The idea of a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) took shape in 2015, when the European Commission announced their vision for a “trusted environment for hosting and processing research data to support EU science in its global leading role.”
The EOSC is now becoming a reality as Europe’s virtual environment for all researchers to store, manage, analyse and re-use data for research, innovation and educational purposes.
The notion of a distributed infrastructure offering advanced resources and services for data-intensive processing in research and innovation has been part of the EGI mission and vision since the EGI design and implementation that started with the DataGrid project back in 2000 under the leadership of CERN. Distributed processing of data supported by a pan-European broadband network infrastructure, solutions for trust and identity management and the Grid middleware, have been the enablers of two Nobel prizes in Physics (2013 and 2017), and many more data-driven scientific discoveries in high energy physics, astronomy and astrophysics, health and medicine, and earth sciences resulting in more than 3,000 open access scientific publications enabled each year.
After 15 years of operational activities and more than 71,000 users, the EGI Federation is facing a growing demand of data-centric distributed computing solutions for exabyte scale data analytics. Utilisation is growing at the annual rate of +20%, with more than 5 Billion CPU hours consumed in the last 12 months. Bioinformatics, neuro-informatics, and computational structural biology account for 34% of the EGI users. The Photon and Neutron community with the support of the PaNOSC project, is piloting Jupyter Notebooks integrated with federated cloud and data management services. Earth sciences is the most active scientific community in the EGI Federated Cloud, benefiting from the co-location of large data holdings and IaaS, PaaS and SaaS Cloud services accessible through Check-in. LifeWatch, EMSO and the Agrifood communities are examples of initiatives that are embracing the distributed Cloud paradigm.
EGI has been supporting open science by enabling sharing of data, by federating peer digital infrastructures in North and South America, Africa and Arabia, and the Asia Pacific regions with Europe, and by supporting open access to a rich portfolio of scientific date analytics tools.
With this legacy, EGI contributed to the position paper European Open Science Cloud for Research with EUDAT, LIBER, OpenAIRE and GÉANT, making the case for the eight critical elements of EOSC success: open, publicly funded & governed, research-centric, comprehensive, diverse & distributed, interoperable, service-oriented and social.
In 2017, EGI endorsed the EOSC Declaration and signed up to the principles of openness and FAIRness that underline the EOSC vision. Specifically, the EGI participants committed to support EOSC implementation, contributing to best practices and offering advanced compute services for research and innovation.
In 2018, the EOSC-hub project took off the ground as a joint effort of EGI, EUDAT, Indigo-DataCloud and major European research infrastructures to create the Hub: the federating infrastructure, processes and policies to integrate data, research outputs and services in EOSC. That same year, the EOSC was officially launched and the new EOSC Portal was inaugurated, with the EOSC-hub Marketplace as a core functionality offering European researchers and innovators to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced data-driven research.
The services provided by the EGI Federation are at the heart of the EOSC-hub project.
EGI’s providers contribute to the delivery of the compute and data analytics tiers of EOSC which provide the hosting environment for a portfolio of data analytics services that address the specific needs of scientific communities. For example, EGI’s Cloud Compute, High-Throughput Compute and Data Transfer services support the EPOS-ORFEOS CC in their mission to facilitate Earth Science in Europe. The Radio-Astronomy CC uses EGI’s Cloud Compute and Check-in services to support LOFAR, a large radio telescope network. The Marine Competence Centre and ICOS RI both use Cloud Compute and Notebooks services in their activities.
EGI also supports thematic services in EOSC-hub, such as the DARIAH Science Gateway, ENES Climate Analytics and the OPENCoastS Portal.
The EOSC Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) in its mission to bring private companies and SMEs into the EOSC has been boosting the EGI business programme demonstrating how innovative companies can benefit from EOSC and e-Infrastructure technical support and services. Already six DIH business pilots stand as success stories and use EGI Cloud Compute services.
The EGI service catalogue is fully available through the EOSC Marketplace, serving an even wider user base.
The EOSC federating core will leverage the experience and knowhow of EGI technical partners in providing solutions and activities like federated AAI, accounting, and monitoring, security policies and coordinated cross-infrastructure incident management. EGI is also contributing to the Rules of Participation and technical interoperability guidelines with harmonized cross-infrastructure security policies and interoperability guidelines for federated Compute, Data Management and AAI.
In 2018, EOSC-hub signed collaboration agreements with OpenAIRE-Advance and GÉANT respectively, to reinforce common ambitions for Europe as leader in digital and open science through its e-Infrastructures.
EGI is actively supporting the PANOSC project, and the ExPaNDS project aiming to contribute to the realisation of a data commons for neutron & photon science in the EOSC landscape, offering technical support and service provisioning via the EGI Federated Cloud, the Notebooks and the Data Transfer services, as well as coordinated user support. EOSC-Synergy successfully kicked off its activities – under the coordination of IBERGRID and the active participation of the NGIs from Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands and UK. The EOSC-Nordic, EOSC-Pillar, NI4OS-Europe and ExPaNDS projects represent other national opportunities for positioning and consolidation in the EOSC landscape.
In the last 15 years, EGI demonstrated the key role of scientific computing and its role as necessary instrument of scientific excellence and open science in Europe. EOSC will push the evolution of EGI from a HTC infrastructure, to exabyte scale hybrid HTC & HPC infrastructure supporting cloud IaaS, PaaS, SaaS access, increasingly integrated with the capabilities of EUDAT, GEANT and OpenAIRE, and the data and applications from research infrastructures of pan-European relevance. The provisioning of increasingly integrated and interoperable services will be a key milestone for the implementation of EOSC and the support of European excellence in science.