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.

See the full programme of the event and submit your abstract.

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.

Webinar: EGI Applications-On-Demand Service

This 1-hour webinar will take place Tuesday, 13 June 2017, from 14:00 to 15:00 (CEST) and will provide you with an overview of the EGI Applications on Demand (AoD) service. The service was specifically designed for individual researchers, small research teams and early-phase research infrastructures who do not have access to dedicated computational and storage resources, online applications and science gateways to perform scientific data analysis.

The service is available via a lightweight registration and offers access to a growing number of scientific applications and application hosting frameworks (such as science gateways, VREs) that are configured to use the dedicated pool of cloud computing and HTC clusters from EGI.

The AoD service operates as an open and extensible hub for EGI-related providers and e-user support teams who can use the service to share and make available applications, services and/or compute-storage capacity at the European level.

The target audience of the webinar is:

  • NGIs and national user support teams: they can use the service to serve national users or to promote and make available their national applications and gateways/VREs to foreign users.
  • Representatives of research infrastructures or scientific communities/projects: they can use the service to serve their long-tail users with generic or domain specific applications, before/without committing to long-term resource allocation through EGI.
  • Researchers and small research teams: they can learn about the applications and tools available for them in this service.

The webinar doesn’t require registration.

Webinar details:

Tue 13 June 2017, 14:00 – 15:00 (CEST)
Organiser: The EGI Foundation
Webinar agenda and connection information
Documentation
Support: support@egi.eu

IBM highlights of the EGI Conference and the INDIGO summit

This blog article was written by Sahdev P. Zala, IBM Advisory Software Engineer, and re-posted here with permission. Read the original article.

 

The EGI Conference 2017 and INDIGO Summit 2017 took place in Catania, Italy, from 9 to 12 of May.

Sahdev P. Zala, Advisory Software Engineer at IBM, was among the keynote speakers, and it was the first time he attended an EGI event. The co-authors, Dr. Miguel Caballer and Dr. Alvaro Lopez Garcia, are INDIGO-DataCloud lead architects and are attending EGI and INDIGO events on a regular basis.

The event was powered with keynote speeches from renowned speakers, several technical sessions and poster sessions. It was attended by a few hundred computer scientists and developers from all over the Europe, United States, Canada, Taiwan and South Africa. Most attendees have PhD or MSc degree in Computer Science.

IBM Takeaway

We found the event very successful with over 5 keynote sessions, 32 technical sessions, 29 posters and panel discussions. The keynote speakers included Dr. Tiziana Ferrari (Technical Director, EGI Foundation), Dr. Davide Salomoni (Coordinator, INDIGO-DataCloud), Prof. Jesús Marco de Lucas (Work Package Leader, INDIGO-DataCloud), Edit Herczog (Ex-Member of European Parliament), Dr. Jan Korbel (Senior Scientist, EMBL Heidelberg) and Sahdev Pratapsinh Zala (IBM).

It was simply amazing to see how technology, and especially cloud computing, is influencing science. Several sessions and demonstrations were presented towards it. One of the most impressive sessions was by senior scientist Dr. Jan Korbel titled “Cancer Genomes on the Cloud: The Pan-Cancer Initiative” demonstrating how cloud computing is advancing research on cancer. Dr. Korbel also discussed the future of cancer research and how science cloud will play an important role.

In his keynote speech, Sahdev P. Zala of IBM presented IBM’s leadership and commitment in open source software development. He demonstrated the collaborative efforts that the project INDIGO-DataCloud and IBM team worked together to enhance OpenStack TOSCA projects like OpenStack Heat Translator and OpenStack TOSCA Parser. He also demonstrated how INDIGO-DataCloud uses those projects in production. Part of his briefing on collaborative efforts were a recap of INDIGO team and IBM’s joint sessions at the OpenStack summits in Austin and Barcelona 2017, and a joint submission of research paper in a prestigious Journal of Grid Computing. At the end, he provided an overview of IBM Bluemix Platform.

Dr. Miguel Caballer is an architect of the Infrastructure Manager (IM). The IM is a tool that deploys complex and customised virtual infrastructures on multiple back-ends. It enables the automation of the Virtual Machine Image (VMI) selection, deployment, configuration, software installation, monitoring and update of virtual infrastructures. It supports a wide variety of back-ends, thus making user applications cloud agnostic. In addition, it features DevOps capabilities, based on Ansible to enable the installation and configuration of all the user required applications providing the user with a fully functional infrastructure. The IM is used by INDIGO-DataCloud at two levels: in the PaaS core to access cloud providers external to the INDIGO-DataCloud project and as the TOSCA orchestration layer of the OpenNebula sites of the INDIGO-DataCloud infrastructure.

Dr. Alvaro Lopez from CSIC is coordinating the development efforts in the compute virtualization area of the INDIGO-DataCloud project, as well as the task responsible for the integration modules needed for the EGI Federated Cloud. Those activities were showcased in a joint session moderated by Alvaro, focused at mature user communities that are able to exploit IaaS resources directly.

Dr. Davide Salomoni (coordinator of the INDIGO-DataCloud project) and Dr. Tiziana Ferrari (Technical Director of the EGI Foundation) provided details about progress of INDIGO-DataCloud and EGI respectively. They also provided the audience with lots of data about both the projects. It was absolutely impressive to learn how big is the EGI infrastructure, as it can be seen in the presentation. EGI currently federates more than 300 HTC centres, more than 20 cloud providers and provides over 2.6 billion CPU hours per year to more than 50.000 users distributed worldwide.

Professor Jesus Marco of CSIC (work package leader of INDIGO-DataCloud) acted as the moderator for the INDIGO-DataCloud sessions. Prof. Jesus also moderated a panel with seven Panel Experts including Dr. Tiziana Ferrari, Dr. Davide Salomoni and Sahdev Zala.

At this vibrant event, the EGI and INDIGO communities demonstrated many initiatives that are going on for a better science. It is clear that INDIGO-DataCloud can play a vital role for a sustainable cloud infrastructure for scientific communities in Europe and beyond. The detail of event and sessions can be found at the conference site. To learn more about event moments visit #egiconf17 and #indigosummit17 on Twitter.

EOSCpilot 1st stakeholder engagement event

Save the date! The EOSCpilot project is excited to announce its 1st stakeholder engagement event, which will take place at the SQUARE in Brussels, from 28 to 29 November 2017.

EOSCpilot brings together stakeholders from research infrastructures and e-infrastructure providers and aims at creating an open environment to use research data, knowledge and services. EGI is supporting the project by contributing services, knowhow, policies, and the requirements of large-scale international user communities.

The event will be an interactive gathering of representatives and experts from the stakeholder groups, enabling them to have their voice heard in the first phase of development of the future European Open Science Cloud. The five science demonstrators already involved in EOSCpilot will have the chance to present their work to a broader public audience.

Both days will include plenary sessions with high-level policy and governance representatives.

See more information about the EOSCpilot event.

Upcoming EGI trainings

EGI organises training events for scientific communities coming from both academia and industry to facilitate the uptake of EGI services.

The trainings can range from webinars to face-to-face courses. Events with hands-on exercises use the EGI Training Infrastructure.

Have a look at the upcoming EGI trainings below:

16-18 May 2017

12-16 June 2017

6 July 2017

See the full training calendar and read more information about the EGI Training Infrastructure.