Tech Talk on Science Clouds – a recap

Tech Talk on Science Clouds – a recap
March 7, 2017 Karen Mecoles

The first of the Monthly Tech Talk for 2017 was held on the 3rd of February.  The topic was the NeCTAR led Australian Science Clouds.

Three community focused cloud platforms, the Australian BioSciences Cloud, the Australian Marine Sciences Cloud and the Australian Ecosystems Science cloud are being established in partnership with National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) domain capabilities.  The Tech talk had a representative from each of the three Science Clouds presenting what they are envisaging their environment to look like and the key activities that are being undertaken as part of this project.

With over 100 registrations from across the country there was great interest in the community to find out about Science Clouds.

Dr. Michelle Barker, Deputy Director, Research Software Infrastructure at NeCTAR started off the session by providing an overview of the project and its goals.  She highlighted that the establishment of the Science Community Clouds will enable research communities to have improved access to shared data, tools, platforms and computing resources according to each community’s domain-specific needs.

This was followed by Dr. Siddeswera Guru, Data Science Director at TERN explaining the plans for the EcoSystems Science Cloud.  He pointed out that researchers are moving data and compute to the cloud and are building tools on it.  One of the focuses of the EcoSystems Science cloud is to offer an open data platform with it being accessible to different research platforms and virtual labs.  Another goal is to have compute next to the data thus reducing the need to move large datasets.

Australian Ecosystem Science Cloud Slides

Assoc Prof Andrew Lonie, Director VLSCI & EMBL Australia Bioinoformatics Resource, presented on the approach that is being taken on the BioSciences Cloud.  The BioSciences Cloud has as its aim to define a common platform and set of services upon which national significant outputs such as datasets, tools and workflows can be published and utilised by the national biosciences research community.

He went on to highlight that the ‘omics driven research has very large datasets per project, is highly I/O intensive and has large suite of data analysis tools.  The focus of the BioSciences cloud will be to make available the world’s best practice tools and workflows, making key reference data accessible and provide training around access to data and use of tools.

Biosciences Cloud Slides

The Marine Sciences Clouds plans were presented by Brendan Davey, Deputy Director, TPAC.  Brendan explained that the focus of the Marine Sciences Cloud is to provide marine scientists and students a robust framework of tools and resources with easy access to open data in a standard environment. Designed to reduce the time for tool and code preparation as well as the data discovery process.

Marine Sciences Cloud has two main areas of focus, (1) a National service for annotation and analysis of underwater imagery, including video, and (2) a standard working environment in the cloud made available via a web browser.  This is underpinned by a focus on making selected data easily accessible from within the Marine Sciences Cloud.

Marine Science Cloud Presentation Slides

The Monthly Tech Talk is an initiative of ANDS, Nectar, QCIF, Intersect, VicNode, eRSA and Pawsey. The purpose for these combined virtual Australia-wide meetings combined with local physical meetups is to: (1) provide a forum for developers to discuss topics of interest to them; (2) enable a dialogue between developers and NCRIS facilities