On November 18, 2013, at the Supercomputing Conference SC13 in Denver (US), the Enlighten Your Research (EYR) Global award were announced. EYR Global aims to identify research programs that could significantly benefit from enhanced global network connectivity. One of the four winners of this prestigious award is a collaboration of institutions involved in the ICT infrastructure for biomedical research in the Netherlands, UK and Finland, who developed the concept from an ELIXIR pilot action
The international joint working group includes the University Medical Centre Groningen and SURFsara, the Netherlands, Cambridge University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute, UK, and CSC - IT Centre for Science, Finland. Life science and health research is being accelerated with this European global research network incorporating dynamic lightpaths up to 10 gigabits/second.
Software pipelines that biomedical researchers use to analyse big datasets (such as human genomes) are very complex and constantly evolving, so it can be difficult to keep up to date. Because scientists in many disciplines are interested in analysing this type of data, there is an increasing demand for a repository for software pipelines.
With the proposal that has now won funding, researchers will have the opportunity to exchange virtual machine images in order to enhance their biomedical data analyses. The concept makes it much easier for scientists in many different countries to find meaning in the massive volumes of biomedical data in a secure manner. Our goal is for such virtual machines to be used in different cloud services, such as the shared science cloud services (e.g. Helix Nebula) of large European research organisations and infrastructures (including EMBL, CERN, ESA, EGI).
SURFsara contributes the HPC Cloud facility to this project and will closely collaborate with researchers in the development of virtual machine images.
The Enlighten Your Research Global Award is an initiative of five research networks: SURFnet (NL), Janet (UK), Funet (Finland), ESnet (USA) and Internet2 (USA). The prize covers the cost of building the network infrastructure and the project’s operational costs for using the network for the first year.