GEON Newsletter || March 2005
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3rd Annual Meeting to be held May 5-6 in San Diego, CA

Bahia Resort Hotel GEON will host its 3rd Annual Meeting May 5-6, 2005, at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego, CA. This two day event entitled "A National Meeting on Research Frontiers on Cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences" will focus on current developments in the area of cyberinfrastructure (CI) for the Geosciences, as well as further needs and opportunities. The agenda will include invited talks, presentation of research results from the GEON project, presentations from other cyberinfrastructure projects and poster sessions.

This meeting is open to all who are interested in information technology based geoscience research and education. All participants are encouraged to submit an abstract. The registration and abstract submission deadline for this meeting is April 11, 2005.

Invited speakers include Fran Berman, Director, San Diego Supercomputer Center, John Orcutt, President, American Geophysics Union, and Larry Smarr, Director, Calit2.

Full details and online registration can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/AM05/

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Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists to be held July 18-22, 2005

Based on strong positive feedback from its offering last year, GEON will again organize a "Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists" (CSIG), to be held at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the UCSD campus, from July 18-22, 2005.

This week-long CSIG is designed to introduce grad students, post docs, and geoscientists to commonly-used and emergent information technology (IT) tools through lectures and hands-on exercises.

Topics to be covered include Data Modeling, Web Services, and Geographic Information Systems. A brief introduction will also be provided to key concepts in Scientific Workflows and Grid Computing.

A maximum of 40 attendees will be selected from the pool of applicants.

This CSIG is made possible through funding provided by the NSF. Additional information and an online application can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/CSIG05/

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GEON at GridSphere Workshop

SDSC GEON developers gave two presentations at the Portal, Portlet and GridSphere Workshop, held on February 4-5 at LSU in conjunction with the 13th Annual Mardi Gras Conference, "Frontiers of Grid Applications and Technologies", sponsored by the Center for Computation and Technology (CCT). GEON has adopted the open-source GridSphere portal construction toolkit as the framework for its portal.

The presentations were well received, indicating the positive impact of advanced GEON cyberinfrastructure on the wider community. Ashraf Memon, GEON Chief Software Architect, gave a talk on the overall GEONgrid Portal which attracted much attention, with the Chief Software Architect of GridSphere highlighting GEON as a major success story in the GridSphere community. The second presentation, by SDSC portal developer Kurt Mueller, covered the new Grid Authentication Management Architecture (GAMA) that is being introduced in GEON for user authentication in the GEON portal. GAMA has been jointly developed by the GEON and Telescience projects at UCSD, and is also being investigated in a number of other large cyberinfrastructure projects. Version 1.0 of the GAMA software has been released to the community. More information about GAMA can be found at: http://grid-devel.sdsc.edu/gama

More information and presentation downloads from the GridSphere Workshop are available at: http://www.gridsphere.org/gridsphere/html/mardigrasworkshop2005/index.html

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Rollout of new version of GEON Software Stack

The next version of the GEONgrid software stack is currently in beta release.

This version includes the latest upgrades that have been made to the RedHat Linux kernels and associated libraries, updated Globus and Web Services applications and libraries, additional infrastructure monitoring and testing tools, and a GIS-specific database. With this release, GEON is also introducing the novel concept of distributed portals. The release includes a GridSphere-based Geon Partner Portal, which allows each GEON partner to customize the portal and "brand" it to suit their needs and applications. These distributed portals are based on a common core functionality, and share common infrastructure. For example, the portals use GAMA (Grid Account Management Architecture, see above) to provide a centralized GSI-based security solution. This software update provides another important functionality, which is the ability of each partner site to develop and contribute software tools and applications in the form of "Rolls", or software modules, that can be incorporated as standard components in future versions of the GEON software stack. This is made possible due to the wide-area distribution features available in the Rocks toolkit.

The initial roll-out of the beta version of the Geon Software Stack (version 1.0-beta) was completed at the University of Texas-El Paso partner with additional beta test sites to be rolled out shortly (Arizona State is planned for April 11th).

Since this is a major upgrade to the software base, SDSC's GEON Systems group will provide assistance to upgrade all the partner sites over the course of the next few months. We anticipate that subsequent upgrades will not require significant effort. We expect that the base software stack will be updated roughly twice a year. However, we also anticipate that the science tools and applications will be added at a faster pace, so new, application-based Rolls may become available more frequently.

Electronic readers of this newsletter can access links to GEON Forums posts in the GEON Systems Deployment and Administration section for software included in the software stack:
  GEON PoP software stack version 1.0 (Revised List)
  GEON PoP software stack version 0.1

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CHRONOS Federated Database Registered in GEON Portal

The GEON RDBMS registration system now allows the registration of DB2 databases in addition to Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server and Postgres. The new DB2 connection capability also allows access to IBM's Information Integrator, a powerful database federation tool. For example, this tool has been used to create the CHRONOS federated database which contains moderated global-views of several remote databases including Neptune, PaleoStrat, PaleoBiology, Janus and Timescale. Using Information Integrator, these databases can now be accessed and queried via a single "integrated database view". As a result of the new DB2 database registration capability, the Chronos integrated view has now been registered in GEON.

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Workshops

GEON hosted several workshops at the San Diego Supercomputer Center in early 2005.

Visualization Workshop Participants A much anticipated and well attended Visualization Workshop was facilitated by GEON PIs Chuck Meertens (Unavco) and Ramon Arrowsmith (Az State) on March 1-2, 2005. This workshop brought together more than 30 representatives from the Geosciences and IT communities for an inaugural workshop in the recently created Synthesis Center, currently housed at SDSC (http://www.syncenter.org/). The group focused on visualization requirements needed to conduct integrative science, and had the opportunity to see and evaluate some currently available tools, and assess the areas where additional developments are needed. The agenda for this workshop, along with the presentations, are available at: http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/geonvis2005/

Geo-Ontology Workshop Participants A second workshop on Geo-ontology was convened by GEON PI, A.K. Sinha, Virginia Tech. This workshop also involved researchers from the Geosciences and IT communities, and provided a forum for discussing the framework for a high level ontologic representation of planets, with an emphasis on the solid Earth. Further information on the workshop and its participants can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/geoont2005/

Other workshops organized by community members and sponsored by GEON included a Hydrologic Ontology workshop headed by Michael Piasecki (Drexel Univ) on January 27-28. This workshop was organized to discuss the development of a hydrologic ontology that can be incorporated into the GEON framework. The intension of creating this ontology is based on an ongoing research effort to develop a prototype Hydrologic Information System (HIS) as part of the Consortium for the Advancement of the Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI) initiative funded by NSF. The HIS prototype team is working closely together with the SDSC to develop a digital library system (DSL). Further information and a list of participants can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/hydroont2005/

Another workshop, on "Designing Interoperability for Sample-Based Data Management via the International Geo Sample Number IGSN" was organized by Kerstin Lehnert (LDEO, Columbia)and hosted by GEON at SDSC on January 23-24. Further information, including the white paper for this workshop, can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/sampleid2005/

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NSF This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0225673 (GEON). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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