New challenges in data science: Big Data and Deep Learning on Data Clouds

The summer course New challenges in data science: Big Data and Deep Learning on Data Clouds will take place in Santander, from 18  to 22 June, in the context of the DEEP Hybrid-DataCloud and eXtreme-DataCloud projects.

The course is targeted at specialists and students of different academic levels (master, graduate students, PhD candidates, postdoctoral students and senior scientists) interested in current research trends regarding compute intensive data analytics techniques over massive amounts of data. A special special emphasis is put on deep learning, high-performance computing and hybrid cloud platforms.

The first half of the course is devoted to the study and analysis of different use cases (in Astrophysics and Particle Physics, Bioinformatics and Biodiversity). Over these sessions, an in-depth analysis and consolidation of technical requirements will be performed, with the objective of understanding the present and future challenges in these scientific areas over the next years.

The last part of the course will consist on the description of a practical deployment and implementation of the tools required to perform the aforementioned massive data processing on top of a cloud computing environment. The integration of existing HPC systems (like supercomputers) in cloud environments will also be tackled.

The discussion will be framed in the context of the European Open Science Cloud, with a focus on researchers requirements and the different computing platforms present at both the national and European level.

See all the details of the course.

 

EU Competitiveness Council endorsed the implementation roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud

The Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud was endorsed by EU research ministers on 29 May in Brussels. During the event, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, put an emphasis on the following aspects for the realisation of the European Open Science Cloud:

  • The Cloud should be a wide, pan-European federation of existing and emerging excellent infrastructures, which respects the governance and funding mechanisms of its components
  • Membership in this federation would be voluntary
  • The governance structure would include member state ministries, stakeholders and scientists.

The EOSC-hub project plays a crucial role in this ambition, as it is set to create the integration and service management structure of the EOSC – the hub – where researchers and innovators can discover, access, and use a variety of advanced data-driven resources.

In the meeting, Carlos Moedas also presented the integrated advice of the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP). Established in 2016, the platform is made of stakeholders who advise the Commission on how to further develop and implement an Open Science policy in Europe.

Overall, this political endorsement will accelerate the implementation of the EOSC. The next important events are:

  • EOSC Summit: the scientific and policy stakeholders of the EOSC will gather in Brussels on 11 June to discuss the rules of participation in the EOSC and the drafting of pan-European principles for FAIR data.
  • DI4R 2018: the third edition of DI4R will be held in Lisbon, from 9 to 11 October and will showcase the policies, best practices and services necessary for the support of research.
  • Launch of the EOSC governance structure: on 23 November, the incoming Austrian Presidency of the Council plans to gather research and innovation ministers to sign off the governance structure, which will steer the work of several projects under Horizon 2020, and to launch the first version of the EOSC Portal.

LSGC, MoBrain, NBIS and Terradue service agreements renewed

We are pleased to announce that the following EGI service level agreements have been successfully renewed:

  • The SLA between EGI service providers and the Life-Science Grid Community (LSGC) has been extended until January 2019. The Life-Science Grid Community (LSGC) is a virtual research community that supports life-science applications on the EGI federation. The SLA extension allows these research groups to use EGI High-Throughput Compute and Online Storage to contribute to the development of the life science research field.
  • The SLA between EGI service providers and MoBrain has been renewed until December 2020. The main objective of the MoBrain competence centre is to lower barriers for scientists to access modern e-Science solutions from micro to macro scales. Thanks to the renewed agreement, MoBrain will continue to access the High-Throughput Computing and Online Storage services they need for their research.
  • The SLA between EGI providers and NBIS has been extended until December 2018. NBIS is supporting life sciences and bioinformatics. Their communities will continue to use EGI Cloud Compute and Online Storage services needed for their activities.
  • The SLA between EGI providers and Terradue has been renewed until January 2020. Terradue, a company specialised in delivering e-Infrastructures for earth sciences, will be able to continue to access EGI Cloud Compute.

Nanjiang Shu, Researcher at NBIS, says: “We appreciate very much the excellent service provided by EGI.”

Giuseppe La Rocca, Technical Outreach Expert at the EGI Foundation, mediated the agreements and says: “We are very proud to renew these SLAs that continue to provide our services and strengthen our collaborations with a variety of research communities.” He also informs about a significant change in the agreement policy: “From now on the agreements with service providers are automatically renewed – as long as the provider does not express the wish to terminate it, at least a month before the end date. This change helps the EGI community to lower the effort needed to negotiate SLA extensions, so we can serve more communities, more efficiently.”

Structural biology in the clouds: a 10-year-old success story

The structural biology community published an extensive presentation showcasing the successes of the 10-year-old collaboration with EGI.

The community’s MoBrain collaboration is developing online portals for life scientists worldwide and relies on High-Throughput Computing and Online Storage services provided by the EGI Federation. In total, seven EGI data centres have offered around 75 million hours of computing time and more than 50 TB storage capacity to the research collaboration.

The MoBrain portals powered by EGI resources are: HADDOCK, DisVis, AMBER, CS-Rosetta, FANTEN and PowerFit. The web portal HADDOCK, for example, has so far processed more than 198,000 submissions from over 10,000 scientists, which translates into 8 million HTC computing jobs to EGI resources per year.

More usage trends and results of the partnership are available in the presentation.

The collaboration with EGI continues at the present time with a suite of dedicated thematic services within the EOSC-hub project.

New publication: EGI-Engage Impact & Results

We are happy to announce that we released a new publication featuring the results and impact of the EGI-Engage project.

