[CSG Spring 2008] Cyberinfrastructure Workshop – Virtual Organizations


Ken Klingenstein –

An increasing artifact of the landscape of scientific research, largely from the cost nature of new instruments.

Always inter-institutional, frequently international – presents interesting security and privacy issues.

Having a “mission” in teaching and a need for administration. All of these proposals end with “in the final year of our proposal three thousand students will be able to do this simulation”. Three thousand students did hit the Teragrid a few months back for a challenge – 50% of the jobs never returned.

Tend to cluster around unique global scale facilities and instruments.

Heavily reflected in agency solicitations and peer review processes.

Being seen now in arts and humanities.

VO Characteristics – distributed across space and time; dynamic management structures; collaboratively enabled; computationally enhanced.

Building effective VOs. Workshop run by NSF in January 2008. A few very insightful talks, and many not-so-insightful talks. http://www.ci.uchicago.edu/events/VirtOrg2008/

Fell into the rathole of competing collab tools.

Virtual Org Drivers (VOSS) – solicitation just closed. Studying the sociology – org life cycles, production and innovation, etc.

NSF Datanet – to develop new methods, management structures, and technologies. “Those of us who are familiar with boiling the ocean recognize an opportunity.”

Comanage environment – externalizes id management, priveleges, and groups. Being developed by Internet2 with Stanford as lead institution. Apps being targeted: Confluence (done), Sympa, Asterisk, DimDim, Bedework, Subversion.

Two specimen VOs

LIGO-GEO-VIRGO (www.ligo.org)

Ocean Observing Initiative ( http://www.joiscience.org/ocean_observing )

The new order – stick sensors wherever you can and then correlate the hell out of them.

Lessons Learned – people collaborate externally but compete internally; time zones are hell; big turf issue of the local VO sysadmin – LIGO has 9 different wiki technologies spread out over 15 or more sites (collaboration hell). Diversity driven by autonomous sysadmins. Many instruments are black boxes – give you a shell script as your access control. Physical access control matters with these instruments. There are big science egos involved.

Jim Leous – Penn State – A VO Case Study.

Research as a process: lit search/forming the team; writing the proposal; funding; data collection; data processing; publish; archive.

Science & Engineering Indicators 2008

publications with authors from multiple institutions grew from 41% to 65%. Coauthorship with foreign authors increased by 9% between 2995 and 005.

How do we support this? Different collaborative tools. Lit Search – refworks, zotero, del.icio.us; Research info systems – Kuali Research; home grown; Proposals – wikis, google docs; etc. Lots of logins. COmanage moves the identity and access management out of individual tools and into the collaboration itself.

Need to manage attributes locally – not pollute the central directory with attributes for a specific collaboration effort.

What about institutions that don’t participate. LIGO – 600 scientists from 45 institutions.

LIGO challenges – data rates of 0.5 PB/yr across three detectors (> 1 TB /day); many institutions provide shared infrastructure, e.g. clusters, wikis, instrument control/calibration); international collaboration with other organizations; a typical researcher has dozens of accounts.

Penn State Gravity Team implemented LIGO roster based on LDAP and Kerberos – Penn State “just went out and did it” – drove soul searching from LIGO folks – “why shouldn’t we do this?”. Led to LIGO Hackathon in January, which was very productive. Implemented Shibboleth, several SPs, Confluence, Grouper, etc.

Next steps are to leverage evolving LIGO IAM infrastructure; establish permanent instance of LIFO COmanage; encourage remaining institutions to join InCommon; and (eventually) detect a gravity wave?

Bernie Gulachek – Positioning University of Minnesota’s Research Cyberinfrastructure – forming a Virtual Org at Minnesota – the Research Cyberinfrastructure Alliance.

A group of folks who have provided research technology support – academic health center; college of liberal arts; minnesota supercomputer institute; library; etc.

Not (right now) a conversation about technology, but about organization, alliances, and partnerships. Folks not necessarily accountable to each other, but are willing to come together and change the way they think about things to achieve the greater common good.

Both health center and college of liberal arts came to IT to ask how to build sustainable support for research technology .

Assessing Readiness – will this be something successful, or a one-off partnership? What precepts need to be in place for partnership? The goal is to position the institution for computationally intensive research. They have a (short) set of principles for the Alliance.

Research support has been silo’ed – need to have a connection with a specific campus organization, and the researcher needs to bridge those individual organizations. The vision is to bring the silos together. Get research infrastructure providers talking together. Researcher consultations – hired a consultant.

Common Service Portfolio – Consulting Services; Application Support Services; Infrastructure Services – across the silos. Might be offered differently in different disciplines. Consulting Services are the front door to the researcher.

Group is meeting weekly, discussing projects and interests.

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