A few take-away messages from RDA’s 13th Plenary Meeting

A few take-away messages from RDA’s 13th Plenary Meeting in Philadelphia, US, written by our colleague Matthew Viljoen

 

Opening Plenary

Julia Stoyanovich welcomed everyone as the main speaker and introduced the common theme of the conference – Responsible Data – focusing on the reality of statistical bias in data-processing algorithms & its societal impact.

The speaker’s proposal to tackle this issue was by enforcing the following aspects:

  • Algorithmic transparency (not just releasing source code, which can be unnecessary and often insufficient)
  • Algorithmic transparency requires data transparency,
  • Data transparency is not synonymous with making all data public but should release it whenever possible, inc. releasing data selection, collection, pre-processing methodologies, provenance, quality info. known sources of bias, privacy preservation statistical summaries of the data.
  • Data transparency – helps prevent discrimination and enables establishment of trust.
  • Technology alone is not enough. We also need regulation and civic engagement, something we should drive through engagement with the public, both technical and non-technical.

Working Group FAIR Data Maturity Model

  • The meeting gathered around 60 attendees from all over the world. The discussion went around the scope and methodology to create a common set of core assessment criteria for FAIRness via a bottom up approach: definition, development, testing and delivery.
  • We continued to discuss whether this assessment should be automatic (done by machines/algorithms) or manual, using examples of the volume of data & practicality considerations. We agreed that the scope should be cross-disciplinary rather than domain specific.

Joint Meeting: From observational data to information

  • Two Information Groups were introduced and included aspects of bringing raw data to usable information for research, and VREs, Science Gateways or Virtual Labs. These were followed by a number of different talks including one that raised much interest about a method for Annotating Data (implemented using a MongoDB separate from the data) and tools for measuring quality of preserved data.
  • I gave a presentation introducing the SKA/AENEAS project and the plans for a Science Gateway and agreed with the Chairs of the groups to continue engagement until the end of the project.

Meeting: Assessing FAIR Data Policy Implementation in Health Research

  • The meeting introduced the new FAIR4Health project and the landscape analysis it will conduct to assess FAIR implementation in health research.
  • I mentioned the importance of engaging with existing eInfrastructures to help most important outputs, workable implementations, e.g. ELIXIR and AAI aspects

Find out more about the RDA event, programme and media.

CERN School of Computing 2019: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The CERN School of Computing 2019 will take place on September 15-28 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Applications are now open with a deadline of May 10.

The school is looking for scientists and engineers in the fields of computing and physics to apply. The goal is to create the best environment for learning, but also to facilitate cross-national and cross-institute networking.

The two-week programme consists of more than 50 hours of lectures and hands-on exercises, covering three main themes: physics computing, software engineering, and data technologies. However, it’s not all study – the social programme is also a vital part of the CERN School. There will be plenty opportunities to explore and experience some of Romania’s great cultural, historical and natural attractions, and profit from Cluj-Napoca’s location in heart of the Transylvania region.
Please see more information on the event and how to apply.

The programme of the EGI Conference 2019 is now online

The EGI Conference 2019 will take place in Amsterdam, 6-8 May 2019, as a forum for the EGI Community to discuss the state of the art of the EGI Federation, future and emerging trends, requirements and experiences: national, local and at the level of the data centre.

The programme is now online and is focused on a mix of topical sessions, workshops and space for debate on topics related to the EGI Federation. The event will be an opportunity to celebrate 15 years of Operations of what is now the EGI Federation.

The EGI Conference will also host:

Registration to the event is open until 19 April.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Amsterdam!

A new paper on the EGI Applications on Demand service was published

A new paper describing the EGI Applications on Demand (AoD) service was published in the journal Future Generation Computer Systems.

Applications on Demand is designed for individual researchers, small research teams and early-phase research infrastructures to support them in their scientific data analysis activities.

The service is available through the EGI Marketplace and allows a user-friendly access to a growing number of scientific applications, tools and application hosting frameworks.

Since the debut of the service in April 2017, the EGI team has received 57 service access requests from users located in 15 countries. These requests came from researchers working in computer sciences, biological and chemical sciences, social aciences, agronomy and health sciences. For example, scientist Simone Ronsisvalle at the University of Catania, used the AoD service to support her research on opioid analgesics. A scientific journal manuscript on this topic is now in preparation.

Read the full paper on the EGI Applications on Demand service.

Find out more about AoD.

Webinar: The EGI Notebooks service

The webinar “EGI Notebooks for interactive data analysis using EGI storage and compute services” will take place on Tuesday, 19 March from 15:00 to 16:00 (Europe/Amsterdam).

Notebooks is a browser-based tool for interactive analysis of data using EGI storage and compute services. The EGI Notebooks environment provides users with notebooks where they can combine text,  mathematics, computations and rich media output. EGI Notebooks is a multi-user service and can scale to multiple servers based on the EGI Cloud Compute service.

This webinar will introduce the key features of the EGI Notebooks service, particularly:

  • Easy access based on user authentication through EGI Check-In using institutional (eduGAIN) or social media accounts (e.g.: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn).
  • Graphical environment to write and run code, analyse and visualise data.
  • Persistent storage associated to each user, available in the notebooks environment.
  • Customisable with new notebook environments, expose any existing notebooks to your users.
  • Leverage on the EGI e-Infrastructure cloud compute and storage resources to run the notebooks.
  • Sharing of notebooks through Binder for Open Science.

