Category Archives: Blog

Call for Papers: Supercomputing Asia 2018

Supercomputing Asia (SCA) is an annual supercomputing conference with a key objective of promoting a vibrant and relevant HPC ecosystem in Asian countries. The event will be held from 26 to 29 March 2018 in Singapore, at the Resorts World Convention Centre.

The technical programme of SCA18 consists of four tracks:

  • Application, algorithms & libraries
  • Programming system software
  • Architecture, network/communications & management
  • Data, storage & visualisation

Important dates:

  • Abstract submissions due: 2 December 2017
  • Paper submissions due: 9 December 2017
  • Notification of acceptance: 5 February 2017
  • Camera-ready papers due: 12 February 2017

See more information on the event.

Take-away from the conference on “European Research Excellence – Impact and Value for Society”

Today, I attended the conference “European Research Excellence – Impact and Value for Society” in Tallinn, organised under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference attracted more than 300 delegates with the aim to demonstrate to policymakers that excellent research is essential to addressing Europe’s challenges and for increasing competitiveness.

Commissioner Moedas opened the event with a video message remarking the importance of developing an European innovation ecosystem and set missions or challenges that people can relate to. Mark Ferguson reported that the most cited articles worldwide have at least an author from the industry and international collaborations and referenced a framework to evaluate impact of any scientific project. He also reported that most of the research results are incremental while disruptive results are less frequent.

Both Valeria Nicolosi and Nicole Grobert, both winners of an ERC grant along their carriers, brought their experience of combining basic research and innovation with industry, reinforcing the message that synergies are possible and should be pursued. Nevertheless, they remarked that basic research needs time and freedom, also, developing relationship with industry, listening to them and understanding their problems is essential. This aspect links to a comment from Pim Tuyls, who stressed the importance of ensuring that there is money for research but also for the next step, to make sure innovation from research results take place in Europe.

Luc Soete reported that one of the differences between Europe and other innovative regions is a low level of investment in R&D from the private sector, and this is caused by different factors such as a still fragmented market and a lack of tax breaks. He referred to the cost of non-Europe in innovation. It was suggested that a possible way to better engage industry is to work on big societal challenges like decarbonisation of society or clean water could stimulate the R&D in the private sector.

Another key message that got my attention is the importance of involving more actors from social science and humanities in the research and innovation activities. Disruptive changes affect our daily life and being able to evaluate the impact so to prepare for the effects is vital for ensuring the maximisation of value for the society. Trust on science by society is also a gap that needs to be closed or at least shortened and a speaker pointed out at a recent article appeared in the Financial Times: “How experts can regain our trust“.

The conference concluded with the announcement of a declaration, the Tallinn Call for Action composed of three main pillars: investment, impact and trust. Robert-Jan Smits, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, endorsed the declaration and commented that one of the key challenges is now to convince the Ministries of Finance to support it.

Above, I shared my main take-aways of a very rich and greatly organised event. This is the first Presidency led by Estonia and you could perceive the energy and passion infused in it to make it a success.

 

 

Take-away from the conference on “European Research Excellence – Impact and Value for Society”

Today, I attended the conference “European Research Excellence – Impact and Value for Society” in Tallinn, organised under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference attracted more than 300 delegates with the aim to demonstrate to policymakers that excellent research is essential to addressing Europe’s challenges and for increasing competitiveness.

Commissioner Moedas opened the event with a video message remarking the importance of developing an European innovation ecosystem and set missions or challenges that people can relate to. Mark Ferguson reported that the most cited articles worldwide have at least an author from the industry and international collaborations and referenced a framework to evaluate impact of any scientific project. He also reported that most of the research results are incremental while disruptive results are less frequent.

Both Valeria Nicolosi and Nicole Grobert, both winners of an ERC grant along their carriers, brought their experience of combining basic research and innovation with industry, reinforcing the message that synergies are possible and should be pursued. Nevertheless, they remarked that basic research needs time and freedom, also, developing relationship with industry, listening to them and understanding their problems is essential. This aspect links to a comment from Pim Tuyls, who stressed the importance of ensuring that there is money for research but also for the next step, to make sure innovation from research results take place in Europe.

