Science Gateways and Their Tremendous Potential for Science and Engineering


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Nancy Wilkins-Diehr's presentation from Cybera's 2007 Banff Cyberinfrastructure Summit

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Science Gateways and Their Tremendous Potential for Science and Engineering

  1. 1. Science Gateways and their tremendous potential for science and engineering Nancy Wilkins-Diehr TeraGrid Area Director for Science Gateways
  2. 2. Thank You for the Invitation to Speak To such a distinguished audience in such a beautiful location •Many similarities between Banff and Gateways –Both are about connections •National park created due to sea to sea railway connection –Trail guides lead the way •“Peyto assumes a wild and picturesque, though somewhat tattered attire” –Describes Banff trail guides and gateway developers! Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  3. 3. Phenomenal Impact of the Internet on Worldwide Communication and Information Retrieval Only 15 years since the release of Mosaic! •Implications on the conduct of science are still evolving – 1980’s, Early gateways, National Center for Biotechnology Information BLAST server, search results sent by email, still a working portal today – 1989, First ftp archive (archie) created at McGill – 1992 Mosaic web browser developed – 1995 “International Protein Data Bank Enhanced by Computer Browser” – 2004 TeraGrid project director Rick Stevens recognized growth in scientific portal development and proposed the Science Gateway Program •Simultaneous explosion of digital information – Analysis needs in a variety of scientific areas – Sensors, telescopes, satellites, digital images and video – #1 machine on Top500 today is 300x more powerful than all combined entries on the first list in 1993 Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  4. 4. 1998 Workshop Highlights Early Impact of Internet on Science •Shared access to geographically disperse resources •Assembling the best minds to tackle the toughest problems regardless of location •Tackling the same problems differently, but also tackling different problems •Not only the scope, but the process of scientific investigation is changed – “As the chemical applications and capabilities provided by collaboratories Requirements for future success include: become more familiar, researchers - Development of interdisciplinary partnerships of will move significantly beyond chemists and computer scientists current practice to exciting new - Flexible and extensible frameworks for paradigms for scientific work” collaboratories - Means to deploy, support, and evaluate collaboratories in the field Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  5. 5. Rapid Advances in Web Usability •First generation – Static Web pages •Second generation – Dynamic, database interfaces, cgi – Lacked the ease of use of desktop applications •Third generation – True networked and internetworked applications that enable dynamic two-way, even multi-way, communication and collaboration on the Web. – Remarkable new uses of the Web in the organizational workplace and on the Internet Source: Screen Porch White Paper, The University of Western Ontario (1996) Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  6. 6. What’s Next? “Prediction is hard. Especially about the future.” Yogi Berra •Scientists of tomorrow are familiar with media we don’t even know about •Not using full power of the internet by any means today – Data and knowledge are handled differently •Linking publications and data referenced in those publications •Annotation, data provenance •Inability to create discourse around a piece of data – Ability to keep up with knowledge generation •16,000 papers a week into PubMed •50,000 papers a week in biology –Right now have choice between reading abstract or paper, might add 10 minute author clip •How can science motivate in the way YouTube can? – Streaming video to view simulations, using visual and sound media – Ipods everywhere, but not exploited for science – Web 2.0 •Science was earlier internet adopter, now overtaken by business – Now a big difference between commercial and scientific sites • Noticeable efforts to keep users on commercial sites Source: 5/14/07 interview with Dr. Philip Bourne, Protein Data Bank Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  7. 7. The Internet as a Resource for News and Information about Science: Summary of Findings at a Glance 40 million Americans rely on the internet as their primary source for news and information about science. broadband users, the internet and television are equally popular as sources for science For home news – and the internet leads the way for young broadband users. The internet is the source to which people would turn first if they need information on a specific The convenience of getting scientific topic. scientific material on the web The internet is a research tool for 87% of online users. That translates to 128 million adults. opens doors to better attitudes Consumers of online science information are fact-checkers of scientific claims. Sometimes they use and understanding of science. the internet for this, other times they use offline sources. Convenience plays a large role in drawing people to the internet for science information. Happenstance also plays a role in users’ experience with online science resources. Two-thirds of November 20, 2006 internet users say they have come upon news and information about science when they went online John B. Horrigan, Associate for another reason. Director Those who seek out science news or information on the internet are more likely than others to believe that scientific pursuits have a positive impact on society. Internet users who have sought science information online are more likely to report that they have higher levels of understanding of science. Between 40% and 50% of internet users say they get information about a specific topic using the internet or through email. Search engines are far and away the most popular source for beginning science research among users who say they would turn first to the internet to get more information about a specific topic. Half of all internet users have been to a website which specializes in scientific content. Fully 59% of Americans have been to a science museum in the past year. Science websites and science museums may serve effectively as portals to one another.
