Making Sense of Cyberinfrastructure

By Jan Zverina, San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego

August 17, 2015

 

Reference Architectures Can Help Make Sense – and Science – Out of Computing Cyberinfrastructure, NSF’s Jim Kurose Tells XSEDE15 Attendees

Cyberinfrastructure. If there’s one word that’s likely to create confusion both within the scientific research community and among the public at large, this may be it. Yet the concept of cyberinfrastructure is at the very core of the nation’s top scientific research priorities, and the National Science Foundation is firmly committed to continuing to make cyberinfrastructure resources available to researchers across the nation.

While the term often comes with what Jim Kurose, assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), describes as “confusing” terminology – even to researchers across science and engineering disciplines – he says there is no doubt to the benefits of cyberinfrastructure as both an integrated resource and means for today’s researchers to push forward the boundaries of their disciplines.

“We have an Administration that’s been really big on pushing national research priorities that have a lot to do with computing,” Kurose told attendees at the 2015 eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) conference in St. Louis, Mo., in late July. “We have the big data initiative, the national robotics initiative, and the BRAIN initiative… all with cyberinfrastructure playing a critical role. There’s also secure cyberspace, education, and workforce development. These are things where computing and cyberinfrastructure are centrally involved.”

Kurose_Image
Jim Kurose, assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)

The NSF defines cyberinfrastructure as a dynamic ecosystem consisting of advanced computing systems, data, software – and, most importantly, people – all linked by high-speed networks that allow researchers to innovate and make discoveries that may not otherwise be possible. Kurose, who began his current role at NSF in early 2015, sees the need for the Foundation to view cyberinfrastructure in its entirety as not only the pathway to scientific discovery, but as helping to drive the national economy and global competitiveness in key areas, such as advanced manufacturing, visualization, drug discovery, and personalized medicine.

“Clearly, we’ve moved and evolved from being really ‘big iron-focused’ to also worrying about data, networking, and also security and software,” Kurose told XSEDE attendees. “There is the notion of this important interplay between industry, federal government, and academia in the area of computing as well as cyberinfrastructure.”

Such collaborative cyberinfrastructure is already transforming research frontiers, Kurose said, citing examples such as EarthCube, the Research Data Alliance, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project.

Rolling Their Own

The challenge, according to Kurose, is to create ways for scientists to leverage cyberinfrastructure resources that already exist, and one solution lies in what he calls reference architectures or models.

“Reference models are really all about talking to other people about what you’re doing so they can see their place in the larger picture of what you’re doing.” he said. Otherwise, he noted, cyberinfrastructure can just be confusing to some researchers as well as decision-makers inside and outside the research community.

“The notion of reference architectures… is a way for us to accelerate the science by letting the scientists understand where they can fit into this larger picture, where they’re going to have to do some work on their own, and where they can reuse things that others before them have done,” Kurose said, adding later that “I see this as a very bottom-up process.”

“We at the National Science Foundation should think about these reference architectures, what we are doing across the Foundation, and what cyberinfrastructure exists out there so that folks who want to use cyberinfrastructure don’t roll their own,” he said. “While some specialization may be needed, they should know what’s already available to them so they can leverage the work that communities such as XSEDE have already done.”

Kurose praised the XSEDE organization, the result of a five-year, $121-million project  supported by the NSF, for its work in advancing science by promoting cyberinfrastructure through various programs including education, outreach, and training.

“What XSEDE is accomplishing is really remarkable, and its ecosystem is unparalleled,” Kurose said. “The goal here is about making cyberinfrastructure available to the science community, and XSEDE is a community event for people in the trenches and doing the work, including the Campus Champions and students.”

Kurose also noted that while demand among researchers for XSEDE resources and expertise has been increasing, the distribution of the type of demand is changing as well, including areas such as social, behavioral, and economic sciences, which has seen exponential growth in the use of cyberinfrastructure as a means for accomplishing research. “This is all a measure of the success of the type of cyberinfrastructure that you folks are making available to the country.”

In discussing future challenges across CISE and NSF, Kurose said that sustainability is a constant subject of discussion.

“We are discussing this on a daily basis,” he said. “This is sustainability having to do with people, software, and hardware. They all have different sustainability lifecycles and we need to be thinking seriously about what’s the right timeframe to be making investments in order to provide that kind of stability, while at the same time allowing for change and allowing for innovation.”

Related Links:

National Science Foundation

NSF CISE

Jim Kurose

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!

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visitors to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver for the larg Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Keynote – HPC Powers SKA Efforts to Peer Deep into the Cosmos

November 17, 2017

This week’s SC17 keynote – Life, the Universe and Computing: The Story of the SKA Telescope – was a powerful pitch for the potential of Big Science projects that also showcased the foundational role of high performance computing in modern science. It was also visually stunning. Read more…

By John Russell

How Cities Use HPC at the Edge to Get Smarter

November 17, 2017

Cities are sensoring up, collecting vast troves of data that they’re running through predictive models and using the insights to solve problems that, in some cases, city managers didn’t even know existed. Speaking Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Harness Scalable Petabyte Storage with HPE Apollo 4510 and HPE StoreEver

As a growing number of connected devices challenges IT departments to rapidly collect, manage, and store troves of data, organizations must adopt a new generation of IT to help them operate quickly and intelligently. Read more…

SC17 Student Cluster Competition Configurations: Fewer Nodes, Way More Accelerators

November 16, 2017

The final configurations for each of the SC17 “Donnybrook in Denver” Student Cluster Competition have been released. Fortunately, each team received their equipment shipments on time and undamaged, so the teams are r Read more…

By Dan Olds

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visit Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Keynote – HPC Powers SKA Efforts to Peer Deep into the Cosmos

November 17, 2017

This week’s SC17 keynote – Life, the Universe and Computing: The Story of the SKA Telescope – was a powerful pitch for the potential of Big Science projects that also showcased the foundational role of high performance computing in modern science. It was also visually stunning. Read more…

By John Russell

How Cities Use HPC at the Edge to Get Smarter

November 17, 2017

Cities are sensoring up, collecting vast troves of data that they’re running through predictive models and using the insights to solve problems that, in some Read more…

By Doug Black

Student Cluster LINPACK Record Shattered! More LINs Packed Than Ever before!

November 16, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, the pride of Singapore, utterly destroyed the Student Cluster Competition LINPACK record by posting a score of 51.77 TFlop/s a Read more…

By Dan Olds

Hyperion Market Update: ‘Decent’ Growth Led by HPE; AI Transparency a Risk Issue

November 15, 2017

The HPC market update from Hyperion Research (formerly IDC) at the annual SC conference is a business and social “must,” and this year’s presentation at S Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Focuses Its Cloud Containers on HPC Applications

November 14, 2017

Having migrated its top-of-the-line datacenter GPU to the largest cloud vendors, Nvidia is touting its Volta architecture for a range of scientific computing ta Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Launches ARM-based Apollo System for HPC, AI

November 14, 2017

HPE doubled down on its memory-driven computing vision while expanding its processor portfolio with the announcement yesterday of the company’s first ARM-base Read more…

By Doug Black

OpenACC Shines in Global Climate/Weather Codes

November 14, 2017

OpenACC, the directive-based parallel programming model used mostly for porting codes to GPUs for use on heterogeneous systems, came to SC17 touting impressive Read more…

By John Russell

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

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

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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