More information:

Presenters: Giuseppe La Rocca and Enol Fernandez.
Event website.
Connection link.

New paper highlights the EGI contribution to Structural Biology

The West-Life project just published a paper on the Journal of Structural Biology describing how they leveraged Europe’s e-Infrastructures to provide data processing and data management services for the international community of structural biologists.

The paper describes the West-Life Virtual Research Environment for structural biology, consisting of multiple components handling data processing, data management, compute resources, infrastructure for authentication and authorisation, quality assurance and user help. It also provides a summary of the portfolio of West-Life services to support experimental techniques, for example Macromolecular X-ray crystallography (MX), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), or Electron cryo-Microscopy (cryo-EM).

These services include, for example, HADDOCK, DisVis and Powerfit and other EOSC-hub Thematic Services offered through the EOSC-hub Marketplace.

The West-Life paper also highlights the importance of the compute resources provided by the EGI Federation through an SLA where five data centers in the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Taiwan committed 53 million CPU hours and 54 terabytes of storage.

Thanks to this support, the West-Life services submit several million jobs a year to the EGI High-Throughput Compute grid infrastructure.

EGI also committed Federated Cloud resources supported by two sites in Czech Republic and Italy, with up to 160 virtual CPUs and up to 4 terabytes of storage. From its beginning, West-Life applications have consumed over 57 million CPU hours provided by the EGI HTC infrastructure, and executed over 4000 Virtual Machines for more than 700,000 hours on the EGI Federated Cloud.

The data centres contributing resources to West-Life services are: CESNET-MetaCloud, INFN-PADOVA, NCG-INGRID-PT, TW-NCHC, SURFsara and NIKHEF, and the additional support of the national e-infrastructures of Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK, Taiwan and the US Open Science Grid.

Reference

Morris et al. 2019 West-Life: a virtual research environment for structural biology. Journal of Structural Biology. doi: 10.1016/j.yjsbx.2019.100006 (Full Text, Open Access)

Final ENVRIplus event: collaboration for an impactful Earth system science

The ENVRIplus project is holding its final event in Brussels to showcase the European environmental research infrastructures’ contribution to the global Earth Observations domain, discuss the ENVRIplus results and look ahead to the future of the ENVRI community.

The meeting will take place in Brussels on 4 June and will welcome all interested stakeholders. The talks and structure will mainly target the following audiences: European and national decision makers, the European Commission, national representatives in Brussels, European Environment Agency, ESA, EUMETSAT, IOC-GOOS, as well as GEO and Copernicus.

Format:

  • Morning plenary presenting key ENVRIplus results
  • Lunch in a ‘science market’ with stands and lightening talks from research infrastructures
  • Afternoon plenary with a broader community and international stakeholders, and future look.

More details on the final ENVRIplus event.

EGI’s participation in the International Symposium on Grids and Clouds 2019

The International Symposium on Grids and Clouds (ISGC) 2019 & Soundscape Conference will be held at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan from 31 March to 5 April 2019 and includes co-located events and workshops. The main theme of ISGC 2019 is “Efficient and safe processing of FAIR open data”.

The conference will feature an interactive tutorial on the EGI Notebooks service on April 2nd. Our colleagues Enol Fernandez and Gergely Sipos will introduce the service and its features. The tutorial is relevant for scientists, research IT support people and system administrators who operate services for open science.

During the session “Infrastructure Clouds and Virtualisation”, Enol will give another presentation on “The latest advancements in EGI operations for improved cloud federations“. The presentation will focus on the EGI Operations services and recent advancements in the area of security, showing how these advancements improved the operation of the EGI cloud federation.

The programme of the event will also include an introduction of the EOSC-hub project within the Environmental Computing Workshop, taking place on March 31st.

More details on the ISGC 2019 conference are available online.

 

The 9th DIRAC Users Workshop

The 9th DIRAC Users Workshop will take place in London from 14 to 17 May 2019. The workshop will be devoted to exchanging information between the DIRAC developers, service administrators and users. Reports on the DIRAC ongoing and planned developments, service management tools will be included into the agenda together with the users reporting their experience.

You are welcome to suggest your items to the workshop agenda.

More details on the event.

Registration for the EGI Conference 2019 is now open

The EGI Conference 2019 will take place in Amsterdam, 6-8 May 2019, as a forum for the EGI Community to discuss the state of the art of the EGI Federation, future and emerging trends, requirements and experiences: national, local and at the level of the data centre. The event will also be an opportunity to celebrate 15 years of Operations of what is now the EGI Federation.

The registration is now open. We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!

The Programme Committee of the EGI Conference 2019 is also inviting the community to submit contributions reporting on state of the art, future trends, requirements and experiences. Site managers and members of operations & technical teams are especially welcome to contribute. (Full description of conference topics).

The Call for Abstracts is open online until 8 March.

The EGI Conference will also host:

Key dates:

End of online registration: 19 April (please note: on site registration will not be possible)

Last day to submit abstracts: 8 March 2019

Keep an eye on our channels for more information.