September 21, 2022 – This year’s Monterey Data Conference, organized by a group of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and hosted by the Association for High Speed Computing, brought together researchers and officials from the US National Department of Energy ( DOE) brings together labs, academia, and industry for a robust program designed around the theme of transforming science with artificial intelligence (AI).
Through presentations, panel discussions, and networking events, attendees left the three-day event with new inspiration, new connections, and a new understanding of how AI is being applied across a variety of scientific fields.
“Our goal was to bring people together in the DOE lab space, including a good representation of executives in high-level positions as well as local scientists conducting hands-on research and a relevant contingent of industry representatives,” said Steve Farrell, a machine learning engineer in of the Data and Analytics Services group at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and main organizer of the conference.
“It was very exciting to see colleagues again in person and to discuss new collaborations – the conference program was very strong and the hallway discussions and networking events were valuable,” said Sudip Dosanjh, NERSC Division Director. “Data and AI are very important topics for the DOE labs, and this conference brought together scientists, computer scientists and computer companies to discuss how to tackle new scientific challenges.”
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the invitation-only event hosted about 100 attendees at a venue overlooking California’s Monterey Bay. The program included invited talks and panel discussions on scalable and productive computing systems for AI; interpretable, robust, science-based AI methods; novel scientific AI applications; AI for self-driving scientific institutions; data management for scientific AI; and computing and AI under extreme conditions.
“The sessions were really good. I was so impressed with the quality of all speakers on all panels,” said Farrell. “We’ve had a lot of people talking about fairly advanced, cutting-edge problems in AI applications and methods.”
On the first day of the event, climate science applications for AI, the use of AI for HPC simulation workloads and a panel on diversity, equity and inclusion were presented. The conference’s keynote speaker, Pamela Isom, DOE Director of the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO), spoke about the need for governance in AI.
Throughout the conference, speakers and topics represented a wide range of AI applications, from space exploration to self-driving technology to food system management. Benchmarking in AI was also a popular topic, one that Farrell particularly valued given his own research focus. Slides from many conference presentations are available online, giving an impression of the possibilities and challenges of introducing AI in several scientific disciplines.
“Having had to postpone this type of in-person event for a couple of years due to the pandemic, it was just great to be able to network with others and have this opportunity to meet with everyone, learn more about their work and get to know each other form collaborations,” said Farrell. “The plan is to make this an annual event.”
NERSC is a user facility of the DOE Office of Science.
About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC center serves more than 7,000 scientists in national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a national DOE laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is administered by the University of California for the US Department of Energy. »Learn more about computer science at the Berkeley Lab.
Source: Keri Troutman, NERSC