Campus Bridging HIstory

When XSEDE started in 2011, it created a very small group called the XSEDE Campus Bridging group

As described in a recent workshop report (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7307557/), campus bridging encompassed a number of different kinds of issues: some financial (e.g. network capacity to the campus), some related to authentication frameworks, some computer science, and some computer engineering. What the problems addressed in the 2011 report had in common was that they were all perceived or encountered from the viewpoint of a researcher or student on a campus trying to interoperate with the national cyberinfrastructure. Many of these campus bridging problems have been addressed or are being addressed by NSF solicitations issues since the 2011 ACCI taskforce report.

When XSEDE started in 2011, it created a very small group called the XSEDE Campus Bridging group (originally a whopping 0.35 FTEs that grew to 2.5 FTEs over the course of five years of XSEDE). Challenges identified in the ACCI taskforce and met by XSEDE Campus Bridging Group, working with other areas of XSEDE, include:

  • Ease of file transfer. Prior to XSEDE, simply moving files around within the research cyberinfrastructure ecosystem of the US was a significant obstacle. Globus transfer provides a file and data movement service that provides "best possible" data throughput between any two CI systems (ranging from a laptop to a massive data archive) with an easy-to-use web interface. Globus transfer as implemented by XSEDE and XSEDE-allocated SPs have created a situation in which the large majority of users of XSEDE are satisfied to happy with their ability to move files from local campuses to the national NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure.
  • Ease of management of local campus CI resources. The two cluster building kits supported by XCI - the XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster (XCBC) and the The XSEDE National Integration Toolkit (XNIT) - allow campus cyberinfrastructure sysadmins to automate tasks that may easily be automated, focusing their own precious time on meeting needs that are particular to their own local resources and local user needs.

XSEDE had a significant impact on the national CI ecosystem, as evidenced by the following statistics as of the end of the first five years of XSEDE:

  • Total aggregate PetaFLOPS of systems running XCBC and / or XNIT: 732
  • Total number of CI resource on which one or more XCI tools are used: 594
  • Total PetaBytes of files moved via Globus transfer since the start of XSEDE: 148
  • Total number of partnership interactions between XCRI and SPs, campus and national CI providers since the start of XSEDE: 72

Many other campus bridging problems were addressed by other entities. Examples of campus bridging challenges that went well beyond the scope of XSEDE, but which have been addressed since the start of XSEDE include:

  • The NSF CC* solicitation addresses many of the issues of local campus cyberinfrastructure and the capacity of campus network connections to national cyberinfrastructure
  • The XSEDE-allocated Wrangler system provides a data analytics and massive data disk storage and analysis resource allocated via XSEDE and available to the national research community.
  • The Service Provider Forum creates a place for information exchange between operators of campus CI systems and those providing services at the national level.

To better understand the beginnings and history of Campus Bridging as a concept, you can read an assessment of the general area of campus bridging as of the end of the first five years of XSEDE. You can read the report from a workshop run in conjunction with IEEE Cluster 2015 here: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/20538.

There is also a Youtube playlist for Campus Bridging videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdzP0orHEoZHtNhql98cbtw

Key Points
Different issues Campus Bridging faced
XSEDE had a significant impact on the national CI ecosystem
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