Feature - Open Science Grid Takes Stock and Sets New Goals
The San Diego Supercomputing Center on the sunny campus of UC San Diego hosted the Open Science Grid consortium all hands meeting March 5-7. Beyond the welcome respite from late winter weather for many out-of-towners, it was OSG at work, sleeves rolled up. Most of the OSG staff and day-to-day contributors were present, as well as a many representatives from OSG partners in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
SDSC Director Fran Berman opened the meeting with a brief history of grid computing, and touched on central themes of the three-day meeting: setting goals and measuring success.
Ruth Pordes, OSG Executive Director, emphasized that as a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation, OSG's mission is to evolve the existing distributed facility, extend its capabilities, reach out to new communities, and provide training and educational opportunities.
"We must get the word out," said Pordes. "We are actively contacting new communities and bringing them in. It is also important to increase our effort to define and collect metrics as we move ahead, to clearly demonstrate our growth and maturation, and our ability to support research."
In all, more than 180 attendees presented, examined and planned their work towards the shared goal of advancing science through a national distributed computing facility. The OSG Council met to plan the upcoming program of work needed to deliver to the Large Hadron Collider schedule. To this end, the meeting was paired with meetings and hands-on sessions March 7 and 8 for the US-LHC Tier 2 and 3 OSG sites.
Enabling users to effectively access OSG resources proved to be a hot topic. Several "to do" lists resulted from candid and sometimes heated exchanges on the interplay between security and interoperability.
"Seeing the diversity of disciplines that OSG touches was the most gratifying," said Frank Wuerthwein of UCSD, one of the meeting organizers. Attendees were brought up-to-date on OSG-enabled advances in mathematics, various physical and biological sciences, computer science, and on the capabilities of new OSG sites.
New user communities got a chance to present themselves, meet like-minded future collaborators, and participate in hands-on training with experts. Among the new faces was Alex L. Perryman, Amgen Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology.
"This was my first real exposure to grid-based computing," said Perryman. "It is already apparent to me that the OSG can change the nature of my molecular dynamics-based research. I'll be able to perform substantially more and different simulations. Instead of achieving suggestive results, I'll be able to produce statistically significant conclusions."
For more information about the meeting and presentations, visit the conference Web site.
- Anne Heavey