposal exemplify the projects and problem the to-be-hired CI Engineer will address:

  • Justin McCrary (D-Lab): Understanding financial markets and monitoring market participants’ compliance with securities regulations by applying linear models to a half-trillion records (four years) of data describing exchanges’ best bids and offers.
  • Hillel Adesnik (Hillel Adesnik Lab): Speeding up the feedback loop between observation and real-time experimental manipulation to advance analysis of the spatiotemporal activity of cortical neurons in intact mouse brains at cellular resolution and with millisecond precision.
  • Eva Nogales (Bay Area CryoEM Facility - BACEM): Advancing visualization of the structures of biological molecular machines using electron microscopy coupled with direct electron detection cameras, by establishing high-speed data connectivity among the BACEM instrument, the BRC “Savio” high-performance computing cluster, the supercomputer center (NERSC) at LBNL, and the UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco campus networks; and by optimizing parallelization of code currently running on smaller, slower computer clusters.

The Berkeley Research Computing Program welcomes inquiries from campus researchers proposing additional projects to which the CI Engineer can offer her/his assistance. Please contact us at