Plenary Session
Evolving and sustaining the ecosystem of research information technology
Event Type
Plenary Session
TimeTuesday, July 309:25am - 10:25am
LocationRegency AB
DescriptionThe needs of research and researchers on campuses is growing rapidly beyond the desktop, and also beyond the traditional high performance computing (HPC) support campus research IT groups have long provided. This includes deployment of virtual machines and their customization, adoption and support of container and orchestration technologies, support for big data, data movement, machine learning and analytics, help with migration to the cloud, and facilitating the use of accelerators, such as GPUs. Most campus research IT groups are experiencing a significant rise in the number of research groups and users requiring access to research computing and data resources. Sustaining this growth, coping with new and less experienced communities, navigating and satisfying the ever-increasing set of compliance requirements, and facilitating the use of emerging and innovative technologies, is putting a strain on campus research computing people and resources. A potential approach towards sustaining efforts—as the technologies continue to innovate and diversify—is to collaborate and share expertise, experience, leading practices, and resources among institutions. Rather than duplicate efforts on each campus, maybe we can work together to support research and researchers and/or provide better means to advocate for, support, and improve research IT on our campuses.

Realizing the needs, numerous communities have emerged at the local, regional and national levels, each with different foci, to help support research computing and data and the associated research IT professionals on our campuses. Examples include the Campus Champions (CC), the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), and the Campus Research Computing Consortium (CaRCC), among numerous others. Each of these work or function in different ways, but collectively they all are looking inward to define their vision and aims, at models for sustainability, and each are exploring ways to empower and help our communities.

In April 2019, a workshop was held to bring together an initial subset of participants from some of these communities to better understand the broader ecosystem of research IT. This included representatives from CaRCC, CASC, CC, Coalition for Network Information (CNI), HPC sys-pros, Big Data Hubs, Open Science Grid (OSG), Carpentries, Women in HPC, EDUCASE, Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC), CI Engineers, Midscale Experimental Research Infrastructures Forum (MERIF), Global Environment for Network Investigations (GENI), SIGHPC education, HPC University, Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP), Great Plains Network (GPN), The Quilt, Minority Serving Institutions / Historically Black Colleges, and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).

A key goal of the workshop was to identify key organizations and initiatives in the research computing and data ecosystem, including those not included in the initial workshop (for example Research Software Engineers, many of whom were attending a different meeting at the same time), and to identify commonalities, gaps, and areas for potential collaboration and to provide a more coherent view of the broader research computing and data ecosystem highlighting successes and challenges.

The proposed PEARC19 1.5 hour panel is to have some representatives from the Research Computing and Data Ecosystem workshop present to discuss the findings of the workshop and to discuss future directions with the larger community of interested PEARC19 participants. Moderated by Dana Brunson and with panelists from CaRCC (Thomas Cheatham) and CASC (Sharon Broude Geva), Campus Champions (Doug Jennewein), and RDAP (Tobin Magle). The panel presentations will include dissemination of the collective vision and next steps for defining and strengthening the broader ecosystem of research computing and data, with ample time put aside for discussions with the PEARC19 community.