  8. 8. NSF (my sponsor) has long recognized the importance of science and technology interactions •Interdisciplinary programs did much to facilitate application- technology integration and develop standard tools – 1997 PACI Program •Marriage of technologists and application scientists –A few groups served as path finders and benefited tremendously –NPACI neuroscience thrust in 1997 leads to Telescience portal and BIRN in 2001 – Information Technology Research (ITR) – NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI) •Plug and play tools so more groups can benefit Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  9. 9. NSF Continues Its Leadership Today What Will Lead to Transformative Science? •“Virtual environments have the potential to enhance collaboration, education, and experimentation in ways that we are just beginning to explore.” •“In every discipline, we need new techniques that can help scientists and engineers uncover fresh knowledge from vast amounts of data generated by sensors, telescopes, satellites, or even the media and the Internet.” Gateways are a terrific example of interfaces that can support transformative science Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  10. 10. Flagship US$52M CDI Program Launched in 2008 •Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) is – “NSF’s bold five-year initiative to create revolutionary science and engineering research outcomes made possible by innovations and advances in computational thinking.” – Program announced October 1 •Bold multidisciplinary activities that, through computational thinking, promise radical, paradigm-changing research findings •Far-reaching, high-risk science and engineering research and education agendas that capitalize on innovations in, and/or innovative use of, computational thinking •Partnerships to involve investigators from academe, industry and may include international entities •Growth to US$250M recommended by 2012 – Funded across NSF directorates •Birds-of-a-feather session at SC07 in Reno, NV Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  11. 11. Three Thematic Areas Offer Diversity •From Data to Knowledge – Enhancing human cognition and generating new knowledge from a wealth of heterogeneous digital data – Data mining, visualization, petascale computational power, etc. to assist scientists and engineers extract most important information from the almost infinite amounts of data from sensors, telescopes, satellites, the media, the Internet, surveys, etc. •Understanding Complexity in Natural, Built, and Social Systems – Deriving fundamental insights on systems comprising multiple interacting elements – Simulate and predict complex stochastic or chaotic systems – Explore and model nature’s interactions, connections, complex relations, and interdependencies, scaling from sub-particles to galactic, from subcellular to biosphere, and from the individual to the societal •Building Virtual Organizations – Facilitate creative, cyber-enabled boundary-crossing collaborations, including those with industry and international dimensions – Advance the frontiers of science and engineering and broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and math fields Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  12. 12. Exciting Canadian Activities •September 13, 2007 announcement of $30M CANARIE program – Network-Enabled Platforms (NEP) •Collaborative projects that accelerate the development of, and participation in, national and international cyberinfrastructure and e-Research platforms. Participants in the Program can be from both the public and private sectors. – Infrastructure Extension Program (IEP) •Extensions to Canada's research and education network that will enhance and accelerate research, enable national and international collaboration, improve access to knowledge, and contribute to the development of cyberinfrastructure and e-research in Canada. Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  13. 13. Science Gateways are a Natural Extension of Internet Developments •3 common types of gateway – Web portal with users in front and services in back – Client server model where application programs running on users' machines (i.e. workstations and desktops) and accesses services – Bridges across multiple grids, allowing communities to utilize both community developed grids and shared grids •Continued rapid changes ahead, must be adaptable, gateways can provide some nimbleness Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  14. 14. Gateway Idea Resonates with Scientists •Capabilities provided by the Web are easy to envision because we use them in every day life •Researchers can imagine scientific capabilities provided through a familiar interface •Groups resonate with the fact that gateways are designed by communities and provide interfaces understood by those communities – But also provide access to greater capabilities on the back end without the user needing to understand the details of those capabilities – Scientists know they can undertake more complex analyses and that’s all they want to focus on •But this seamless access doesn’t come for free. It all hinges on very capable developers Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  15. 15. Trust and Reliability are Fundamental to Success •Fundamental in business applications – Fundamental for science too •The public gains confidence in internet sites that provide accurate information reliably – Pub Med – National Cancer Institute – Google – Paypal •For scientists it takes far longer to build this confidence – Scientists will not rely on gateway tools to conduct their analysis and store their research results unless they have ultimate confidence in the interfaces •Proven track record –Run by reputable organization –Have been in existence “a long time” –Provide accurate results –Work repeatedly –Confidence in PDB developed over 30 years, started with community mandate that proteins must be deposited before publications would be accepted Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  16. 