Project: Open Gateway Computing Environments: Science Gateways Platform as a Service (SciGaP)

Primary UITS contact: Marlon Pierce

Last update: March 1, 2016

Description: Science gateways are virtual environments that dramatically accelerate scientific discovery by enabling scientific communities to use distributed computational and data resources (cyberinfrastructure). Successful science gateways provide access to sophisticated and powerful resources, while shielding their users from the resources' complexities. Given science gateways' demonstrated impact on progress in many scientific fields, it is important to remove barriers to the creation of new gateways and make it easier to sustain them. The Science Gateway Platform (SciGaP) project will create a set of hosted infrastructure services that can be easily adopted by gateway providers to build new gateways based on robust and reliable open source tools. The proposed work will transform the way science gateways are constructed by significantly lowering the development overhead for communities requiring access to cyberinfrastructure, and support the efficient use of shared resources.

SciGaP will transform access to large scale computing and data resources by reducing development time of new gateways and by accelerating scientific research for communities in need of access to large-scale resources. SciGaP's adherence to open community and open governance principles of the Apache Software Foundation will assure open source software access and open operation of its services. This will give all project stakeholders a voice in the software and will clear the proprietary fog that surrounds cyberinfrastructure services. The benefits of SciGaP services are not restricted to scientific fields, but can be used to accelerate progress in any field of endeavor that is limited by access to computational resources. SciGaP services will be usable by a community of any size, whether it is an individual, a lab group, a department, an institution, or an international community. SciGaP will help train a new generation of cyberinfrastructure developers in open source development, providing these early career developers with the ability to make publicly documented contributions to gateway software and to bridge the gap between academic and non-academic development.

The SciGaP project is led by Indiana University in a partnership that includes the UltraScan Science Gateway led by Borries Demeler at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, the Cyberinfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research (CIPRES) gateway project led by Mark Miller at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the Neuroscience Gateway led by Amit Majumdar at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

For more, see About SciGaP and Science Gateway Operational Sustainability: Adopting a Platform-as-a-Service Approach.

Outcome: SciGaP provides application programmer interfaces (APIs) to hosted generic infrastructure services that can be used by domain science communities to create science gateways. The hosted services will support access to core infrastructure services required by science gateways, including user identity, accounts, authorization, and access to multiple computational resources from campus, national, and international grid and cloud efforts. Domain gateway developers will be able to access these services via community-created interfaces.

SciGaP software is used in production in several XSEDE science gateways and by researchers around the world. SciGaP software includes the Apache Airavata software system for managing scientific workflows through science gateways. SciGaP team members have pioneered the application of Apache Software Foundation open governance principles to scientific computing infrastructure (cyberinfrastructure).

Milestones and status:

  • The current OGCE award was made October 1, 2013.
  • The total award, including subcontracts, is $5 M over three years.
  • Marlon Pierce is Principal Investigator and Suresh Marru is Co-Principal Investigator from IU. Collaborators are Borries Demeler (PI, UTHSCSA), Mark Miller (PI, SDSC), and Amit Majumdar (Co-PI, SDSC).
  • The Apache Airavata project officially graduated as an Apache Software Foundation Top Level Project on October 2, 2012.

For more, see SciGaP Roadmap.

Comment process: SciGaP contact is through its mailing lists. Subscription information is available at http://scigap.org/get-involved/. Users and developers of the Apache Airavata project should subscribe to its mailing lists following the instructions at http://airavata.apache.org/community/get-involved.html. To contact the IU Science Gateway Group (SGG), email the SSG.

Benefits: The SciGaP project provides a software development and engineering arm that is complementary to the consulting work that RT's Science Gateway Group undertakes to support science gateway advanced user support activities for the XSEDE program.

Furthermore, by participating in Apache, the group contributes to workforce development by enabling intern developers to become Apache members and gain visibility in the international Apache community.

Client impact: SciGaP's model is to directly integrate its primary end-user gateways with gateway software developers, thus creating a complete software cycle. The group not only develops and packages software, but is directly responsible for integration with deployed gateways and operating production services. For more, see SciGaP.

Aids achievement of the following Empowering People actions:

  • Recommendation A1
    • Action 4: Cyberinfrastructure. IU should continue to advance its local cyberinfrastructure, participation in national cyberinfrastructure, and its efforts to win federal funding of cyberinfrastructure programs that enhance IU's research capabilities.
    • Action 6: Leveraging partnerships. IU should continue its highly successful program of relationships with hardware, software, and services vendors, and seek additional partnerships and creative exchanges that provide mutual benefits.
  • Recommendation A4
    • Action 16: External funding. OVPIT should continue to lead and expand its efforts to effectively partner with academic units, campuses, administrative units, or individual investigators for external funding opportunities.
  • Recommendation A7
    • Action 24: World-class IT staff. IU should remain competitive with regard to compensation, benefits, facilities, workplace climate, and quality of life offerings through funding choices to attract, develop, and retain the very best technical and professional staff.
    • Action 25: Research into IT. IU should support and pursue research into information technology itself. IT Professionals and faculty should seek partnership opportunities for scholarly publication and invention disclosure that document meritorious research and discovery.
  • Recommendation B8
    • Action 27: Human-centered support. IU should continue to pioneer and provision effective means of user support through advanced tools for self-service and connection to IU experts to help faculty, staff, and students effectively use IT. IU should continue its work as a support infrastructure provider for national research projects and services.
  • Recommendation C15
    • Action 70: IT-enabled research. IU should purposefully select areas of great and timely promise for strategic development of IT-enabled research, scholarship, and/or creative activity.
    • Action 71: IT-enabled research resources. IU should identify a base of resources to provide both initial and sustained investments in selected areas for IT-enabled research, scholarship, and/or creative activity. This may include reallocating current resources and developing new ones, including endowments, grants, and/or additional fees.

Project team: (partially funded by SciGaP)

  • IU: Marlon Pierce, Suresh Marru, Raminder Singh, Lahiru Gunathilake, Saminda Wijeratne
  • UTHSCSA: Borries Demeler, Gary Gorbet
  • SDSC: Mark Miller, Amit Majumdar, Terri Schwartz, Subha Sivagnanam

For more, see SciGaP Team.

Governance:

The project is led by Marlon Pierce (Manager, Science Gateways Group, UITS Research Technologies) with the assistance of the Co-Principal Investigators. It is governed by open source software governance; see Apache Corporate Governance. Apache Airavata is overseen by its project management committee, which is chaired by Suresh Marru.

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