EGI-Engage lasted for 30 months, from March 2015 to August 2017, and brought together 43 partners with a mission to expand the capabilities of a backbone of federated services for compute, storage, data, communication, knowledge and expertise, complementing community-specific capabilities.

The new publication gives an overview of the EGI-Engage outcomes across Europe and in the world. The project’s impact was felt at a large scale – from diverse scientific disciplines and at all scales of the research landscape, from individual researchers to large research communities and Research Infrastructures.

The Key Exploitable Results (KERs) of the project showcase an impact in different areas such as the advancement of scientific knowledge, the adoption of digital innovation in science and the implementation of European policies.

EGI-Engage also shaped the way to the new EOSC-hub project, aimed at building the Hub: a European-level contact point for researchers and innovators to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced data-driven research.

We would like to thank all of the participants of EGI-Engage and the EGI community for being part of this project and all the resulting achievements.

EOSC-hub: integrated services for the European Open Science Cloud

The EC-funded project EOSC-hub project started on January 1st 2018, bringing together an extensive group of national and international service providers to create the Hub: a central contact point for European researchers and innovators to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced data-driven research.

The consortium of 100 partners from more than 50 countries will develop the vision of the Hub as the integration and management system of the future European Open Science Cloud. The EOSC-hub project mobilises providers from the EGI Federation, EUDAT CDI, INDIGO-DataCloud and other major European research infrastructures to deliver a common catalogue of research data, services and software for research.

For researchers, this will mean a broader access to services supporting their scientific discovery and collaboration across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

EOSC-hub will significantly reduce the fragmentation of the IT facilities and digital tools in Europe. By bringing together a broad range of services from general and domain-specific research digital infrastructures under a common integration and operation layer, the EOSC-hub will foster new modes of working for collaborative research to deliver trusted services.

EOSC-hub will liaise closely with OpenAIRE Advance, a project set up to support the Open Access/Open Data mandates in Europe.

Tiziana Ferrari, Technical Director of the EGI Foundation and Project Coordinator, says: “I am thrilled to work for a project that is expected to lower access barriers, tackling issues such as federated identity, harmonization of service access policies, and coordinated service provisioning in Europe and beyond. With the Hub, sharing, using and reusing research data will be easier for research collaborations at all scales.”

Per Öster, Director of Research Infrastructures and Policy at CSC-IT Center for Science and Project Director, says: “Data is now in focus everywhere in research. The vision of the European Open Science Cloud, a capability to share and work with data for all research is very strong. By this project we take the first steps toward federated support of services to realise this vision.”

Giacinto Donvito, Technical Director of INDIGO-DataCloud and Technical Coordinator, says: “In EOSC-hub, we are integrating technological requirements and use cases coming from tens of Scientific Communities to facilitate how science is made, speed up adoption of innovative technologies and improve competitiveness of Europe in the exploitation of distributed data, compute and storage resources.”

More information

The project will bring together hundreds of experts working in a number of intertwined tasks covering strategy, business development, technical coordination and service management, to give a few examples.

Tiziana Ferrari, as EOSC-hub Project Coordinator, will be responsible for the overall project management including administrative and financial management within and across work packages. The Project Management Board, under the coordination of Per Öster, Project Director, will supervise the project strategy and implementation. Giacinto Donvito will lead the Technology Committee, a body created to evolve the project’s technical roadmap and supervise the contribution to open source community projects.

The EOSC-hub project (full title: Integrating and managing services for the European Open Science Cloud) will run for 36 months, through to December 2020 with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 777536.

Contact points

Email: info@eosc-hub.eu
EOSC-hub website: www.eosc-hub.eu (under construction)
Twitter: @eosc_eu

 

International Workshop on Big Data Analytics

The Big Data Analytics Workshop (BigDAW18) will take place in Italy, from 8 to 10 May 2018.

Aim of the workshop

Managing and processing large volumes of data, or “Big Data”, and gaining meaningful insights is a significant challenge facing the distributed computing community. As a consequence, many businesses are demanding large-scale streaming data analytics. This has a significant impact on a wide range of domains, including health care, biomedical research, internet searches, finance and business informatics, and scientific computing.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide a fertile ground for collaboration among research institutions and industries in the fields of analytics, machine learning, and high-performance computing.

Submissions

Authors are invited to submit full papers to the workshop. Full papers must be submitted through the workshop submission site and should not exceed six double-column pages in ACM conference format. This limit includes figures, tables, and references.

Important dates

Duration: 8 May to 10 May 2018

Submission deadline: 10 February 2018

Decision notification: 14 March 2018

Camera-ready copy: 28 March 2018

Find all the details on the workshop’s website.

New publication: EGI & Research Infrastructures

We are happy to announce that we published a new collection of use cases highlighting EGI’s work with research infrastructures (RIs).

The new publication highlights the diversity of challenges that research communities encounter in their work and the abundant support that the EGI community offers to tackle these challenges.

EGI is working closely with research communities to co-develop new solutions for their scientific problems.

For example, the European Space Agency connected two of their thematic exploitation platforms to the EGI Federated Cloud to support their computational needs. The MoBrain collaboration partnered with several EGI data centres to use High-Throughput Computing and Online Storage services needed to develop webportals for life and brain scientists worldwide. The DARIAH research infrastructure is using EGI Cloud Compute resources to support a new science gateway that makes digital applications available to arts and humanities scholars.

The achievements in the new publication would not be possible without the collaborative work of the EGI Federated data centres, the EGI Federated Cloud providers, and the involved research communities.

We would like to thank everyone for their support and dedication in making this publication happen.

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.