AeRIC October Meeting Tuesday 19 October, 2010 Professor Geoff Taylor Interim Director, NeCTAR [email protected] NeCTAR objectives NeCTAR’s primary objective is to enhance research collaboration and research outcomes. This will be pursued through: •Provision of ICT infrastructure that creates new information-centric research capabilities, as well as further developing existing expertise •Significantly simplifying the flow of data from instruments to storage and computing facilities for access and analysis in a range of applications •Enabling the development of research workflows based on access to multiple resources. The intention is to support the so-called ‘connected researcher’ who, either at the desktop or the benchtop, has access to a full suite of digitally-enabled data, and analytic and modelling resources relevant to their research. NeCTAR objectives The NeCTAR investment sits within a broader eResearch capability and is aimed at providing the bridge between researchers and eResearch resources. The nature of the Super Science (EIF) funding requires that the project focus on the creation and development of infrastructure - therefore the emphasis of the program is on development and implementation of tools that enhance research capability. Key outcomes of the project will be to: •Deploy research infrastructure and services nationally that are not otherwise available to researchers •Extend the use of the infrastructure and services to a wider cross-section of researchers more quickly than would otherwise occur. A further key success factor will be the generation of a practical rationale for ongoing investment in this area. Models for sustainability will be pursued as part of the project plan and ongoing implementation. Consultation Plan The NeCTAR Consultation Plan is available for download from the NeCTAR website at www.nectar.org.au. It outlines the process the project will take to seek sector views on: • The implementation of the project components • The budget distribution between components • The roles of various sector participants • How much co-investment might be needed to supplement Super Science investment in each of the project components It will also seek sector support for: • Processes that can select activities and make resource allocations to the development and provisioning of components of the infrastructure The consultation process will ensure that the service and functional requirements of the end user community are well understood. A broad base of the community will be consulted to understand, to a reasonable degree of specificity, what their ongoing support requirements are. Consultation timeline Key consultation milestones Projected completion date Consultation Paper released to sector 8 October 2010 Written responses to Consultation Paper received 5 November 2010 Written responses published on NeCTAR website (those marked confidential will not be published) 15 November 2010 NeCTAR townhall meetings held in capital cities 26 November – 3 December 2010 Draft Final Project Plan released to sector for comment following agreement with NeCTAR Independent Project Board and DIISR 28 January 2011 Written responses to Draft Final Project Plan received 25 February 2011 Final Project Plan submitted to DIISR for agreement 31 March 2011 Final Project Plan published 30 April 2011 Consultation progress to date NeCTAR will engage with the sector through: 1. Targeted face-to-face meetings with NeCTAR staff 2. Written responses to the Consultation Paper 3. Participation in townhall meetings 4. Written responses to the Draft Final Project Plan Consultation through face-to-face meetings is already underway to establish early connections and to assess the needs of large eResearch users – this will ensure the NeCTAR infrastructure planning appropriately takes these into account. The NeCTAR Consultation Paper has been distributed to the sector and is available for download from the NeCTAR website: www.nectar.org.au. Written responses are invited by 5 November. Townhall events NeCTAR townhall meeting schedule Melbourne Friday 26 November, 1.00 – 5.00pm Brisbane Monday 29 November, 1.00 – 5.00pm Sydney Tuesday 30 November, 1.00 – 5.00pm Hobart Wednesday 1 December, 1.00 – 5.00pm Adelaide Thursday 2 December, 1.00 – 5.00pm Perth Friday 3 December, 10:00am – 2:00pm More information about the townhall meetings, including formal advice of venue and RSVP details, will be released to the sector shortly. Process for analysing input Written responses and feedback received through meetings and the townhall events will be examined for the guidance they can offer the project in terms of: • • • The principles that should be used to set the priorities for the infrastructure development The process for actively identifying and approving proposed activities under the various project components The process for determining resource allocation to approved activities Responses will be particularly examined for synergies with the services and infrastructure to be delivered under the RDSI project, to the extent that this information is then available. It is expected that responses will highlight sector views on the amount and nature of the co-investment required to supplement the Super Science investment in the NeCTAR project components. This information will be critical importance in the formation of the Final Project Plan. NeCTAR project components The NeCTAR project objectives will be delivered through four project components: 1. eResearch Tools. These tools will support the continuing development of research tools and services and their integration with other NCRIS- and Super Science-funded infrastructure. 2. Virtual Laboratories. Exemplar problem-oriented Virtual Laboratories will be created from sensor, instrument, compute, data and visualisation resources. 3. Research Cloud. A set of virtualised research applications that operate in a secure and shared environment, connected to major instruments, compute and data nodes. 