Sharing scientific code – interactively – in the Cloud

Austria receives large EU-Grant to enable hosting interactive environments for collaborating on and sharing high-performance-compute codes on GCP via the European Open Science Cloud.

From fluid dynamics to quantum mechanical material research – wide ranges of scientific disciplines use complex and bespoke compute codes, that consume millions of cpu hours across thousands of parallel processors.

Sharing these codes – e.g. with experts from other research groups – is tedious. Giving out the code alone doesn’t solve the so-called „dependency hell”, meaning that the receiving group needs to spend significant time and nerves to acquire, build, compile and link all external (and sometimes arcane) dependencies and verify they work correctly on the new system.

Unfortunately, this overhead measurably leads researchers to not even try sharing their code or comparing with foreign codes. Since sharing, comparing and learning from others are key constituents in discovery of complex solutions, the enablement of such scientific collaboration is a key problem to tackle and must not rest on the individual researchers’ shoulders.

OpenScienceLabs on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) -> enable collaboration

Precisely this will now become possible using so-called „OpenScienceLabs for High Performance Computing”. These are interactive cloud environments, wherein prepackaged HPC code may be placed and from there shared. The code is ready to use and the environment can be made to include auxiliary scientific tooling for e.g. visualization. Thus, it becomes possible to immediately run small or low-resolution problems, to learn the code’s usage and to reproduce or compare the code against one’s own.

The environments allow multiple users across the globe to work on a shared session, to include full-scale data sets and e.g. to collaborate on rendering, post-processing or creating publication contents.

This endeavor will be facilitated by TU Wien’s high performance compute department where the Austrian Open Cloud Community had previously proven the concept by collaborating with NASA’s DRIVE center for Geospace Storms. They have now, together with Sparkle, won the EOSC Future grant tendered by Géant. The grant will finance the Google cloud infrastructure to run these OpenScienceLabs on, wherein research groups can host and share their codes via the portal of the European Open Science Cloud.

Necessary training for researchers and staff on cloud topics will also be offered via the EOSC portal.

Dr. Constanze B. Roedig
VSC Research Center, Austrian Open Cloud Community
+43 664 60588 6543