Thursday, 13 October 2011

A long long time ago... or so it seems

Before the mayhem of the September conference season was upon us, the NGS ran a successful summer school at the beginning of the month.  The e-infrastructure summer school was part of the SeIUCCR project.  You can read more about the background to the summer school and project in my blog post from the beginning of August.

We had over 25 students join us down in Coesner's House in Abingdon for 4 days and they came from a wide variety of backgrounds.  We had students who were in their first year or two of their PhD as well as post docs and they came from Edinburgh to Essex and everywhere inbetween.

So how was the summer school?  Was it a success?  Did the students learn and enjoy it?

Well the best people to ask are the students themselves.  All the students were asked to provide us with feedback and some were even willing to write a few more words.

Ed Day from Canterbury Christ Church University attended the summer school and this is what he had to say:

"The recent SeIUCCR Summer School was a very enjoyable and informative experience. As a newcomer to grid research I found the the summer school extemely useful. It contained some important introductory pieces as well as covering many topics in more depth suitable for anyone wishing to use the NGS. Sessions consisted of a good mix of high level overviews and hands-on practicals such as using the P-GRADE portal.

The presenters were very knowledgable and helpful and were eager to inform on all aspects of grid computing. Some sessions involved the speakers talking individually with attendees and I found the staff gave useful advice and were very supportive of my project.

Before the school I thought my particular research area, the forensic investigation of mobile phones, might be a good fit for grid computing, and by the end of the summer school I felt much more able to pursue my research in an informed manner using the NGS. It was useful to know how grid, cloud and high performance computing relate to one another  and over the four days I feel I became much more aware, in a less naive way, of how my research would benefit from the resources the NGS has to offer. In particular I learnt to think about my research differently: how my phone investigation process would be best able to benefit from a grid architecture.

Indeed the school helped support my view that the NGS would be a good resource for ANY project that needs HPC not just vast number crunching modelling applications such as those such by molecular biologists or quantum level physicists (although of course it is good for that too).

I liked the food too!"

And it wasn't just Ed who enjoyed the summer school!

"The summer school has been a fascinating activity. The hands on sessions have familiarized us with HPC/Grid/Cloud, which are useful resourses that I have never had access to or known how to access, whilst the Meeting Champions and Q&A sessions made it possible for us to know how these resourses could facilitate our research. The SeiUCCR summer school provides a great opportunity of learning, communicating and networking. I would like to thank all the people who made this summer school possible"

"The summer school was a relaxed and friendly environment. It provided detailed information about the various resources available to researchers both in terms of computer resources and support. The staff where very approachable and keen to show an interest in the attendees work. Overall it was a great experience I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in grid/cloud/HPC or who's work may benefit from such technologies."

For anyone who was unsuccessful in obtaining a place at the e-infrastructure summer school, the presentations are now available online.  Due to receiving over 120 applications for the summer school and only having a limited number of places, I know many people were keen to see the presentations.

There will be another summer school in 2012 so watch this space for forthcoming announcements next year!

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