ESnet’s John Christman Retiring after 29+ Years at LBNL

John Christman with his Navy-issue UNIVAC computer.

When John Christman enlisted in the U.S. Navy the day after his 18th birthday, he was hoping to work as either a welder or machinist. But he scored too high on the skills assessment and instead ended up studying advanced electronics. It was one of those twists of fate that set his whole career in motion. On June 29, Christman will leave the lab after 29+ years, the last 10 as a network engineer with ESnet.

He started out with two years of electronics school in the Navy, going to class eight hours a day and learning about vacuum tubes, transistors and programming. And while the technology changed, the nature of Christman’s work  has remained constant – understanding and maintaining systems to ensure that users were able to reliably get the information they needed.

“Every year you learn something new – that’s what I love about the lab,” he said. “You’re always at the cutting edge, nothing gets stale.”

Read the full story, including John’s prize winning Whiskey-Peppercorn Steak recipe.

In his last week with ESnet, John Christman posed with NERSC’s Edison supercomputer.

ESnet, NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Organize Working Group on Open Science Threats

Managing the security risks to scientific instruments, data and cyberinfrastructure is a priority for creating a trustworthy environment for science. Deep experience in understanding cybersecurity and the science being supported is needed. To achieve this,  ESnet and the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence are collaborating with research and education community leaders to develop a threat profile for open science to formally capture and benchmark this expertise, allowing other organizations to apply these best practices more broadly.

Organized by Sean Peisert of Berkeley and Michael Dopheide from ESnet and Von Welch and Susan Sons from the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, a working group of nine scientists and cybersecurity leaders from across the country has been formed to tackle developing the threat profile: Ilkay Altintas (San Diego Supercomputer Center), RuthAnne Bevier (Caltech), James Cuff (Harvard), Rich LeDuc (Northwestern), Pascal Meunier (HUBzero), Reagan Moore (iRods), Stephen Schwab (USC Information Sciences Institute) and Karen Stocks (Scripps Institution of Oceanography).

“Several government and academic organizations involved in cybersecurity policy have built a solid foundation for risk management, but it still takes expert judgment to assess risks for the assets found in the open science community,” said Peisert, who in addition to his role at LBNL is chief scientist for cybersecurity at CENIC . “The goal of this effort is to provide tailored guidance to the science community on the threats to science assets and the consequences of those threats to the science mission. This information will provide a basic knowledge framework to expedite managing those threats for the wide portfolio of open science projects.”

Read the full story.

ESnet Internship Leads to Book Chapter on Energy Efficiency for Datacenters, Networks

Baris Aksanli

Just as research and education networks have expanded the capabilities of scientists, a 2011 internship at ESnet led Baris Aksanli, then a Ph.D. student in computer science and engineering from the University of California San Diego, to broaden the scope of his research in tapping renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers and networks. The authors found that centers can increase their use of renewable energy while also reducing costs.

The result is a chapter in a new book on Computational Sustainability published on May 30, 2016, by Springer. Aksanli, along with Jagannathan Venkatesh and Tajana Simunic Rosing of UC San Diego and ESnet’s Inder Monga collaborated on the chapter Comp_Sust_coveron “Renewable Energy Prediction for Improved Utilization and Efficiency in Datacenters and Backbone Networks.”

Aksanli said his personal interest in energy efficiency led to studying how a single datacenter could become more energy efficient, but after working at Berkeley Lab and ESnet, the natural extension was to look at a group of networked datacenters, such as Department of Energy computing centers connected via ESnet.

Read the full story.

Just starting out? Apply for the SC16 Early Career Program

Applications are being accepted through Saturday, July 31 for the SC16 Early Career SC16Program for Professionals. The Early Career Program is designed to equip participants for significant contributions in their new careers by building skills related to obtaining funding, identifying publishing venues, establishing long-term mentor relationships, and effectively managing their time. The program is intended for people in their first five years of a permanent position (such assistant professors, researchers and technical staff members.)

SC16 will be held Nov. 13-18 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sessions will be held in a workshop format on Monday, Nov.  14 before SC16 starts to allow participants to enjoy the full technical program. The program includes formal presentations, time for peer mentoring, a speed mentoring session to meet 4-5 potential long-term senior mentors and an organized lunch for informal networking.

Learn more at:

Apply at:

SC16 Women in Networking Program Extends Application Deadline to June 22


The Women in IT Networking at SC program (WINS) is extending the deadline for applications to Wednesday, June 22. The WINS program funds U.S. women in their early to mid-careers to help build  SCinet, a terabit-scale research network for the SC conference. The program focuses on mentoring and hands-on training in networking, infrastructure, systems and security in the weeks prior to and the duration of the SC conference.  SC16 will be held Nov. 13-18 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The program funds selected participants to travel for the staging (if applicable), setup and attendance of the SC conference and SCinet. Travel could include up to three weeks (or some portion of these three weeks) depending on the SCinet team needs. 

  • SCinet Staging: October 20-28
  • SCinet Setup: November 7-12
  • SC Exhibit Show and Conference: November 13-19

More information about the program and how to apply can be found at: Please share and encourage those interested to apply!

ESnet’s Inder Monga Gives Keynote at Workshop on Named Data Networking

Inder Monga

Acting ESnet Director Inder Monga gave a keynote talk on “NDN for Big Data” to open the second day of a workshop on Named Data Networking (NDN) held May 31-June 1 in Gaithersburg, Md.

According to the workshop website, NDN is a new architecture that would address ongoing challenges in supporting modern applications with IP, especially in networks of diverse and intermittent links. NDN would bring Web-like semantics to the network layer, directly supporting dissemination of named, signed data. This would allow users to find data they are interested based on the name of the data, rather than having to specify a host site by its numerical IP address.

Monga’s talk looked at big data science and how NDN could be used for “intelligent data transfers,” especially when used with ESnet’s OSCARS, the On Demand Secure Circuits and Reservation System software. ESnet’s work in NDN dates back to 2012 when Susmit Shannigrahi, a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University (CSU), was a network intern. ESnet also operates an NDN testbed in collaboration with Christos Papadopoulos at CSU.

Held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the workshop brought together representatives from industry, government and academia to discuss the role that the NDN future internet architecture can play in support of these critical network environments, as well as future content delivery over mobile networks.