EGI Notebooks and Binder

Andrea Manzi and Enol Fernandez on the latest developments of the Notebooks service

EGI Notebooks offers a browser-based, scalable tool for interactive data analysis based on Jupyter. Users can create notebook documents where they can combine text, mathematics, computations and rich media output. The service, available since late 2019, is offered in two options:

  • Notebooks for researchers: EGI offers this instance of the Notebooks open to users after requesting access without any special prerequisites. Researchers can access, write and play notebooks on limited capacity cloud servers.
  • Notebooks for communities: EGI offers customised instances of the service to scientific communities. Such customised instances can be hosted on special hardware (for example with fat nodes and GPUs), can offer special libraries, tailored data import/export and community specific user authentication systems.

Now in 2021 and with the start of the EGI-ACE project, the Notebooks for researchers option is hosted and operated by CESNET, the EGI Federation partner in Czech Republic. The initial resource capacity allocated to the service is able to cope with 70 users running their notebooks in parallel.

Additional activities are planned during this year to improve the service with support for reproducible notebooks using Binder and to integrate data access through the EGI DataHub service. Both developments have been successfully piloted already and demonstrated in webinars. Further improvements in the internal service operation will also come as part of the EGI-ACE activities.

Recently, we started a collaboration with MathWorks to allow hosting MATLAB desktop as a web application on EGI Notebooks instances.

A dedicated webinar is available with more details about the integration. This brings users with existing licenses a way to execute and share their MATLAB scripts accessing computational resources and data hosted at the EGI providers.

As said, the service is customisable for communities. The latest of such deployments was set up for the SoBigData++ project, where EGI supports and operates the service with several extensions:

 

  • Integration with the SoBigData Authentication/Authorisation system, so users can seamlessly access the service without re-authenticating;
  • installation of libraries and extensions to support the needs of selected SoBigData++ Virtual Research  Environments (VREs); and
  • transparent access to the SoBigData Workspace, to make VRE Workspaces users  files available within the Notebooks environment.

This customised deployment entered production in March 2021 and since then, besides the  regular SoBigData++ users, it has been actively supporting the students of the Master in Big Data Analytics & Social Mining from the University of Pisa.

More information

EGI Notebooks service