A round up of news and information for and about EGI's User Communities
The User Community Board comprises representatives from groupings of researchers that EGI refers to as Virtual Research Communities or VRCs. The UCB meets monthly typically via telephone conference with open face to face meetings held twice a year at the EGI forums. The minutes are available from these meetings but a more user-friendly summary of the meeting is posted on this blog. Representatives are thus able to circulate the summary out across their own communities. The UCB members are currently participating in the Programme Committee of the forthcoming EGI Community Forum in Munich next March so there will be no meeting in December.
The Community representatives will be meeting in January in Amsterdam for a major meeting to discuss User Community Sustainability. You can read more about this meeting here: http://go.egi.eu/user-sus-24--26-Jan-2012. This will take place on the 24th and 25th January at EGI.eu at the Science Park in Amsterdam. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the key overarching challenges facing the communities and where responsibilities and opportunities lie in addressing these in the future. These responsibilities will relate to the VRCs as well as the European Grid Infrastructure and all of the partners and projects involved in its future. In particular we will be discussing the software services needed to support the communities from middleware to domain specific applications. Solutions such as cloud models and virtualization will be discussed too. The meeting will be followed by a second meeting with representatives from the NGIs who will be able to draw upon the outcomes from the User Community meeting to inform their planning for the months and years ahead.
The communities currently participating in the UCB are:
- Structural Biology (WeNMR)
- Life Sciences (LSGC)
- Hydrometeorology (HMRC)
- High Energy Physics (WLCG)
- Humanities (DARIAH and CLARIN)
- Earth Sciences (ESGC)
- Computational Chemistry and Molecular Science
- The Study of e-Science (Grid observatory)
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Digital Cultural Heritage
Of course these communities are not exclusive nor are they comprehensive but to date have given us valuable insights into the needs of researchers dependent on distributed computing infrastructure for their research. We would welcome more representatives from current and future communities. If you would like to discuss this further please contact me. In the past grid computing, and research dependent upon distributed computing infrastructure (DCI) in general (including High Performance Computing - HPC), has been used by large coordinated research communities. Whilst some, specifically High Energy Physicists for example, continue to work in this way, the majority of others are less tightly structured. This change is partly due to changes in funding models to support DCI-based research and partly as access paths to the technology become easier so more, smaller groupings can access the technology.
EGI wants to accelerate this uptake of the infrastructure by more, smaller specialised research communities. In order to do this we need to ensure that the tools and services provided by the sites offering access to the grid within our partner countries are appropriate to your needs. If you want to investigate linking your research computing resources to the grid or enquire about what resources might be available for your community then please get in touch.
The VRC model is deliberately flexible. Some VRCs operate at a high and broader level others are more specialised and focus on more specific research communities. Having established the requirements gathering processes and also the customisable support tools EGI is now able to welcome more such specialised VRCs into the UCB. Please contact me if you want to apply to have your community brought into this process.
The benefits of participating with EGI are that you are able to act as a representative for your research community and help articulate their needs to EGI. All users are able to submit suggestions for new requirements but participation in UCB provides an opportunity to contribute to the analysis of the new requirements as a whole. Furthermore, representatives are able to contribute to other planning aspects of the infrastructure and be in a strong position to report back to their community about the benefits and opportunities of EGI itself.