In the Wake of the Higgs Boson: Helix Nebula – The Science Cloud

By Wolfgang Gentzsch

July 9, 2012

Announced earlier this year, the pan-European cloud computing project, Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud, brings together select IT service providers with three leading research institutions, CERN, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The two-year pilot phase currently underway supports the exciting Higgs boson search (discovery!), as well as molecular biology and earth observation science. In preparation for their upcoming keynote at the ISC Cloud conference, set to take place this September in Mannheim, Germany, representatives from all three centers share their perspectives on the initiative and provide an outline of what’s to come.

Helix Nebula - the Science CloudOn September 24 – 25, 2012, cloud computing experts and end users from around the world will gather at the ISC Cloud’12 Conference at the Dorint Hotel in Mannheim, Germany. The event will focus on compute intensive and big data applications, their resource needs in the cloud, and strategies for implementing and deploying cloud infrastructures.

ISC Cloud Conference Chairman Wolfgang Gentzsch spoke with the Keynote Session presenters Bob Jones from CERN in Geneva, Rupert Lueck from EMBL in Heidelberg, and Wolfgang Lengert from ESA in Rome, about their joint keynote topic, the Helix Nebula Science Cloud.

HPC in the Cloud: For more than a decade CERN has been continuously developing and refining its distributed IT infrastructure for evaluating the events from the Large Hadron Collider particle physics experiment, what we have called the Worldwide LHC Grid. Now CERN has co-initiated Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud. How is this different from previous CERN infrastructures?

CERN - Higgs boson figure 1Bob Jones: The very successful Worldwide LHC Computing Grid that has been essential to the LHC experiments’ work to observe a particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson (see recent CERN press release) consists of publicly-managed data centres. Helix Nebula is a public-private partnership where public research organisations, such as CERN, are running their scientific applications on commercially-managed cloud services.

HPC in the Cloud: How will ESA benefit from the Helix Nebula infrastructure?

Wolfgang Lengert: This infrastructure will be used as a science exploitation platform, initially focusing on research of Earthquakes and Volcanoes supporting GEO (http://www.earthobservations.org) in the social benefit area of natural disasters. This exploitation platform, hosted on the Helix Nebula infrastructure, will provide easy access to massive data (initially mainly ESA EO data but also in-situ), tools (open source and commercial), models, and a collaboration platform, allowing an utmost exploitation of ESA space and other data advancing research in a cross-disciplinary fashion. It will enhance the exploitation of ESA’s historical missions ERS / Envisat with their 20 years continuous data set observing the Oceans, Land, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, which based on the large data volume requires to have the processing capacities and tools right next to the data.

HPC in the Cloud: How will EMBL benefit from the Helix Nebula infrastructure?

Rupert Lueck: EMBL builds on Helix Nebula to develop a portal for cloud-supported large-scale genome analysis. The analysis of large and complex genomes will allow a deeper insight into evolution and biodiversity across a range of organisms. However, it involves vast amounts of sequence data, which scientists generate within a few days. This poses a challenge for many labs as data management and analysis require powerful high performance IT infrastructures as well as bioinformatics expertise. EMBL’s novel cloud based whole genome assembly and annotation pipeline implements key knowledge from data production, bioinformatics and IT teams at EMBL Headquarters in Heidelberg and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, UK. It will allow scientists, at EMBL and around the world, to meet the data challenge by providing the right infrastructure on demand.

Using Helix Nebula EMBL also wants to explore the application of cloud computing benefits to other key research technologies such as high-throughput microscopy, which poses yet another big data challenge for the institute.

Beyond basic research EMBL’s large-scale genomic analysis platform could certainly attract and might be further adapted to research in the medical field or the pharma and agricultural industries. The cloud computing model certainly provides the power and scalability to make this service available to the widest possible user base.

HPC in the Cloud: What are the roles of other partners in the project?

Wolfgang Lengert: The other partners include commercial cloud service providers, which are assembling the infrastructure, and SMEs that specialise in developing and integrating cloud-based services.

HPC in the Cloud: Is Helix Nebula an infrastructure for research, or will industry participate in some way?

Rupert Lueck: The infrastructure being assembled for Helix Nebula is owned and operated by industry.

HPC in the Coud: How would you anticipate Helix Nebula to be in five years from now?

Bob Jones: Assuming the pilot phase is successful, we expect Helix Nebula to grow to include more commercial cloud services providers and public organisations as consumers. The vision and the goals are outlined in the strategic plan [PDF].

More information about the event where Bob, Rupert and Wolfgang are set to discuss these topics in more detail can be found at the ISC Cloud ’12 website.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Researchers Use Supercomputing to Study Links Between Hurricanes and Climate Change

July 19, 2019

As climate change looms, researchers are scrambling to answer the question of how a warming planet will affect the frequency and severity of already-deadly hurricanes. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Il Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

San Diego Supercomputer Center to Welcome ‘Expanse’ Supercomputer in 2020

July 18, 2019

With a $10 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego is procuring a new supercomputer, called Expanse, to be deployed next Read more…

By Staff report

Informing Designs of Safer, More Efficient Aircraft with Exascale Computing

July 18, 2019

During the process of designing an aircraft, aeronautical engineers must perform predictive simulations to understand how airflow around the plane impacts flight characteristics. However, modeling the complexities and su Read more…

By Rob Johnson

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the Combined Power of HPC and AI to Your Business Transformation

A growing number of commercial businesses are implementing HPC solutions to derive actionable business insights, to run higher performance applications and to gain a competitive advantage. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Smarter Technology Revs Up Red Bull Racing

In 21st century business, companies that effectively leverage their information resources – thrive. As it turns out, the same is true in Formula One racing. Read more…

How Fast is Your Rubik Solver; This One’s Probably Faster

July 18, 2019

In the race to solve Rubik’s Cube, the time-to-finish keeps shrinking. This year Philipp Weyer from Germany won the 10th World Cube Association (WCA) Championship held in Melbourne, Australia, with a 6.74-second perfo Read more…

By John Russell

Informing Designs of Safer, More Efficient Aircraft with Exascale Computing

July 18, 2019

During the process of designing an aircraft, aeronautical engineers must perform predictive simulations to understand how airflow around the plane impacts fligh Read more…

By Rob Johnson

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Goonhilly Unveils New Immersion-Cooled Platform, Doubles Down on Sustainability Mission

July 16, 2019

Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new datacenter – an enhancement to its existing tier 3 facility – in Cornwall, England, touting an ambitious commitme Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC19 Cluster Competition: Application Results, Finally!

July 15, 2019

Our exhaustive coverage of the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition continues as we discuss the application scores below. While the scores were typically high, som Read more…

By Dan Olds

Nvidia Expands DGX-Ready AI Program to 19 Countries

July 11, 2019

Nvidia’s DGX-Ready Data Center Program, announced in January and designed to provide colo and public cloud-like options to access the company’s GPU-powered Read more…

By Doug Black

Argonne Team Makes Record Globus File Transfer

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory has broken a data transfer record by moving a staggering 2.9 petabytes of data for a research project.  The data – from three large cosmological simulations – was generated and stored on the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia, Google Tie in Second MLPerf Training ‘At-Scale’ Round

July 10, 2019

Results for the second round of the AI benchmarking suite known as MLPerf were published today with Google Cloud and Nvidia each picking up three wins in the at Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Applied Materials Embedding New Memory Technologies in Chips

July 9, 2019

Applied Materials, the $17 billion Santa Clara-based materials engineering company for the semiconductor industry, today announced manufacturing systems enablin Read more…

By Doug Black

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This