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Jumping Aboard Jetstream at the UA

By Shelley Littin

Members and partners of the iPlant Collaborative met at the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute to discuss developments for Jetstream, the newly funded National Science Foundation project that will be the first of its kind to bring access to cyberinfrastructure platforms and cloud storage to all science and engineering domains.

Members of the Jetstream discussions at the UA January 20 - 22.

The High Performance Computing System Acquisition: Jetstream – A Self-Provisioned, Scalable Science and Engineering Cloud Environment grant (NSF Grant #: 1445604) will allow researchers to store, manage, share, and analyze their data on virtual computing machines in a cloud-based environment.

Software for managing the cloud infrastructure will be developed and tested by the iPlant Collaborative’s Atmosphere cloud computing platform at the University of Arizona, while Jetstream operations will be managed by Indiana University and Texas Advanced Computing Center.

“One of the fundamental aspects of the Jetstream project organization is it includes technologists deploying the systems, application partners who have applications running on the systems, and community representatives speaking for users within subdisciplines,” said Craig Stewart of Indiana University, who led the discussions.

“What we did was bring everybody together to talk about the system architecture and software, and spend time listening to people talk about what they wanted the system to be able to do and what needs they felt it had to fulfill to be effective at meeting the needs of the communities they represented,” Stewart continued. “It gave everyone a great opportunity to get a sense of the whole project as well as the important niches that we think we’ll fulfill for NSF.”

The team discussed Jetstream hardware and software components, security, and ways to enhance the user interface to allow users to navigate smoothly through setting up their own account, using virtual machines available through the Jetstream platform to run analyses, and migrating their data to a secure location upon completion of the analyses.

The Jetstream project also will focus on working with minority-serving institutions in conjunction with the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), as well as work to enhance resources for tribal colleges to teach computational sciences.

Attending the discussions Tuesday through Thursday were representatives from the iPlant Collaborative, University of Arizona, Texas Advanced Computing Center and the University of Texas-Austin, Indiana University, the University of Hawaii, University of Chicago, University of Colorado-NSIDC, Cornell University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, University of North Carolina – Odum Institute, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The representatives discussed the needs of the scientific communities they represent, and how Jetstream can be designed and leveraged to fulfill those needs.

“I was particularly happy to have the meeting here at the University of Arizona because the core systems are based off one of the platforms housed here, the Atmosphere cloud service,” Stewart said. “Also it’s a beautiful campus; the weather is great. It’s nice to be out here.”

Jetstream will be available to the scientific public early in 2016.