16. How can we build interfaces that scientists will trust? •Expertise – Simple web pages are easy to design – Complex capabilities, particularly those involving grid access, take knowledgeable developers to create a production product •LEAD, nanoHUB show what investment can do •Sustained funding – Most science groups have money for research, not portal building or ongoing support for portals •Knowledge transfer – Must take advantage of industry advancements – Investments must result in building blocks that other applications can use – Many gateways have similar issues •Data access •Analysis capabilities •User work environments •Workflow capabilities Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  17. 17. Tremendous Opportunities Using the Largest Shared Resources - Challenges too! •What’s different when the resource doesn’t belong just to me? – Resource discovery – Accounting – Security – Proposal-based requests for resources (peer-reviewed access) •Code scaling and performance numbers •Justification of resources •Gateway citations •Tremendous benefits at the high end, but even more work for the developers •Potential impact on science is huge – Small number of developers can impact thousands of scientists – But need a way to train and fund those developers and provide them with appropriate tools Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  18. 18. What is the TeraGrid? A unique combination of fundamental CI components
  19. 19. What is the TeraGrid? •NSF-funded facility to offer high end compute, data and visualization resources to the nation’s academic researchers 300+ Teraflops Computation Visualization 20+ Petabytes Storage Dedicated cross-country network Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  20. 20. Opportunities and Challenges as a Virtual Organization •Full vision of cyberinfrastructure – Data, compute, visualization, workflows – But need to do a better job of representing the capabilities to researchers – Creating prototypes for others to follow – Never underestimate the value in keeping things SIMPLE •Work with top notch people regardless of location – Better for end users •Single request process for all types of resources •Single place for documentation •But must work harder – To sustain momentum in projects •Set a few high-level goals •Clear management structure –Individual responsibility –Project accountability – To provide clarity for users Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  21. 21. TeraGrid Resources Available for all Domain Scientists At no cost to them! •Integrated, persistent, pioneering resources •Significantly improve the ability and capacity to gain new insights into the most challenging research questions and societal problems •Peer-reviewed, proposal-based access – Targeted support available as well •Dedicated staff investment to really make a difference on complex problems –Transformational science •Must have PI commitment •Make lessons learned available for all Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  22. 22. TeraGrid Usage Specific Allocations Roaming Allocations Compute Cycles ~50% Annual Growth Delivered 200 Normalized Units (millions) 100 TeraGrid currently delivers an average of 420,000 cpu-hours per Source: Dave Hart ( day -> ~21,000 DC every hour Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  23. 23. TeraGrid User Community Gateways Growth Target Source: Dave Hart ( Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  24. 24. Easy TeraGrid Gateway True and False Test Answers Provided •Any PI can request an allocation •TeraGrid selects all gateways (F) and use it to develop a gateway •TeraGrid designs all gateways (F) (T) •TeraGrid limits the number of •Gateway design is community- gateways (F) developed and that is the core •All gateways need TeraGrid strength of the program (T) funding to exist (F) •TeraGrid staff are alerted to gateway work when a proposal is reviewed or when a community account is requested (T) •Limited TeraGrid support can be provided for targeted assistance to integrate an existing gateway with TeraGrid (T) Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  25. 25. TeraGrid RATs (Requirements Analysis Teams) •Spring, 2005 Science Gateway Requirements Analysis Team (RAT) – Identification of common needs across the gateways – Goal is production use of TG resources in the gateway as well as development of process and policy within TG for scalable gateway program and services – Tremendous sharing of experiences amongst talented developers Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  26. 26. 2006 – Implementing Common Gateway Requirements •Web Services •Scheduling – GT4 deployment, identification of – Metascheduling RAT remaining capabilities – On-demand via SPRUCE framework – Information services, WebMDS •Outreach •Auditing – Talks, Schools/workshops (NVO, – Need to retrieve job usage info on GISolve), major project demonstrations production resources (LEAD) – GRAM audit deployed in test mode in – SURA, HASTAC, GEON, CI-Channel, SC, September, inclusion in CTSSv4 Grace Hopper, MSI-CI2, Lariat, Science •Community Accounts Workflows and On Demand Computing – Policy finalized, security approaches for Geosciences Workshop being tested by RPs •Primer – Attribute-based authentication testing – Living document in wiki, provides up-to- •Allocations date overview and instructions for new gateway developers (“how to make your – Changes in allocation procedures, the portal a TeraGrid science gateway”) mechanisms used to evaluate science impact, and models for identity management, authentication and authorization that are more tuned to virtual organizations. Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  27. 