Thursday, 22 October 2009

Wish you were here

For those of you not at the Innovation Forum, you are missing lots of interesting presentations and discussions. Applications, clouds, outreach, "campus champions", EGI, and more. Oh, and real research. I encourage you to see the slides if and when they're available.

In my areas of expertise, I note in particular the requirements for data management and identity management. On the latter, we are working to improve the way certificates are managed in various stages of their lifetime; recent developments in the IGTF will, for once, help make some things easier. The CA will be modernised. And SARoNGS will of course also be available.

For data management, it is interesting to note the very different requirements of communities: security, performance, volume, metadata, filesize, etc. The good thing about the NGS is we're stronger together. For a new community, to solve their problems themselves would take a long time, but using infrastructure set up for other communities makes things much easier.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Day 1 at the NGS Innovation Forum '09

Nearly the end of the first day of the NGS Innovation Forum ’09. From an organisers point of view it’s gone okay – all the speakers turned up, everyone was fed and watered and we have a good mix of people here.

The day kicked off with an introduction from the NGS Executive Director Andrew Richards who used some interesting analogies (London underground and shipping containers!) to describe the past, present and future of the NGS.

Next up was David Fergusson from the NeSC training team who talked us through the life cycle of a job on the NGS including birth, mating and death accompanied by some of his own great photos– very interesting!

After a lively coffee break it was time for the break out sessions which, judging by the amount of talking, were lively and constructive. Half way through the sessions everyone swapped to the second session so well done everyone for finding your place! I’m looking forward to the feedback sessions later on from the groups to see what was said and the issues that were raised.

Another coffee break and back in for a presentation from Steve Newhouse, Director of EGI who talked about the European future which is currently the presentation I’m sitting in!

So a great day so far with a lot of discussion and a lot of interesting issues raised! Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Almost there

Things have been rather busy here at the NGS lately as we prepare for the Innovation Forum which starts tomorrow.

NGS staff will be at the venue from early on and registration starts at 9am with plenty of tea and coffee available so come along and have a chat before the crowds appear! We're expecting 131 people over the 2 days with a good mix of users, IT support staff and other e-research organisations represented.

If you can't make the event then don't despair, blog posts live from the event will appear here and the slides will be available on our website.

Hopefully we'll see many of you tomorrow in The Magic Circle Headquarters!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Release of a free e-science book online today

We are pleased to announce that “The New Paradigm”, a collection of essays expanding on the vision of pioneering computer scientist Jim Gray has been released online today.

Malcolm Atkinson, Director of The e-Science Institute and National e-Science Centre said –
“The UK e-Science programme always recognised the importance of data. This book recognises that data-intensive science is dramatically changing the way research is done, and is an excellent compendium of progress with this new approach.

It is also dedicated to the memory of Jim Gray, who christened data-intensive research "The New Paradigm", who shaped the transactional model of databases we all depend on, who led Microsoft into supporting the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and into developing new database technology to support data-intensive research. Sadly, Jim was mysteriously lost at sea in January 2007.”

The book has several connections with UK e-Science as the prime mover and first editor is Tony Hey (former director of the UK e-science initiative) and Carole Goble (University of Manchester) and Dave De Roure (University of Southampton) have a chapter in it.

The book is available for free download from the website.

The New York Times has also featured an article about the book.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Amazon vouchers up for grabs from OMII-UK

Our colleagues at OMII-UK are looking for volunteers to fill in a quick ten-minute survey on e-research.

Completing the survey not only gives you the chance to win an Amazon voucher, but it also means that you will be directly contributing to development of the software and support that is needed by the research community.

The survey can be found here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Digging for the right information?

Our colleagues at NaCTeM (National Centre for Text Mining) are holding a workshop entitled "Text Mining for Scholarly Communications and Repositories" which will take place on the 28th - 29th October at the Manchester Interdisciplinary BioCentre, University of Manchester. The Workshop is being co-hosted by NaCTeM and UKOLN.

There will be a keynote presentation entitled "eScience and Semantic Computing" given by Professor Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft External Research - a name familiar to many in the UK e-science community!

A full Programme of international speakers and the registration form is now available at the event website.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Get in training

The NGS will be running another RA operators training event on the 11th of November. If you or someone at your institution needs to be able to distribute, authenticate, revoke UK e-science certificates etc then this is the course you have to do!

It's a short course starting at 11am at RAL down near Oxford and will finish by 2pm. Lunch is included as well and the event is free to attend.

Further information (inlcuding how to register for the event) is available on the RA training pages on the NGS website.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Way up north

A long train journey up the west coast took at least one of the NGS team to the NGS Roadshow event at the University of Glasgow yesterday. The others had slightly shorter train journeys or a flight but at least I got to see some stunning scenery!

We had a really good turn out for the event which was held in the rather nice surroundings of the University Library annexe - 43 people, the vast majority of whom were not current users of the NGS.

The event kicked off in traditional style with an introduction by our Technical Director, Dr David Wallom. This was then followed by 2 user presentations from people at the University of Manchester. Sanjay Kharche spoke about his use of NGS resources for multi-scale cardiac Modeling whilst Mahmoud Ibrahim explained how he benefits by using Gaussian on the NGS.

After the examples of how the NGS can be used, Dr David Fergusson from NeSC explained how you can actually apply for and start using NGS resources followed up by a presentation on the types of training available from NeSC and further afield.

The event was wrapped up by Dr Stuart Purdie who described the European picture and the role of EGEE. Well done to Stuart who kept going after his laptop locked up and lost all his slides!

Lunch was a typically lively affair with a great deal of discussion taking place on a wide range of topics. There is certainly plenty going on in the UK grid computing field!

Our next roadshow is not until the 11th of November so we have a bit of a breather until then. However we do have the Innovation Forum which will take place on the 21st - 22nd of October and registration closes on the 13th so if you haven't registered yet, do so soon!