February 17, 2011

Open Science Data Cloud Receives Further Support

Nicole Hemsoth

The National Science Foundation has granted awards to fifteen projects that focus on global collaboration to encourage scientific discovery, among which is one that focuses on computational clouds.

The Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) awards “support bold forward-looking research whose successful outcomes result from all partners—U.S. and foreign—providing unique contributions to the research endeavor.” Cloud computing certainly has a role to play in international research collaboration and a team from the University of Illinois, Chicago will be developing cloud-driven tools and methods that will enhance global collaboration.

The UIC team will be exploring data-intensive computing using the Open Science Data Cloud. The project “intends to help develop large-scale distributed computing capabilities to provide long-term, persistent storage for scientific data.”

According to a release today, the team will be working on elements of distributed systems, including best practices for integrating, analyzing, and archiving scientific information in addition to enhancing their efforts via collaboration tools.

As an academic paper on the Open Science Data Cloud (OSDC) notes, there are unique differentiators between this and other cloud resources available, including the fact that his one has been designed to provide long term persistent storage for large datasets. The team behind the project also notes that it can make use of high-performance research networks so that large datasets can readily be “ingested, accessed and shared over wide areas” and also that it has a “balanced architecture that uses data locality to support the efficient execution of queries and analysis over the data managed by the cloud.”

There are a few use cases for the Open Science Data Cloud, including NASA’s use of the cloud to make data from the EO-1 satellite available. The Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology at the university uses the cloud as the basis for the Bionimbus cloud project. Furthermore, Johns Hopkins University uses the OSDC to “provide bulk downloads of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to astronomers around the world.”

In addition the funding it has received from the National Science Foundation’s PIRE program, the projet has received equipment support from Yahoo and Cisco, who provided access to their C-Wave.

Details about the stack, hardware and ideology can be found here; as you might have guessed, we’ll be following this project over the coming months.

Full story at NSF

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