Berkeley Lab dedicates new science building to late UC Berkeley professor

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has opened a new building dedicated to energy supercomputing and networking, and named it after a late UC Berkeley pioneer in semiconductor lasers.

Shyh Wang Hall

Newly dedicated Shyh Wang Hall at Berkeley Lab.

Shyh Wang Hall, a 149,000-square-foot facility built on a hillside overlooking the UC Berkeley campus and San Francisco Bay, will house the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, or NERSC, one of the world’s leading supercomputing centers, and the headquarters for the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Sciences Network, or ESnet, the fastest network dedicated to science.

Modern science increasingly relies on high-performance computing to create models and simulate problems that are otherwise too big, too small, too fast, too slow or too expensive to study. Supercomputers are also used to analyze growing mountains of data generated by experiments at specialized facilities. High-speed networks are needed to move the scientific data, as well as allow distributed teams to share and analyze the same datasets.

“Berkeley Lab is the most open, sharing, networked, and connected national lab, with over 10,000 visiting scientists using our facilities and leveraging our expertise each year, plus about 1,000 UC graduate students and postdocs actively involved in the Lab’s world-leading research,” said Lab director and chemistry professor Paul Alivisatos.

“Wang Hall will allow us to serve more scientists in the future, expanding this unique role we play in the national innovation ecosystem,” he said. “The computational power housed in Wang Hall will be used to advance research that helps us better understand ourselves, our planet and our universe. When you couple the combined experience and expertise of our staff with leading-edge systems, you unlock amazing potential for solving the biggest scientific challenges.”

Shyh Wang, who died in 1992 at the age of 66, was a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and one of the nation’s top researchers in the field of semiconductor lasers: small, lightweight and efficient lasers used widely in optical communications. Early in his career, he worked on semiconductor devices, including the transistor, but after the discovery of the laser in the early 1960s by the late UC Berkeley physics professor Charles Townes, he switched to the fields of quantum and optical electronics, including guided-wave optics.

The $143 million structure was financed by the University of California. To read more about the new energy computing center, link to the Berkeley Lab announcement.