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Advancing Computational Science in Academic Institutions

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Organisers: Robert Allan, Gabrielle Allen, and Daniel S. Katz

Contents

Introduction

Computational science, interdisciplinary research and access to advanced information technology (also called cyberinfrastructure) are transforming education, research, and institutional culture in academic institutions. Advancing the role of computation at universities necessitates attention to providing cyberinfrastructure (HPC, "cloud" and visualization facilities, data storage, end-to-end networks), support for interdisciplinary research, and developing computational culture and expertise.

These issues cannot be addressed in isolation however. Visualization facilities are typically not useful without high speed network connections to appropriate locations, educational initiatives for interdisciplinary courses would be hindered without university support for cross-department curricula, new faculty hires in computational areas need to take into account any specialized resources needed, international grid initiatives need to connect to users local or regional facilities.

This workshop series will review current and past HPC, Grid/Network, and e-Science initiatives in the United Kingdom to isolate successes and challenges in their contributions to enabling scientific research, and particularly in supporting research in global scale computational issues. From this review, a second meeting will focus on understanding the challenges from the perspective of what is now needed to better support science. The involvement of international experts will contribute best practices and perspectives from the USA, Europe and Australia.


Logistics

Registration: http://www.nesc.ac.uk/esi/events/1083/

This event will start at 13:00 Wednesday 02 June 2010 and close at 16:00 on Thursday 03 June 2010.

It will be held at the e-Science Institute, 15 South College Street, Edinburgh.


Agenda

We will discuss what users feel they need, what providers have to offer, and what models have been successful (and unsuccessful) in connecting users and resources.

Wednesday, 2nd June: 1pm to 6pm
1:00 - 1:30 Presentation of history and scope of this meeting, aim for the meeting (introduction by Malcolm Atkinson, introduction by Rob Allan, general introductions of attendees)
1:30 - 3:00 Review the computational science triangle (http://bit.ly/9j27PI), discuss what capabilities are important in each of these three areas.

Review and complete table of HPC and Grid facilities and e-Science Initiatives in the UK and those represented by international experts (http://bit.ly/b0g7MU). What are the existing connections between these different entities?

3:00 - 3:30 break
3:30 - 6:00 Discuss successes of current and past initiatives/facilities. Where are there obvious problems to address? How have these been addressed internationally?


Thursday, 3rd June: 9am to 4pm
9:00 - 10:30 Arthur Trew - discussion of EPCC, Gabrielle Allen - discussion of CCT
10:30 - 11:00 break
11:00 - 11:30 Jarek Nabrzyski - discussion of condo model for HPC systems at Notre Dame
11:30 - 12:30 Bill Appelbe: eScience Infrastructure and the Changing Culture of Research - Successes and Lessons Learned in Australia
12:30 - 1:30 lunch
1:30 - 4:00 David Salmon - discussion of networking, Peter Coveney - discussion of UCL and user issues, general discussion of challenges

Focuses

1 Goals and Assessment

  • what should an effort to advance computational science achieve in an academic environment?
  • what should be the goals of an HPC center?
  • how should success or failure be measured?
  • what are reasonable timescales for success?
  • what are the challenges?

2 Cyberinfrastructure

  • what are the challenges for advancing cyberinfrastructure in a university setting?
  • what is the optimal operational model for a campus cyberinfrastructure?
  • where should the campus cyberinfrastructure fit in the overall university structure and administration?
  • how should an HPC center integrate with national and international cyberinfrastructure?
  • what balance of compute, network, storage, visualization and collaboration infrastructure is needed?
  • what level and what type of support personnel are needed?

3 Research

  • How will research be enabled and integrated with the HPC center?
  • How are the needs of researchers with different computational experience and requirements met?
  • Is innovative and transformational research encouraged?
  • Is there a well structured mechanism for research to drive the mission of the HPC center?
  • What is the involvement of faculty, postdocs, and students with the center?

4 Education

  • What role will the center have in the education and training of undergraduate and graduate students?

5 Interdisciplinary and Non-traditional fields

  • How will the center encourage and support interdisciplinary research?
  • How will the center support research in non-traditional computational fields such as the arts and humanities?
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