A summary of the discussions that took place at the last UCB telephone conference
Since the last User Community Board (UCB) meeting the User Community Support Team (UCST) has been involved in preparations for the EGI Technical Forum to be held in Lyon in September from 19th to the 23rd. Many presentation proposals have been received for the User Support-related sessions and these are now being programmed into the schedule and presenters are being informed. All of the existing and prospective Virtual Research Communities (VRCs) have been invited to make a short, ten minute, presentation about the issues and achievements relating to their operation as a VRC. This should cover the challenges and benefits of running a VRC as well as the technical needs and accomplishments of the VRC itself. Juri Chudoba representing the Pierre Auger Observatory collaboration joined the UCB in recognition that this is a significant candidate VRC. Juri will say more about this community at the VRC session at the Technical Forum.
Work has been progressing on the organization of the remaining six non-TF11 workshops. See here for further details: http://go.egi.eu/aaxdz. A number of potential locations have been identified although more offers are welcome. Further details will emerge shortly. The User Support Platform is progressing. All of the key constituent services are progressing to plan and customisable widgets will shortly be available for the Training Marketplace in addition to those already available for the applications Database. Surveys are being prepared for each of the services and these will be run during the course of September including at the Technical Forum. These will contribute to the process of gathering requirements for the next development cycle after the Technical Forum.
At the recent Technical Coordination Board (TCB) The current prioritised requirements from UCB were discussed. TCB requested that topics not be so broad that they cannot be considered as something needing a specific solution within the software roadmaps. It was also suggested that where applicable small requirements be fed into the help ticket system (GGUS) for possible inclusion as bug fixes during minor software releases.
UCST had a recent meeting with TERENA to discuss how their certificate issuing service could be utilised more broadly to simplify th issuing of certificates especially in the context of training. Additionally the TERENA process of establishing ID Provider status to institutions was being explored. Further input was requested from communities having some experience of the benefits and challenges of this process. More information will be published in due course.
The User Forum has been retitled to the Community Forum to reflect the emphasis and priorities of the event. The next one will take place in Munich, Germany, 26-30 March 2012 - http://cf2012.egi.eu/. The focus of the event will be to target ‘grid enablers’, that is individuals who make an impact on other people’s utilisation of the grid. What we need to do now is identify and support these grid enablers and find out what we can do to make things easier for the end users that they support. There was a discussion about the perceived prohibitive cost of previous forums. The challenge is recognised but one solution is to work to ensure that events represent good value whatever the eventual cost turns out to be.
Computational Chemistry, not yet a VRC, reported on communication activity which included plans for a newsletter and the identification of the gap that exists between the users and the grid. EGI has a dissemination team that can support the production of newsletters and the gap issue is acknowledged. A key part of the UCST activity is to work with NGIs and VRCs to identify and provide solutions for this gap.
Earth Sciences, not yet a VRC, are focussed on acquiring funding for support related activity.
Life Sciences (LSGC VRC) reported significant dissemination activity and a range of technical issues that have been tackled recently. These related to transient errors with Nagios, GGUS templates needed, VOMS issues, LFC backup, site decommissioning and site SLA questions.
Astronomy and Astrophysics reported planning activity towards the Paris meeting in December where the VRC will be formed. Requirements are being identified in the meantime.
The Auger community is in the early stages of forming a VRC. There is a clear desire to achieve this and meetings have been held to take this forward. Some of the technological challenges facing the community relate to the shortage of storage elements (SEs).
The Stuctural Biology Community (WeNMR VRC) reported a full set of event participation activity and detailed list of future events and training sessions. Impressive increasing usage figures were also presented (332 users) including notification of a new user from China. Progress was also reported on portals and other monitoring services. Prospective collaboration with users in the US and elsewhere beyond Europe was also reported.
There will be a short pre-Technical Forum meeting to prepare; date to be decided.