National CI engagement

CISL has a strong presence in national CI development, including both the HPC and networking communities. Working with national entities broadens NCAR’s impact by fostering the maturation of national HPC CI, leverages national resources and partnerships to tackle national problems, and is a natural and mutually beneficial component of a national center’s role.

XSEDE Federation contributions

Building on its participation in the TeraGrid as a Resource Provider since 2007, CISL continues to be engaged as an active member of the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Federation and Service Provider (SP) Forum as a Level 2 Service Provider. NCAR supports XSEDE cyberinfrastructure by integrating the networking, data transfer, and science gateway services at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) with XSEDE resources. Although NCAR does not provide allocable resources to XSEDE, NCAR provides a dedicated 10-Gbps networking link to XSEDEnet, with which NCAR provides high-performance access to the 16-petabyte central file system at NWSC to users having both NCAR and XSEDE source and destination accounts.

In FY2015, CISL became the first site outside of XSEDE to leverage the XSEDE Resource Allocation Service (XRAS), an XSEDE-hosted service that is now supporting the submission and review of CISL allocation requests. CISL also continued to use the open-source release of the XD Metrics on Demand (XDMoD), developed by the University of Buffalo through the XSEDE program, a web-based application for querying and reporting on supercomputing job and user statistics.

This past year, CISL worked on two science gateway assignments from XSEDE’s Extended Collaborative Support Service. The first, the Asteroseismic Modeling Portal (AMP), provides a web-based service that allows scientists to derive the properties of Sun-like stars from observations of their pulsation frequencies. The second project, Web-based Simulation Library of Astrophysical galaxy cluster Mergers (WebSLAM), provides a science gateway to existing simulations of galaxy cluster mergers. In both projects, CISL’s expertise in science gateways is applied to XSEDE’s broader science mission, thus enhancing future science gateway skills and capabilities.

NCAR is also active in coordinating training, education, and outreach goals with other XSEDE SPs, including participating as a satellite site for several training workshops. CISL staff also contributed as part of the program committee for the XSEDE ’15 annual conference in St. Louis, and several CISL staff attended. XSEDE is funded through a five-year grant from the NSF Advanced Cyberinfrastructure division.

Contributions to national networks

CISL is a recognized leader and participant in a number of national networking projects that are tightly integrated with regional networks. Active participation helps guide and set strategic direction for these national organizations, which helps ensure that UCAR and NCAR have access to the national network connectivity and services required to carry out their missions.

CISL’s involvement with national networking consortia includes Internet2 (I2), NOAA’s science network NWAVE, and the Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Science Network (ESnet). These are the United States’ premier networks in research and education. On behalf of UCAR, CISL/NETS maintains high-speed connectivity to these national networks to ensure the required connectivity between researchers that enables collaboration and access to local and remote computing, data, and instruments.

UCAR is a collaborator on the recently funded Pacific Research Platform. A series of ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cables will weave a cluster of West Coast university laboratories and supercomputer centers into a network called the Pacific Research Platform as part of a five-year $5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The network is meant to keep pace with the vast acceleration of data collection in fields such as physics, astronomy, and genetics. It will not be directly connected to the Internet, but will make it possible to move data at speeds tens or hundreds of times faster than is typical now: 10 to 100 gigabits per second among 10 University of California campuses and 10 other universities and research institutions in several states.

CISL has continued its strong engagement with NSF’s EarthCube initiative. CISL staff served on the Architectural Advisory Panel for the SDSC-led EarthCube Conceptual Design Award, a steering committee responsible for forming the EarthCube Council on Data Facilities (CDF). CISL’s service included working to form a draft charter.

ACM/IEEE Supercomputing conference participation

CISL is also an active participant in the ACM SIGARCH and IEEE Computer Society Supercomputing conferences, which attract thousands of HPC experts from government, academia, and industry every year. CISL staff members serve each year on the infrastructure committee, present technical papers, and operate an NCAR exhibit booth on the conference floor.

CISL is also active each year at the Supercomputing Student Job Fair, which is an opportunity to reach a broad population of students in computational science, engineering, and other job candidates seeking careers in high performance computing and networking. CISL also participates in the design, implementation, and operation of SCinet.

In FY2015, NETS manager Marla Meehl served as Principal Investigator of the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program to increase diversity in the national network engineering field. The WINS program helps train and mentor women faculty and staff from institutions across the U.S to enhance their use of advanced technologies and the national scientific infrastructure. SCinet is the fastest and most innovative computer network in the world, delivering more than 1.6 terabits (or trillion binary digits) per second of network bandwidth to attendees of SC15, allowing them to demonstrate the latest research in high-performance computing – from genomic analyses to multi-gigabit simulations. The SC15 conference will be held in early FY2016.

Marla Meehl is also the co-chair for the Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative, which has been charged by Internet2 to create and implement a program that provides support for emerging information technology women professionals to attend Internet2 technical conferences, thereby supporting their entry into the information technology field and the Internet2 community.

CISL staff members serve on a number of advisory panels, including the Science Gateways Institute, the Petascale External Advisory Committee of the NSF Blue Waters Project, and the Technical Evaluation Panel of the Department of Defense HPC Modernization Office.

Purpose and funding

These efforts advance CISL’s strategic computing imperatives in hardware cyberinfrastructure, software cyberinfrastructure, and facilities. With the exception of CISL’s participation in XSEDE, CISL’s national leadership activities are funded by NSF Core funds.