Press Archive

From the Director: Update on SDSC and the San Diego Fires

Published 10/24/2007

Friends and Colleagues,

I'd like to thank everyone for their notes and support at this time as we deal with the San Diego fires. The experience is a profound one for our city and affects every aspect of life. Many SDSC and UCSD staff have been evacuated; some are now returning to their homes while others remain evacuated and their homes at-risk. We are hopeful that the winds will continue to die down, temperatures will lessen, and the fires will become more controllable. The generosity of SDSC staff and our friends and colleagues all over San Diego is amazing and reminds us that what really counts is the people we interact and share our lives with.

Although the UCSD campus where SDSC resides is fortunately not in the trajectory of the fires, UCSD is shut down this week due to poor air quality (and likely also because staff and faculty are scattered all over the county). While SDSC and our machine room are not physically at risk, San Diego's electrical grid is fragile and overloaded due to out-of-service major transmission lines and fire threats to distributed infrastructure. In response to requests from SDG&E and UCSD to shed load, and in order to protect data and equipment during this period of high instability, we have shut down many of our HPC and storage systems. These systems will be back up when it is safe. Our great colleagues on TeraGrid are helping to pick up the slack for us which is truly appreciated.

I'd like to extend a special thanks to SDSC staff for their generosity during this period. Many are evacuated and staying on-line at friends' homes and in shelters to provide service and keep in contact. Chaitan Baru and his colleagues (Roger Unwin, Jerry Rowley, Viswanath Nandigam) are working with the Red Cross to maintain the "Safe and Well" website (designed during the Hurricane Katrina disaster and used for helping people find one another during disasters). Our operators are staying in the building to ensure the safety of the equipment. It is a privilege to work with you all.

Like our friends in New York, New Orleans, and other communities who have gone through disasters, San Diego will regroup and move on, and SDSC will maintain its focus on excellence, innovation, and service to the community. We thank all of you for your support, good wishes, and help during this challenging time and look forward to working with our friends and colleagues all over San Diego to recover from the fires.

Fran Berman, SDSC Director