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Wed. July 18 5:30pm XSEDE12 BOF: Cloud Computing for Science

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Wed. July 18 5:30pm XSEDE12 BOF: Cloud Computing for Science
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7/17/12 6:45 PM
XSEDE 12 BOF: Cloud Computing for Science: Challenges and Opportunities

Wednesday July 18, 2012 5:30pm - 6:30pm @ Toledo 5th Floor

Kate Keahey, University of Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory, and Manish Parashar, Rutgers University


Abstract: Outsourcing compute infrastructure and services has many potential benefits to scientific projects: it offers access to sophisticated resources that may be beyond the means of a single institution to acquire, allows for more flexible usage patterns, creates potential for access to economies of scale via consolidation, and eliminates the overhead of system acquisition and operation for an institution allowing it to focus on its scientific mission. Cloud computing recently emerged as a promising paradigm to realize such outsourcing as it offers on-demand, short-term access, which allows users to flexibly manage peaks in demand, pay-as-you-go model, which helps save costs for bursty usage patterns (i.e., helps manage “valleys” in demand), and convenience, as users and institutions no longer have to maintain specialized IT departments. However, cloud computing brings with it also challenges as we seek to understand how to best leverage the paradigm.

Many scientific communities are experimenting with this new model, among others using FutureGrid resources and a testbed for initial exploration. The objective of this BOF is to focus discussion on experiences to date as well as define challenges and priorities in understanding how cloud computing can be best leveraged in the scientific context. We plan to discuss application patterns as well as highlight and discuss the priority of the current challenges and open issues in cloud computing for science. Specifically, we will discuss the following challenges. What types of applications are currently considered suitable for the cloud and what are the obstacles to enlarging that set? What is the state-of-the-art of cloud computing performance relative to scientific applications and how is it likely to change in the future? How would programming models have to change (or what new programming models need to be developed) to support scientific applications in the clouds? Given the current cloud computing offering, what middleware needs to be developed to enable scientific communities to leverage clouds? How does cloud computing change the potential for new attacks and what new security tools and mechanisms will be needed to support it? How can we facilitate transition to this new paradigm for the scientific community; what needs to be done/established first? Depending on the profile of attendance, we expect the last question in particular to form a substantial part of the discussion.

The BOF will be structured as follows. We will begin with a short structured talk session, led by the organizers, that will summarize and update several previous discussions on this topic, notably the MAGIC meetings in September, April and May as well as several parallel developments that took place in the scientific context such as the Magellan report, cloud-related experimentation status on the FutureGrid project, and application activity. The second session of the BOF will be devoted to the discussion, elaboration, and prioritization of the challenges listed above. Finally, we will address the prioritization and shape of concrete transition measures. The time allocated to the last two issues will depend on the structure of the attendance; if we can get feedback from XSEDE users we will emphasize the transition measures, if we attract CS practitioners we will focus on technical challenges.