A summary of the discussions that took place at the UCB telephone conference
This is the first of what will become a regular monthly posting, namely a summary of the discussions from the previous User Community Board (UCB) meeting. The UCB enables representatives from the user communities to meet and share grid experiences and discuss plans for the future in order to influence the evolution of the infrastructure including support services. More information is available elsewhere on the User Support section of the EGI website.
UCB Summary: 15 July, 2011
Since the last User Community Board (UCB) meeting the User Community Support Team (UCST) has been involved in the EGI-InSPIRE EU project review which was held on 30 June - 1 July in Amsterdam. This went well with a full presentation given on the activities and achievements of UCST; we are still awaiting the formal response. UCST provides the EGI User Support Platform comprising various services for users, communities and also NGIs. As part of the services for VOs a VO Operations Dashboard is being developed. The Application Database will be upgraded in August and the first major release of the new Training Marketplace is available and both will benefit from user feedback. Online forms are being prepared to capture this feedback over the course of the EGI Technical Forum.
A series of user community workshops is being planned and a poll is running to confirm interest (http://go.egi.eu/aaxdz) in the proposed themes. Four of these workshops will run at the Technical Forum, others will either run in Amsterdam or within partner countries possibly in conjunction with other user related events. At the time of writing the portal workshop was the most popular topic. These topics will shortly be associated with separate wiki pages with specific information and individual polls to determine time and place. Whilst the response to the original poll which was circulated to NGI support contacts and VRC representatives was not bad it was pointed out that this communication channel should be much more efficient in terms of getting information to end users.
Registration for the EGI Technical Forum (TF) in Lyon in September (19-23) is now open - http://tf2011.egi.eu/. There are a number of sessions clearly aimed at the user community, UCB members are invited to circulate this information widely. A key goal for the TF will be to promote the Training Marketplace. All users and especially project partners are encouraged to promote the Training Marketplace, promote events, indicate potential training events and submit suggestions and requests for training. There has been a recent blog post on this topic.
The Life Sciences Grid Community (LSGC) has been very active since signing their VRC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EGI. Steve Brewer has attended two recent Life Sciences-related meetings: a workshop in London (IWSG 11) and the HealthGrid conference (http://paris2010.healthgrid.org/). Other VRCs were advised to inform the UCST about any significant user-focused events for their community in good time so that support and participation could be arranged where and as appropriate.
The major topics that are emerging from the requirements gathering process were presented, reported on and discussed. These are as follows:
- Increased stability and scalability for gLite WMS
- Better (more verbose and informative) error messages
- Fixing the known bugs before adding new features
- Coherency of command line commands, parameters and APIs
- Better feedback about jobs, automated resubmission of jobs that are stuck on sites
- Data management
All of these topics are being investigated by the UCST and the findings reported back to the UCB for further discussion.
The VRCs present reported briefly on activities within their communities:
WeNMR (structural biology) reported a successful training event in Turkey during which certificate related issues were avoided.
It was reported that the Astrophysics community is continuing to have various smaller meetings in the run up to the open meeting in Paris where the Astro VRC will be discussed in some detail. See http://go.egi.eu/astro-vrc for further information.
Computational Chemistry reported a meeting on theoretical chemistry to be held the following week in Santiago de Compostela in which the European Computational Chemistry Division will consider how to foster Grid computing. It was also reported that there was a workshop devoted to computational applications in molecular sciences within the International Conference on Computational Science and its Applications (Santander, Spain, June 20-23)
LSGC reported that two existing VOs that use Globus rather than gLite: mediGrid and bioinformatics joined LSGC. LSGC also reported on inter-project discussions with ScalaLife and DECIDE, plus the EGI dissemination team. In the technical area LSGC reported the development of some NAGIOS probes and related monitoring work that is on-going in addition to further evaluation of NA3-promoted monitoring tools. MPI jobs are have also been evaluated. Some training activity was also reported with respect to the EDGI project for desktop grids. VOMS and LFC services were also evaluated.
Earth Sciences reported that they have many new grid-applicable applications but that the need to use certificates can act as a barrier to many in this community. A big forthcoming meeting was also reported. It was also noted that many users within this community have distributed computing needs that go beyond the traditional grid model.
Steve Brewer reminded the meeting that EGI is actively seeking to facilitate the integration of different distributed computing platforms and that is a key driver behind UCB in terms of capturing the detail of such needs across communities and then identifying potential solutions.
There was a discussion about the process of formally establishing a VRC. The process revolves around the completion of the MoU, a process which is coordinated by the EGI Policy Team. The representatives of the VRCs that have been established so far offered to speak directly to any prospective VRC representatives if that was felt to be beneficial.
The issue of communication was discussed in terms of better propagating the issues and practices discussed in these meetings. It was agreed that a summary of the meeting would be produced that was written for a wider audience and would be circulated via the EGI blog for community representatives to pass on themselves to their communities. This, therefore, is the first of these summaries and any feedback is welcome to: email@example.com.