International Networks to Aid Global Research Collaborations in Climate, Bioinformatics and Computer Science

INTERNATIONAL “ENLIGHTEN YOUR RESEARCH” PROGRAM SELECTS FOUR GLOBAL DATA-INTENSIVE RESEARCH PROPOSALS

DENVER—(Nov. 19, 2013)—Five of the world’s leading national research and education networks (NRENs) yesterday announced at the Supercomputing Conference (SC13) the selection of four major research collaborations that will participate in the first ever “Enlighten Your Research Global” (EYR-Global) program. Supported by leading NRENs in the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands (NL), Finland (FI) and the United States (USA), the EYR program is designed to identify research programs that could significantly benefit from enhanced global network connectivity.

“Many research communities like those in climate and bioinformatics now need access to global network resources to support their ever-growing data needs and international collaborations,” said the CEO of SURFnet, Erwin Bleumink, whose NREN was responsible for starting this global program. “Through EYR-Global, each selected proposal will have access to higher capacity connections as well as help from expert engineers to jumpstart their research efforts. We are excited to see the outcome of each project, enabled by these new network resources.”

The EYR-Global jury, comprised of each NREN’s chief executives, chose four proposals to be a part of this year’s program, which will give researchers advanced network resources for at least one year. Each project strives to use networks to further improve their research in new and innovative ways. These proposals span a wide array of research domains, including two global climate projects, a biophysics and neuroscience project on how the nervous system instigates behavior, and computer science project that enables the analysis of massive bioinformatics datasets.

The selected projects are:

“International Networking for Climate,” led by Dean Williams of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), USA, is a project that compliments the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF), of which Williams also leads. This work offers researchers the ability to access climate data at replication sites around the world. These sites include the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, or PCMDI, at LLNL, USA; the Center for Environmental Data Archival, or CEDA, UK; the German Climate Computing Center, or DKRZ, DE; the National Computational Infrastructure, Australia; and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, or KNMI, NL. The goal is to improve the end-to-end Internet connections between sites to 4 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2014.

“Achieving Multidisciplinary High-throughput, Quantitative Behavior Analysis with Advanced Computing and Networking Tools,” led by Stephen Helms, of the FOM Institute AMOLF, NL. By employing modern image analysis techniques, Helms and his team extract data from video files that track the movement of small worms (nematodes) as they perform natural behaviors. This data can then be used to quantitatively define the full behavioral repertoire of animals or empirically build simple models for complex behaviors. Currently researchers are constrained by limited file sharing abilities. They need to share data as it is generated so the team seeks to boost their bandwidth to 10 Gbps, linking AMOLF and the University of Amsterdam in NL with Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan.

“An Advanced Distributed Computing Approach to High-Resolution Climate Modeling,” led by Henk Dijkstra, of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) at Utrecht University, NL. The project is investigating how changes in ocean circulation affect the Earth’s climate. To do this, the applicants propose running a Community Earth System Model, CESM, across four different supercomputers in four different countries to obtain results that will allow the researchers to view an unprecedented level of detail, which includes the full resolution of ocean eddies. They are asking for three end-to-end network connections to the participating supercomputers, with a combination of 10 Gbps links and lightpaths between Stampede of Texas Advanced Computing Center, USA; SuperMUC of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, DE; Cartesius of SURFsara, NL; and Emerald of the Center for Innovation in High Performance Computing, UK. Participating institutions are IMAU and the Netherlands eScience Center, NL; Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Miami, USA; the Oxford eResearch Center, UK; Ludwig–Maximillians University, DE.

“Cross-site VM Operation,” led by David van Enckevort of the University Medical Center Groningen, NL. This project aims to transfer “virtual machines” (VMs) between computing centers to allow researchers to perform analyses that they could not otherwise do locally. With the advances in technologies like those used for genetic sequencing, data output has grown enormously and researchers are trying to adapt to new storage and compute requirements needed for analysis. This project wants to enable researchers to perform analysis via cloud infrastructures and VMs. The applicants need to transfer the VMs in a timely, secure, and fault tolerant manner between computing centers in FI, NL and the UK. This proposal asks for at least 1 Gbps end-to-end lightpaths to transfer VMs within a 10-minute window. Participating institution are the University of Groningen and SURFsara, NL; Cambridge University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory—European Bioinformatics Institute, UK; and CSC—IT Center for Science, FI.

The selected proposals will receive networking resources that they need for their project for one year. In collaboration with affiliate partners Dante, DFN and AARnet, the EYR partner NRENs ESnetFunetInternet2Janet, and SURFnet will provide and develop high-quality network services for all higher education and research institutions in their respective countries.