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!

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Hybrid HPC is Speeding Time to Insight and Revolutionizing Medicine

High performance computing (HPC) is a key driver of success in many verticals today, and health and life science industries are extensively leveraging these capabilities. Read more…

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Los Angeles. The Read more…

By Staff

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This