Luc Soete reported that one of the differences between Europe and other innovative regions is a low level of investment in R&D from the private sector, and this is caused by different factors such as a still fragmented market and a lack of tax breaks. He referred to the cost of non-Europe in innovation. It was suggested that a possible way to better engage industry is to work on big societal challenges like decarbonisation of society or clean water could stimulate the R&D in the private sector.

Another key message that got my attention is the importance of involving more actors from social science and humanities in the research and innovation activities. Disruptive changes affect our daily life and being able to evaluate the impact so to prepare for the effects is vital for ensuring the maximisation of value for the society. Trust on science by society is also a gap that needs to be closed or at least shortened and a speaker pointed out at a recent article appeared in the Financial Times: “How experts can regain our trust“.

The conference concluded with the announcement of a declaration, the Tallinn Call for Action composed of three main pillars: investment, impact and trust. Robert-Jan Smits, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, endorsed the declaration and commented that one of the key challenges is now to convince the Ministries of Finance to support it.

Above, I shared my main take-aways of a very rich and greatly organised event. This is the first Presidency led by Estonia and you could perceive the energy and passion infused in it to make it a success.

 

 

5th ENVRI week will be held in Málaga, Spain

The 5th ENVRI week will be organised in Málaga, Spain, from 6th to 10th November 2017.

The week will be hosted by the University of Málaga, the Málaga City Hall, and the LifeWatch ERIC. ENVRI week is dedicated to Environmental Research Infrastructures. It is organised twice a year, in November and in May.

ENVRI week hosts ENVRIplus project related sessions as well as several other sessions targeting different groups of stakeholders.

More information will follow soon.

Back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures

After nine years working on technical aspects of distributed computing in Italy and seven on strategy and policy aspects in Netherlands at the EGI Foundation, I am back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures.

The Executive Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures is a new executive programme organised by the RItrain project and hosted at the University of Milano-Bicocca. The goal is to extend the competencies required to manage and lead research infrastructures. This is the first of a series of post about the experience.

As Strategy and Policy Manager of the EGI Foundation, I consider this a great opportunity to further develop in my role, share my experience and challenges, and learn from peers in the different areas tackled by the programme.

The first module

Last week, I attended the first three-day module that focused on “governance and organisation”. We learnt about the approach to design a governance structure and also that informal social structures are as much as important as the formal ones defined by an organogram. We also dived into the organisational complexity of research infrastructures (RIs) that can range from the single-site organisation to a distributed network of nodes with no central authority or legal entity.

Being the first module, I also got to know my new colleagues: 24 professionals with an average age of 45 and from 10 different nationalities. They represent research infrastructures located in 12 countries (either from single-site RIs, national nodes or international coordination bodies).

The video I pasted at the bottom of this post summarises the first three intense days with some inspirational music.

What will we learn next?

Over the next 18 months, we will cover aspects such as strategy management, funding models, international law and compliance, financial management, impact and awareness, leadership and team building, service provision, infrastructure and resource management, business development and innovation, and planning/setting up/leading an operational RI.

All the learning is tailored to the research infrastructure context and each participant will be asked to work on field project to present at the end of this journey. The next exciting step will be to decide the topic of my final project and given all the streams of activities in the EGI context, I’m not definitely short in ideas.

I will keep you posted on the developments and in the meantime, wish me success!

 

 

Back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures

After nine years working on technical aspects of distributed computing in Italy and seven on strategy and policy aspects in Netherlands at the EGI Foundation, I am back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures.

The Executive Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures is a new executive programme organised by the RItrain project and hosted at the University of Milano-Bicocca. The goal is to extend the competencies required to manage and lead research infrastructures. This is the first of a series of post about the experience.

As Strategy and Policy Manager of the EGI Foundation, I consider this a great opportunity to further develop in my role, share my experience and challenges, and learn from peers in the different areas tackled by the programme.

The first module

Last week, I attended the first three-day module that focused on “governance and organisation”. We learnt about the approach to design a governance structure and also that informal social structures are as much as important as the formal ones defined by an organogram. We also dived into the organisational complexity of research infrastructures (RIs) that can range from the single-site organisation to a distributed network of nodes with no central authority or legal entity.

