14 September 2011

Bringing SeIUCCR to people

Am at the SeIUCCR (pronounced "succor" - no, not "sucker") summer school at the Coseners House in Abingdon and the doors are open out to the garden and we can well believe it is a summer school. Last time I lectured in a summer school (cloud security) I had made the presentation a bit too easy, so this time (data management) I included some hairy stuff. While it was basically about uploading data to the grid and moving it around, the presentation covered the NGS and GridPP, i.e. Globus and gLite, and we also (once) queried the information system directly (which was the aforementioned hairy part). But, like the 2-sphere, no talk can be hairy everywhere. Oh, and all the demos worked, despite being live.

The main idea is that grids extend the types of research people can do, because we enable managing and processing large volumes of data, so we are in a better position to cope with the famous "data deluge." Some people will be happy with the friendly front end in the NGS portal but we also demonstrated moving data from RAL to Glasgow (hooray for dteam) and to QMUL with, respectively, lcg-rep and FTS.

If you are a "normal" researcher (ie not a particle physicist :-)) you normally don't want to"waste time" learning grid data management, but the entry level tools are actually quite easy to get into, no worse than anything else you are using to move data. And the advanced tools are there if and when you eventually get to the stage where you need them, and not that hard to learn: a good way to get started is to go to GridPP and click the large friendly HELP button. NGS also has tutorials (and if you want more tutorials, let us know.)

It is worth mentioning that we like holding hands: one thing we have found in GridPP is that new users like to contact their local grid experts - which is also the point of having campus champions. We should have a study at the coming AHM. Makes it even easier to get started. You have no excuse. Resistance is futile.

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