Bonnie Powell

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Bonnie Powell
Communications Lead, ESnet
Computing Sciences Area
Phone: 510-486-4921

ESnet's Communications Lead Bonnie Powell has been a director of communications since 2011, first for Bon Appétit Management Company, a billion-dollar corporation with operations in 36 states, then for the national college-access nonprofit College Track. In addition to writing and editing news stories, press releases, annual reports, thought leadership pieces, and more, she has developed strategic communications plans for media relations, internal communications, and social media.

Bonnie began her career as an editor and reporter at Red Herring, covering the business of technology, then worked for UC Berkeley's College of Engineering and later, UC Berkeley Public Affairs, as a Web reporter. She edited and wrote regularly for Grist, Edible San Francisco, the Transcript, and Corporate Board Member; her reporting has also been published in Wired, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and elsewhere. Bonnie has a B.A. in English from the College of William & Mary and an M.A. in fiction from the University of East Anglia. 


Eli Dart, Jason Zurawski, Carol Hawk, Benjamin Brown, Inder Monga, “ESnet Requirements Review Program Through the IRI Lens”, LBNL, October 16, 2023, LBNL 2001552

The Department of Energy (DOE) ensures America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. The DOE’s Office of Science (SC) delivers groundbreaking scientific discoveries and major scientific tools that transform our understanding of nature and advance the energy, economic, and national security of the United States. The SC’s programs advance DOE mission science across a wide range of disciplines and have developed the research infrastructure needed to remain at the forefront of scientific discovery.

The DOE SC’s world-class research infrastructure — exemplified by the 28 SC scientific user facilities — provides the research community with premier observational, experimental, computational, and network capabilities. Each user facility is designed to provide unique capabilities to advance core DOE mission science for its sponsor SC program and to stimulate a rich discovery and innovation ecosystem.

Research communities gather and flourish around each user facility, bringing together diverse perspectives. A hallmark of many facilities is the large population of students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists who contribute as full-fledged users. These facility staff and users collaborate over years to devise new approaches to utilizing the user facility’s core capabilities. The history of the SC user facilities has many examples of wildly inventive researchers challenging operational orthodoxy to pioneer new vistas of discovery; for example, the use of the synchrotron X-ray light sources for study of proteins and other large biological molecules. This continual reinvention of the practice of science — as users and staff forge novel approaches expressed in research workflows — unlocks new discoveries and propels scientific progress.

Within this research ecosystem, the high performance computing (HPC) and networking user facilities stewarded by SC’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program play a dynamic cross-cutting role, enabling complex workflows demanding high performance data, networking, and computing solutions. The DOE SC’s three HPC user facilities and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) high-performance research network serve all of the SC’s programs as well as the global research community. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) conceive, build, and provide access to a range of supercomputing, advanced computing, and large-scale data-infrastructure platforms, while ESnet interconnects DOE SC research infrastructure and enables seamless exchange of scientific data. All four facilities operate testbeds to expand the frontiers of computing and networking research. Together, the ASCR facilities enterprise seeks to understand and meet the needs and requirements across SC and DOE domain science programs and priority efforts, highlighted by the formal requirements reviews (RRs) methodology.

In recent years, the research communities around the SC user facilities have begun experimenting with and demanding solutions integrated with HPC and data infrastructure. This rise of integrated-science approaches is documented in many community and high-level government reports. At the dawn of the era of exascale science and the acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI) innovation, there is a broad need for integrated computational, data, and networking solutions.

In response to these drivers, DOE has developed a vision for an Integrated Research Infrastructure (IRI): To empower researchers to meld DOE’s world-class research tools, infrastructure, and user facilities seamlessly and securely in novel ways to radically accelerate discovery and innovation.

The IRI vision is fundamentally about establishing new data-management and computational paradigms within which DOE SC user facilities and their research communities work together to improve existing capabilities and create new possibilities by building bridges across traditional silos. Implementation of IRI solutions will give researchers simple and powerful tools with which to implement multi-facility research data workflows.

In 2022, SC leadership directed the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program to conduct the Integrated Research Infrastructure Architecture Blueprint Activity (IRI ABA) to produce a reference framework to inform a coordinated, SC-wide strategy for IRI. This activity convened the SC science programs and more than 150 DOE national laboratory experts from all 28 SC user facilities across 13 national laboratories to consider the technological, policy, and sociological challenges to implementing IRI.

Through a series of cross-cutting sprint exercises facilitated by the IRI ABA leadership group and peer facilitators, participants produced an IRI Framework based on the IRI Vision and comprising:

  • IRI Science Patterns spanning DOE science domains;
  • IRI Practice Areas needed for implementation;
  • IRI blueprints that connect Patterns and Practice Areas;
  • Overarching principles for realizing the DOE-wide IRI ecosystem.

The resulting IRI framework and blueprints provide the conceptual foundations to move forward with organized, coordinated DOE implementation efforts. The next step is to identify urgencies and ripe areas for focused efforts that uplift multiple communities.

Upon completion of the IRI ABA framework, ESnet applied the IRI Science Patterns lens and undertook a metaanalysis of ESnet’s Requirements Reviews (RRs), the core strategic planning documents that animate the multiyear partnerships between ESnet and five of the DOE SC programs. Between 2019 and 2023, ESnet completed a new round of RRs with the following SC programs: Nuclear Physics (2019-20), High Energy Physics (2020-21), Fusion Energy Sciences (2021-22), Basic Energy Sciences (2021-22), and Biological and Environmental Research (2022-23). Together these ESnet RRs provide a rich trove of insights into opportunities for immediate IRI progress and investment.

Our meta-analysis of 74 high-priority case studies reveals that:

  • -There are a significant number of research workflows spanning materials science, fusion energy, nuclear physics, and biological science that have a similar structure. Creation of common software components to improve these workflows’ performance and scalability will benefit researchers in all of these areas.
  • There is broad opportunity to accelerate scientific productivity and scientific output across DOE facilities by integrating them with each other and with high performance computing and networking.
  • The ESnet RRs’ blending of retrospective and prospective insight affirms that the IRI patterns are persistent across time and likely to persist into the future, offering value as a basis for analysis and strategic planning going forward.