August 25, 1999


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BERKELEY, CA —  The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory today announced that it has selected a site in downtown Oakland to house the Laboratory's new computing center.

Called the Berkeley Lab Computing Center, the facility will be housed in a former Wells Fargo bank building at 415 20th St. at Franklin. The lease calls for 27,000 square feet of usable space, with an option to add another 35,000 square feet.

"As computers have become an integral part of how we conduct scientific research, as well as how we manage our Laboratory, it's essential that we have a state-of-the-art computing facility to match our state-of-the-art computers," said Klaus Berkner, Deputy Director for Operations at Berkeley Lab. "Although we didn't’t know what we’d find when we began our search, this new computing center in Oakland fits our needs exactly."

Berkeley Lab began looking for a suitable site for the computing center earlier this year. The Lab, which is located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus, is short of building space for new facilities and has moved some operations to downtown Berkeley. The search for the new computing site encompassed dozens of sites stretching from Hercules to Hayward. A request for proposals in April drew eight qualified responses, from which the Oakland site emerged as the favorite. The building, which will be seismically reinforced, was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and has long been vacant.

The new center, which is scheduled to open by summer of 2000, will house the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a national supercomputing facility, as well as various computers used by the Lab's scientific programs. Combined, NERSC's one IBM and seven Cray supercomputers have a capacity of performing about one trillion calculations per second.  They are used to support some 2,500 researchers at national labs, universities and industry to tackle some of the most difficult scientific problems. NERSC also houses a mass scientific data storage center with a capacity of 300 terabytes (300 trillion bits of information), more than six times the amount of information in the Library of Congress.

Additionally, computers operated by Berkeley Lab's Information and Computing Sciences Division to support administrative services, such as human resources, electronic mail and Internet applications, payroll and budgeting will be located in the center. Berkeley Lab has been a leader in adopting new software and technology to support administrative functions across the institution. As a result, the systems are now supported on a handful of powerful, fully supported computers, rather than spread out piecemeal on hundreds of desktop systems. The move has resulted in greater reliability and lower costs, and allows the central servers to be located off the Laboratory site.

The new Berkeley Lab Computing Center will be connected to Berkeley Lab and other national laboratories via the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network, or ESnet, a backbone network of the Internet. To provide the needed bandwidth and connectivity, a high-speed network connection will be routed to the new center. Improvements in the electrical supply capability will also be made.

Berkeley Lab conducts unclassified research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy.