Microsoft and Internet2: Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure for the Physical Sciences

Microsoft and Internet 2 are teaming up to identify pilot projects that can inform a new class of cloud services for science.  This is a great opportunity to steer the technology conversation toward your research -- Microsoft is listening carefully to the community.  This workshop is focused on the physical sciences, following two previous workshops in the series including the Cyberinfrastructure for the Social Sciences workshop hosted here at UW in October.

Khalil Yazdi at Internet 2 writes: 

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to invite you to a workshop that will explore the role of commercial cloud infrastructure in addressing data management challenges faced by researchers in the Earth, Ocean, Sky and Space domains. The workshop is co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii, the University of California, Davis and the University of Washington. The University of Hawaii has graciously agreed to host the workshop, which will be held on the University of Hawaii campus on February 12th and 13th (a draft agenda is attached).

Titled “Cyber-infrastructure for the Physical Sciences: Earth, Ocean, Sky and Space,” the purpose of this workshop is to bring researchers and technologists together to consider the role of commercial cloud offerings in supporting the emerging big data needs in research. 

Over the two days, leading scientists from the four research domains will highlight their research efforts and lead an open discussion of the cyber-infrastructure challenges faced by researchers in their respective fields. As in prior workshops, it is intended that the lively and engaged exploration of issues with participating researchers will surface areas where enhancements to the cloud infrastructure, computation, platform and application tools being developed by Microsoft can beof benefit of the research community – generally and specifically in support of the physical sciences.

Attendees will identify requirements and articulate application scenarios for data services across all aspects of the data lifecycle and consider linkages that may exist between these requirements and Microsoft’s marketplace, academic search technologies and computational services. The desired outcome for the workshop is to articulate requirements for a scientific data management and analytics platform that would be supported by Microsoft and made available to the community through Internet2 NET+ Services.

In addition to stimulating some new specific joint projects between Microsoft and university researchers, past workshops have already lead to new offerings from Microsoft to our community, including some practical first steps towards removing impediments to effective use of Azure services – waiver of data egress fees, accommodation of the data management and compliance obligations of researchers and institutions and the offering of Azure compute and storage in a manner that allow for the treatment of such cloud resources as capital assets.

Some areas of interest include: examining alternative methods of acquiring new kinds of data; curation and archival preservation; developing families of tools for data linkage, aggregation across data types, real-time analysis and visualization; data management and storage solutions particularly with respect to restricted data; the development of pipelines for the using and sharing of research outcomes and describing best practices for cloud based research platforms; and HPC solutions for the simulation of complex physical systems.

This will be the third of a series organized in partnership between Microsoft and Internet2 NET+ Services as part of a larger initiative to explore ways in which we can work together with our community of researchers and technology professionals, identify researcher needs and agree to a series of exploratory and developmental projects that will lead to enhanced services in support of academic research and scholarship. 

Our first workshop, held at the University of California, Davis, had a focus on Genomics and Bioinformatics. The second, held at the University of Washington examined the challenges facing researchers in the social sciences and behavioral sciences (e.g., demography, sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology, political science) in working with data and textual information coming from domains such as transportation, public health, administrative records, geo-referenced data, and environmental sensors in an effort to understand, model and analyze complex social systems.

The workshop series is in part a follow up to an extraordinary meeting held in March of 2012, bringing together leading researchers and IT leadership from over 20 Internet2 institutions and senior executives from Microsoft to discuss potential opportunities for the research community and Microsoft to work together to address the challenges of large data management and support for scientific research in the Windows Azure cloud.

We anticipate holding such workshops over the year to further expand on the important research challenges faced by the very wide array of research interests of the community and welcome suggestion as to research and scholarship domains that face unique challenges are otherwise inadequately supported. Our intention is simply that of providing a forum for researchers to more effectively communicate their current and emerging infrastructure needs, and the workshops are programmatically guided by the research community.

We hope that you will be able to join us for what promises to be a very productive two day session and the kick-off for a series of in-depth efforts around specific research areas. Please feel free to pass along the information!

Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to me directly by reply to this email (kyazdi [at] internet2 [dot] edu). Further information about the meeting, travel and lodging information will be forthcoming.

If you are not attending in person and would like to join by audio/video, please indicate such interest in your reply.   

With kind regards,

On behalf of the University of Hawaii, the University of California, Davis, the University of Washington, Microsoft and Internet2


 Khalil Yazdi

Khalil Yazdi, Ph.D.

Internet2 NET+ Services


Program Development

Draft Agenda Cyber-Infrastructure for the Physical Sciences-Earth Ocean Sky and Space.pdf71.81 KB