Tuesday, 23 February 2010

South way south

Tomorrow sees three NGS staff head way south to Canterbury for a NGS roadshow event which will be held at Christ Church Canterbury University or CCCU for short!

As well as the usual NGS staff in attendance we will also have two NGS users who will be speaking about their research using the NGS. Paul Townend from the University of Leeds will be speaking about the use of NGS in the social sciences while Sulman Sarwar will be speaking about the use of NGS in the humanities. It should be a very interesting event and something slightly different!

Meanwhile if you would like to see the presentations from our last roadshow event which was held at the University of Hull these are now available on the event website.

And coincidentally some social science research using NGS resources was mentioned in this recent iSGTW article entitled "Supporting the arts and humanities with e-science".

Friday, 19 February 2010

Fancy a change of scenery?

If so then have a look at the new job opportunities advertised from the recently created European Grid Initiative (EGI). The EGI organisation is being developed to coordinate the European Grid Infrastructure, based on the federation of individual National Grid Infrastructures, to support a multi-disciplinary user community.

The jobs appear to be based in Amsterdam and include technology and operation officers, dissemination roles and much more. Details of all the roles can be found in the jobs section of the EGI website.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

It's that time of year again

Last years UK All Hands Meeting is still fresh in the minds of many people but we're now beginning to look ahead to this years.

The AHM has been moved back to its traditional slot of September and will be held in Cardiff from the 13th - 15th - a week when every other conference also seems to be on judging by my inbox!

The call is however out now for workshops for this event and all the relevant information is on the new AHM website.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

An Introduction to NGS Research and Development

The goal of the NGS is to deliver a production quality national e-infrastructure in support of academic research. This is stated on the website and mentioned at the roadshows.

Technology moves on and what constitutes a production quality national e-infrastructure changes.

The task of keeping up with the Globuses is the responsibility of the NGS Research and Development group. This is the first of a series of postings from Research and Development describing what we do.

Let us introduce ourselves: we are a group of people from STFC, Oxford, Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester. We typically meet by acccess grid once a week and it is our job to evaluate and develop new services. These services may be suggested by people within the group or suggested by our colleagues in the Operations or Partnership.

The services we are working on can be broadly classified as...

Advanced Reservation

To provide ways of booking time on one or more sites

Middleware deployment

Simplifying and documenting the installation of the software needed to join a grid.

User facing services

Services intended to make life easier for end users

Data access

Ways of getting the data you want where you want it to be.

Cloud computing

Computing on demand.
If you want to know more, keep watching the blog for future R+D postings.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Simulations on the NGS

From looking at the user case studies available on the NGS Communities site, there are a large number of NGS users using NGS resources for simulations. As the outreach person at the NGS I'd like to showcase these simulations on our website to demonstrate the type of research taking place on the NGS.

At the moment there are only a few simulations up from Dr Zhongwei Guan who is researching into the impact / blast behaviour of fibre metal laminates. I would love to see more simulations available from other research areas so if you have a short video clip of your research that would fit into this section then please let me know! You can email the file to me at gillian(dot)sinclair(at)manchester(dot)ac(dot)uk.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Bioinformatics training from the NGS

In conjunction with the Scottish Bioinformatics Forum, the NGS is running a one day training event at NeSC in Edinburgh in March and the event is open to all.

The course will cover accessing the facilities of the NGS to run high through put applications across multiple nodes for bioinformatics. Attendees will launch jobs using command line and GUI interfaces and use some of the pre-installed bioinformatics applications available from the NGS nodes. Also included will be a short introduction to the practicalities of translating bioinformatics formats between XML formats.

If you would like to attend this event then please see the event page on the NeSC website. Remember you don't have to be a SBF member to attend or indeed Scottish!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

New on the NGS website

There have been some new additions to the NGS website over the last week or so - mainly news stories but hopefully of interest to you all!

Karl Bateman, a NGS user from the University of Manchester, had his research featured as the headline article on iSGTW recently. Karl is researching into how dinosaurs moved, in particular the dinosaur Acrocanthosaurus atokensis which is essentially the same size as a T-Rex. The full article entitled "Answering a truly big question: how did dinosaurs move?" is available on the iSGTW website.

Another article currently featured on the NGS home page refers to the Certificate wizard which has been recently developed by Jens Jensen at the NGS. Basically the article explains how we are making it easier for you to look after your grid certificate!

We also have a new poll on the NGS home page. We'd like to find out who funds the people that visit our website. So if you have a spare second please tick the appropriate box on the front page! You'll find the poll on the home page just below the NGS load monitor. This will give us an indication of who our visitors are funded by.

Friday, 5 February 2010

NGS heads East

Yesterday NGS staff from the length and breadth of the country headed to the University of Hull to hold a NGS roadshow event.

Our local host was Dr Helen Wright from the SimVis Research Group in the Department of Computer Science. Helen also looks after HIVE which is the Hull Immersive Visualization Environment. Helen had done a great job of getting everyone to attend the event with the result that we had a full house.

Our invited NGS user presenters were Clive Davenhall from NeSC who talked about the nano-CMOS project and Srikanth Nagella from STFC RAL who spoke about the RAL visualisation cluster that is now part of the NGS. As well as our NGS users, there were also presentations from our technical director Dr David Wallom and Dr David Fergusson who co-ordinates training activities for the NGS. All the presentations were very well received and a lot of positive feedback was received.

We had also taken along our Roaming RA service in the form of Shiv Kaushal who is based at the University of Leeds. Not all institutions currently have a RA Operator who can distrbute grid certificates so we tend to take along a Roaming RA operater with us when we visit one of these places. Shiv was slightly overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted grid certificates at the end of the event and he spent lunchtime dealing with quite a long queue!

All in all it was a very successful event and we're now looking forward to the next one which will take place at Canterbury Christ Church University. This event will incorporate some hands on training and is open to everyone from any institute. If you would like to attend this event then please register!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


A warm Barev (welcome) to Arsen Hayrapetyan from ArmeSFo, the Armenian e-Science Foundation. He is visiting RAL for two months to work on CA software, a visit funded by NATO's Science for Peace and Security programme. The aim is to develop CA software for "NATO partners and mediterranean dialogue countries."

The main raison d'ĂȘtre for the certificate infrastructure is that our certificates are trusted all over the world - they provide a sufficiently high level of assurance. All grid and e-Science CAs in the world are united in the International Grid Trust Federation, which encourages trust and collaborations between national CAs. With the software developed by Arsen, we can expand this collaboration to new countries, such as Georgia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, to enable and encourage further collaborations between scientists.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Want to come and meet us?

We're running a couple of NGS roadshows this month with the first one taking place this Thursday in Hull. This one is fully booked but we do have another event at Canterbury Christ Church University on the 25th which is open to everyone and also includes a training event so if you want some hands on training of using the NGS, sign up!

David Fergusson who looks after training for the NGS is also taking part in a JISC new technologies event at Liverpool John Moores University on the 19th of February where you can hear about the NGS as well as other infrastructure and Web 2.0 services from JISC.

Both of these events are free to attend but registration is required.