27. Current Activities – Moving Forward! •Extend development of general gateway services – React to and anticipate community needs •Streamlined TeraGrid integration means more interest and more science – Building Blocks for Science Gateways ( •Continue targeted work with selected projects – SidGrid, CReSIS •Stay ahead of technology changes – Well, at least not get too far behind… •Build on burgeoning interest in gateways for education – Navajo Technical College – TeraGrid EOT supplemental funding Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  28. 28. Planning for the Future of TeraGrid •Activity lead by U Michigan School of Information – – Gateway (June) and user (August) workshops held – Report due February, 2008 •Recommendations from gateway workshop include: – Support interaction and cross-fertilization among Science Gateway development communities •Sharing code and successful solutions •Financial and professional support for developing gateways – Develop gateway framework templates built upon toolkits which may already exist – Training, education, workshops, generalized & standardized basic services, documentation – End-to-end support for Virtual Organizations – Operating more effectively as a community in order to better support the education and development needs of gateway developers. Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  29. 29. Selected Gateway Highlights •nanoHUB •Linked Environments for Atmospheric Discovery (LEAD) •GridChem •Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) •Center for Remote Sensing of Polar Icesheets (CReSIS) Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  30. 30. Highlights: NanoHub Explosive User Growth •In past 12 months – 26,000 users •50% of usage from U.S. – 10 courses viewed by over 6,000 users – 165 podcasts downloaded by over 4,000 users – 1400 online meetings •Short clip from Gerhard Klimeck Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  31. 31. Highlights: LEAD Inspires Students Advanced capabilities regardless of location •A student gets excited about what he was able to do with LEAD •“Dr. Sikora:Attached is a display of 2- m T and wind depicting the WRF's interpretation of the coastal front on 14 February 2007. It's interesting that I found an example using IDV that parallels our discussion of mesoscale boundaries in class. It illustrates very nicely the transition to a coastal low and the strong baroclinic zone with a location very similar to Markowski's depiction. I created this image in IDV after running a 5-km WRF run (initialized with NAM output) via the LEAD Portal. This simple 1-level plot is just a precursor of the many capabilities IDV will eventually offer to visualize high-res WRF output. Enjoy! • Eric” (email, March 2007) Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  32. 32. Highlights: GridChem’s Client-Server Approach Provides Power and a Rich Feature Set National Center for Source: Sudhakar Pamidighantam, NCSA Supercomputing Applications
  33. 33. Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN)‫‏‬ BIRN is a National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) initiative aimed at creating a testbed to address biomedical researchers Source: Anthony Kolasny, Johns Hopkins
  34. 34. Shape Analysis - A Morphometry BIRN Project 4 JHU CIS-KKI Shape Analysis 3 of Segmented Structures MGH 5 BWH Segmentation Visualization TeraGrid Supercomputing Data Donor Goal: comparison and 1 quantification of structures’ Sites Storage shape and volumetric differences across patient De-identification And upload populations 2 Source: Anthony Kolasny, Johns Hopkins
  35. 35. BIRN uses SSHFS to mount TeraGrid filesystems locally CIS has 87TB of local storage. /cis/net lists network drives. 220TB through CIS portal using autofs, samba, smbwebclient. Source: Anthony Kolasny, Johns Hopkins University Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  36. 36. CReSIS (Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets) •Awarded CI-TEAM funding to build a Polar Gateway – International Polar Year 2007-2008 – Led by Geoffrey Fox, IU and Linda Hayden, Elizabeth City State •CReSISGrid – Build a TeraGrid Science Gateway – Provide broad-based educational and training activity in Cyberinfrastructure for remote sensing and ice sheet dynamics – Lessons learned in remote data gathering can be applied to fields Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  37. 37. When is a gateway appropriate? •Researchers using defined sets of tools in different ways – Same executables, different input •GridChem, CHARMM – Creating multi-scale workflows – Datasets •Common data formats – National Virtual Observatory – Earth System Grid – Some groups have invested significant efforts here •caBIG, extensive discussions to develop common terminology and formats •BIRN, extensive data sharing agreements •Difficult to access data/advanced workflows – Sensor/radar input •LEAD, GEON Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  38. 38. Tremendous Potential for Gateways •In only 15 years, the Web has fundamentally changed human communication •Science Gateways can leverage this amazingly powerful tool to: – Transform the way scientists collaborate – Streamline conduct of science – Influence the public’s perception of science •Like e-commerce, Science Gateways need to build trust in the infrastructure, tools, and methods that they use •Unlike the public or commercial arena, scientists will be vested in these gateways – Science Gateways will need to build trust in the organization behind them. Gateways need to have continuity •High end resources can have a profound impact •The future is very exciting! Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
  39. 39. Enjoy the Summit! •Thank you for your attention •Please contact me for further information Nancy Wilkins-Diehr (
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