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The Open Science Grid goes to school

Speed read
  • Open Science Grid travels around the world to connect researchers with compute resources
  • In 2016, OSG officers took part in two summer schools
  • Scarcity of compute resources alleviated with distributed computing model

Many of us may take our computing resources for granted. But for some researchers around the globe, advanced computing resources are scarce — as is the expertise to take advantage of them. The Open Science Grid (OSG) is working to change that.

Every two years, they travel to a new location in sub-Saharan Africa to share their computing knowledge and skills with graduate students from around the continent.<strong>Class act.</strong> About 70 graduate students attended the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications in Africa. Courtesy OSG.

In 2016, OSG operations officer Robert Quick and operations support manager Kyle Gross went to the University of Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda.

The team headed a portion of a three-week summer school, called the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications (ASP), at the University of Rwanda's College of Sciences and Technology, as part of an outreach campaign led by the Distributed Organization for Scientific and Academic Research (DOSAR), a consortium of 13 universities across the U.S. About 70 graduate students attended the school and gained hands-on experience and valuable information to bring back to their respective universities.

"While there are a few hundred universities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas that have access to cyberinfrastructure like the OSG, many thousands more don't, especially in Africa," explains Quick.

The biennial summer school is organized by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. In addition to Quick and Gross, dozens of experts flew in from CERN and other parts of the world to give lectures and mentor ASP students in many different fields of physics.

Open science data means that new eyes can look at data and potentially make new discoveries. ~ Rob Quick

Before the African school began, Quick was able to tack on two weeks in Trieste, Italy, at the International Center for Theoretical Physics for the first-ever CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School.

<strong>Global gathering. </strong> Many students from around the world attended the summer school in Trieste, Italy. Courtesy OSG.

"One of the good things about this new school is that we're promoting openness and sharing in basically every aspect of research," adds Quick. "Open science data means that new eyes can look at data and potentially make new discoveries."

Like the ASP in Africa, this school is aimed at educating students from developing countries worldwide who may not have access to the kind of data science they need. Through lectures and workshops, the students learn the basics of what it takes to do data science by building a foundation with some statistical software, database software, and basic operating systems like UNIX, among others.

"Cuba was represented there, which was the first time I'd seen Cuban students in any of these outreach classes," notes Quick. "They told me that it's very difficult for them to access any resources outside of Cuba. We were very happy to have them at the school."

"It's the small steps that help shape the future of global research."

Read the original OSG article here.

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