Being the first module, I also got to know my new colleagues: 24 professionals with an average age of 45 and from 10 different nationalities. They represent research infrastructures located in 12 countries (either from single-site RIs, national nodes or international coordination bodies).

The video I pasted at the bottom of this post summarises the first three intense days with some inspirational music.

What will we learn next?

Over the next 18 months, we will cover aspects such as strategy management, funding models, international law and compliance, financial management, impact and awareness, leadership and team building, service provision, infrastructure and resource management, business development and innovation, and planning/setting up/leading an operational RI.

All the learning is tailored to the research infrastructure context and each participant will be asked to work on field project to present at the end of this journey. The next exciting step will be to decide the topic of my final project and given all the streams of activities in the EGI context, I’m not definitely short in ideas.

I will keep you posted on the developments and in the meantime, wish me success!

 

 

Call for papers: International Symposium on Grids and Clouds

The International Symposium on Grids and Clouds (ISGC) 2018 will be held at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan from 16-23 March 2018, with co-located events and workshops. The main theme of ISGC 2018 is “Understanding open data: challenges and opportunities in the deep learning era”.

The global move towards an open science and its open data policy is bringing its first results in opening access to fast growing base of scientific data. This leads to a new set of challenges for the e-infrastructures expected to be the open science foundations. They must deal with new demands in traditional areas of their expertise: increase storage and computing capacity, simultaneous access to different pools of scientific data and strong access control for sensitive data.

The goal of ISGC 2018 is to bring together individual communities and national representatives to present and share their contributions and better understand open data and its challenges.

Please see more information and the full programme of the event.

Second International Open Research Cloud Congress

The Second International Open Research Cloud Congress will take place in Amsterdam, from 27 to 29 of September and will continue an open dialogue between research communities, policy agencies and industry about the need for international cooperation of private and public clouds supporting scientific research.

The inaugural International Open Research Cloud Congress, held on 11 to 12 of May 2017 in Boston, kicked off the drafting of an open research cloud declaration that describes the conventions that the community is prepared to adopt and support for enabling international scientific research computing on clouds. This second edition will continue the effort to reach the consensus of delivering a final declaration.

See the details of the event.

Downtime ahead!

Our colleagues running the IT department have scheduled a downtime for our Single Sign On (SSO) system in order to work on upgrades and configurations.

The SSO login system will be offline tomorrow 19 July 2017, from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM (CET). All EGI services that require authentication will not be accessible during this period.

The good news is that the upgraded system will be more efficient and secure.

The good news is that we cannot wake up early to work on the EGI website tomorrow at 7AM.

There is no bad news.

 

 

AARC builds teams and plans for the 2nd project

Plans and priorities for work in the second AARC project took shape during a kick off meeting held on 6-8 June in the German health resort town Bad Herrenalb. This Black Forest retreat provided a comfortable setting for participants to get to know each other, discuss expectations and refine plans for the next 6 months, with a new focus on community engagement.

Work package leaders from the first AARC project presented overviews of the main achievements between 2015-2017:

  • Christos Kanellopoulos (GÉANT – formerly GRNET) reported on the AARC blueprint architecture (see also related infoshare). This will be the starting point for all future work. The architecture team is now led by Nicolas Liampotis (GRNET).
  • David Groep (Nikhef) encouraged participants to look at the policy side, namely Sirtfi (the security incident framework), Snctfi (the policy framework for the proxy component identified in the AARC blueprint architecture), the guidelines to handle personal information for accounting and sustainability guidelines.
  • Paul van Dijk (SURFnet) gave an overview of the 18 pilots that had been successfully carried out. Some were aimed at libraries while others ease the adoption of federated access for research- and e-infrastructures. Some are now production services.
  • Laura Durnford (GÉANT) reported on the training and outreach materials. The main results can be found at two specific sections: the library toolkit and the toolkit for infrastructures. Laura also reminded participants that the AARC video is a good introduction to AARC and its scope.

Read the full blog post on the AARC website.