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IDGF-SP shared its booth at ICRI2014 with VISIONAIR

VISIONAIR is a European infrastructure for high-level research, high-level visualization and interaction facilities. VISIONAIR provides access to researchers all around Europe to do their research in 1 of the 23 partner facilities. In the common IDGF-SP/VISIONAIR booth in Athens, Greece, the partner from the University of Grenoble - Grenoble-INP - in France presented a series of VISIONAIR videos by running them on the CloudCase of IDGF. A real proof of interactive and innovative collaboration between the two projects.

ICRI 2014 VISIONAIR IDGF Common Booth from Desktop Grid Federation on Vimeo.

IDGF showcasing its infrastructure at ICRI 2014

IDGF will be present with a booth at the Second International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) in Athens, Greece, April 2-4, 2014. 

The ambition of ICRI 2014 is to highlight how global research infrastructures can respond to the grand challenges that the world is facing today, what lessons have been learned from the past, and what the priorities and directions are for the future.

IDGF will demonstrate its research infrastructure to the exhibition visitors in five different ways:

1. Cloud-in-a-Briefcase: XtreemFS Cloud file system portable demo served with Raspberry Pis - A small local Desktop Grid, based on http://cloudcase.eu. This will contain 8 computers and will be fully operational as a miniature version of the complete infrastructure. This will be used to explain the technical basics, and interact with the booth visitors so IDGF can demonstrate life how the million-computer infrastructure actually operates.
2. Crowd computing Live: links with scientific users showing how donated computing power is used for scientific research applications
3. Live "Killer Queen" applications: WeNMR, BioVEL, DIRAC running on the IDGF infrastructure
4. Big Buck Bunny distributed rendering showcase - an explanatory video running when there is no life demo.
5. And now it's up to you: How can you start giving science a helping hand by donating your unused computing time?

Featuring also in this booth: a "Stop wasting your computing time" poster and IDGF flyers that invite scientists to become IDGF member and start using the IDGF infrastructure.

XtreemFS 1.5 released: Improved support for Hadoop and SSDs

The XtreemFS team released a new stable version of the cloud file system XtreemFS. XtreemFS 1.5 (Codename "Wonderful Waffles") comes with the following major changes:

- Improved Hadoop Support: Read and write buffers were added to improve the performance for small requests. The team also implemented support for multiple volumes e.g., to store input and output on volumes with different replication policies.
- SSDs support: So far, an OSD was optimized for rotating disks by using a single thread for disk accesses. Solid State Disks (SSDs) cope well with simultaneous requests and show a higher throughput with increased parallelism. To achieve more parallelism per OSD when using SSDs, multiple storage threads are supported now.
- Multi-Homing Support: XtreemFS can be made available for multiple networks and clients will pick the correct address automatically.
- Multiple OSDs per Machine: Machines with multiple disks have to run an OSD for each disk. The team simplified this process with the new xtreemfs-osd-farm init.d script.
- Bugfixes for Read/Write and Read-Only Replication: The team fixed a problem which prevented read/write replicated files to fail-over correctly. Another problem was that the on-demand read-only replication could hang and access was stalled.
- Replication Status Page: The DIR status page has got a visualization for the current replica status of open files. For example it shows which replica is the current primary or if a replica is unavailable.

The team prepared a tutorial which walks you through the setup of a read/write replicated XtreemFS volume on a single machine. The tutorial lets you stream a video from the volume and simulate the outage of a replica. You'll learn about the details of the XtreemFS replication protocol and why the video stalls for some seconds and then playback resumes.

AlmereGrid has put the tutorial to the next level: They created a setup of eight Raspberry Pi mini-computers running XtreemFS - packaged in a briefcase. Check the website CloudCase.eu for more details and the video which shows the briefcase and the demonstrated fail-over.

You can use XtreemFS directly in your application with our C++ and Java client libraries. This way you avoid any overhead due to Fuse and can access advanced XtreemFS features which are only available through the maintenance tool "xtfsutil" otherwise e.g., adding replicas.

From using XtreemFS it's only a small step to dive into the XtreemFS source code itself. The team collected several introductory documents for novices in a Google Drive folder "XtreemFS Public". For example, have a look how to setup the XtreemFS Server Java projects in Eclipse.

More information is available at http://xtreemfs.org/

Socientize project invites to contribute to the Citizen Science White Paper

Fermin Serrano, project leader of the Socientize project, explains why it is important to participate in the consultation phase for the White Paper on citizen science that is now open until March 27. The white paper will play a role in for instance European Commission policy on citizen science. Fermin Serrano also explains why he was happy to be at the Citizen Cyber Science Summit in London, where this interview was done.

The Socientize project addresses the future of Citizen Science in Europe. In Citizen Science there are different roles of participation to make science more efficient using different tools including mobile devices, desktop grid computing and so on. Socientize is not only about science, it is also a social process dealing with policy outcomes.

The Citizen Cyber Science Summit was an excellent opportunity for the Socientize project partners to meet with their different stakeholders.

You can contribute your own ideas to the White Paper at whitepaper.socientize.eu

Watch the interview at http://vimeo.com/88191636

New routes for LHC@Home

LHC@Home is a crowd computing project that allows citizens to donate unused computing time to scientists at CERN. LHC@Home co-ordinator Ben Segal gives an overview of the achievements thus far and the plans to not only let volunteers use their computers but also their brains. At the Citizen Cyber Science Summit in London he showedPrimeur Magazinea glimps of this LHC@Home future.

This year is the tenth anniversary of LHC@Home, one of the very first BOINC projects, set up to study the beam's stability in the accelerator. The application had to be compiled and installed on each user platform.

Since two years, LHC@Home 2.0 uses 3000 virtual machines all of the time all over the world, allowing to study much more general problems. Instead of receiving the compiled package of the application, the user receives a virtual machine where the problems are being sent to the user. The virtual machine can access all the libraries and all the modules necessary for any experiment at CERN. This technology runs theoretical physics' applications. The calculations are used to build up a database of theoretical simulations.

A next step is to not only use the volunteer's computer power but also his thinking capacity. In this approach, the volunteers can select and modify the tunable parameters in the Citizen CyberLab project. Unskilled people can do this very well, according to Ben Segal. A game platform prototype has been developed to help the volunteer scientist in this process.

More information is available at http://lhcathome.web.cern.ch/

Watch the interview at http://vimeo.com/88191103

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