4. National Servers. These will provide the core functions to enable advanced information services, enhanced collaboration and the improved interoperation of research infrastructure. Components 1 and 2 will be problem- or discipline-specific, requiring the development of infrastructure directly relevant to specific research needs. Components 3 and 4 are intended to be multi-purpose and support a wide range of enduser needs. eResearch Tools (RT) program The RT-program aims to develop and improve selected eResearch tools and services to: • enhance their capabilities including improved remote access, real-time interaction, or workflow effectiveness • enhance their support for collaborative work • increase their functionality particularly via access to other tools and services. Each RT activity would be undertaken as a Sub-Project managed by a Sub-Contractor. It is expected that: • each Sub-Project would be executed over a 12 to 24 month period • each Sub-Project would be provided with between $500,000 and $1 million as a contribution towards infrastructure development and commissioning • Sub-Project participants would agree to maintain and operate relevant software, middleware and hardware infrastructure at least through to the operational end of NeCTAR (June 2014) • the NeCTAR Sub-Project funding contribution would be no more than 50% of total costs. Virtual Laboratories (VL) program The VL-Program will construct a small number of leading research collaboration environments that demonstrate the research benefits of more broadly integrated research resources. The program will: • develop criteria for selection of investments with the research community • identify priority opportunities and associated co-investors through an open EOI process • develop, install and commission the necessary purpose-specific integrated infrastructure for each virtual laboratory, including any necessary multi-institutional ICT deployment or National Server components. A priority for the VL-Program will be to enhance the Super Science investments in networking, supercomputing, data management, and the storage and collaboration infrastructure, as well as other significant research support capabilities. Research Cloud (RC) program The RC-Program will provide access to a range of computing and integration with data storage capabilities for research purposes, the latter of which are expected to come from the national Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) project. In the context of the national RDSI, the program will investigate opportunities to co-locate cloud capabilities with the data storage capabilities, where such a need is identified. Co-location may involve the addition of relevant capabilities to selected nodes in the RDSI, including the: • installation of substantial (virtualised) server support capabilities located at one or more national data stores for the use of the Project, including any necessary specialised storage and interconnects required • provisioning of middleware to support on-demand scalable access to virtualised server, cluster and storage capabilities, and the user management of such capabilities, either by licence or as a service. National Servers (NS) program The NS-Program will provide server support for essential eResearch servers to appropriate standards of reliability. Servers may include: • servers to publish data, such as OpenDAP, THREDDS, GEONET, and AVO • specific back-end servers, such as those required to support a national file system, centralised grid services, AAF functionality, and video mixing servers for desktop video conferencing • central servers required by Virtual Laboratories and the online collaborative interaction of tools in the Research Cloud. Example activities under the NS Program may include information services such as the ANDS (Australian National Data Service) utilities, registries for the ALA (Atlas of Living Australia), or packaging of the underlying storage capacity as a national drop box service. Interaction with other eResearch initiatives • RDSI The RDSI initiative will provide data storage infrastructure to enhance regional data centre development and support retention and integration of nationally significant data assets into the national collaboration and data fabric The Final NeCTAR Project Plan will take the activities of this initiative into account in determining the details of the NeCTAR infrastructure arrangements • ARCS The NCRIS funding for ARCS concludes on 30 June 2011. A number of important tools and services have been developed by ARCS to meet the functional requirements of the research community. NeCTAR has the option to continue these services, to further develop them, or to decide not to take them up, depending upon the demand from the sector. This will be determined through the consultation process and will be at the discretion of the NeCTAR Project Board, assuming there is also sufficient compatibility with the mission and framework of the NeCTAR project Progress update on project establishment activities: • Management Board An Independent Chair has been appointed: Dr Graham Mitchell, AO. Graham is recognised as one of Australia's leading biological scientists. He is the former Director of Melbourne Zoo, and Research Director for CSL Limited. He also led research into the parasite vaccines at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He is currently a Chief Scientist to the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. Determination of the full Board membership is now underway in consultation with the Chair. • Director, NeCTAR Applications for the Director position have now closed and interviews with candidates will be conducted before the end of October. Other Directorate staff are in place, including an Interim Business Manager and a permanent Project Coordination Officer. • Interim website An interim NeCTAR website exists at www.nectar.org.au.