GEON Newsletter || May 2005
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GEON Holds 3rd Annual Meeting, A National Meeting on Research Frontiers in Cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences

GEON 3rd Annual Meeting, May 5-6, 2005, Bahia Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA
GEON 3rd Annual Meeting, May 5-6, 2005, Bahia Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA
More than 115 geoscientists and information technology researchers -- double last year's attendance -- representing over two dozen institutions gathered in San Diego on May 5-6 for the third annual meeting of the GEON "Cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences" project. Combined with the project meeting, GEON sponsored a broader "National Meeting on Research Frontiers in Cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences." The joint meeting, which included progress reports on the many components of GEON, demonstrations of new software, presentations from experts in related field, and a poster session, was held at the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay, and hosted by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), University of California, San Diego - one of the GEON PI institutions.

"This combined meeting marks a milestone for the geosciences and GEON. It shows the rapid growth of geoinformatics and the broad interest in getting involved in the development of cyberinfrastructure," said Chaitan Baru, coordinator of information technology in GEON and director of Science R&D at SDSC. "GEON's groundbreaking developments are attracting interest from many other projects. There were more people at the meeting from other projects than from GEON itself." In the three years since it began GEON has become a recognized leader for cyberinfrastructure in the Earth sciences.

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

Application deadline is June 13, 2005

GEON will again offer 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.

While the Institute is open to everyone, graduate students and postdocs in the geosciences are especially encouraged to apply. 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 to Hold Cyberinfrastructure Institute at University of Hyderbad, India

GEON will conduct a version of the Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute at the University of Hyderabad, India, immediately following the PRAGMA9 meeting in October 2005. The University of Hyderabad (UofH) is one the leading science universities in India. UofH has also recently established a supercomputer center and launched a new Center for Earth and Space Sciences (CESS). UofH is a member of the PRAGMA project (http://www.pragma-grid.net) and will host the PRAGMA9 meeting, which will feature a session on geosciences/GEON.

UofH plans to deploy a GEON node in order to host a geochemistry database and other geoscience services. A number of Earth Sciences-related institutions are collocated in the city of Hyderabad including, the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), and the Geological Society of India (GSI).

The Institute will be conducted at the University of Hyderabad on October 24-28, 2005, after PRAGMA9. The GEON node will also be installed at that time.

This is one of the first formal international collaborations GEON has developed. Plans to add other international partners are being developed.

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Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial and Science Technology to Collaborate With and Host GEON Node

After a meeting at SDSC between a group from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial and Science Technology (AIST), Tokyo, Japan, led by Dr. Satoshi Sekiguchi (Director, Grid Technology Research Center, AIST) and Chaitan Baru (SDSC), the AIST team expressed their interest in collaborating with GEON in order to publish satellite data. This meeting was facilitated by the PRAGMA project (see www.pragma-grid.org) based at UCSD and led by Peter Arzberger. GEON co-PI Phil Papadopoulos is also a co-PI of PRAGMA. AIST is a member of the PRAGMA project. The cooperation between AIST and GEON will bring new DEM data online from MODIS and ASTER satellite platforms and enable AIST to utilize the mechanisms provided in GEON for making data broadly available to the larger science community. AIST plans to use the GEON software stack and to host a GEON node to serve ths data.

A representative of AIST, Ms. Kayo Arima, attended the GEON AM in May.

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Database Registration Research Workshop to be Held at SDSC

A research workshop is being organized on June 13 & 14 at SDSC to evaluate database registration methods for use by geoscientists within the GEON portal environment. In this two day meeting, scientists will evaluate ontologic methods for data registration using databases that they are familiar with. In particular, attendees of this meeting will focus on geochemical and structural databases. The experience gained from this workshop will assist in developing robust and simple methods for data registration using ontologies, to meet the ultimate goal of design of a more user friendly portal environment for use by the larger community of geoscience researchers. This workshop is being organized by GEON PI Krishna Sinha (VaTech).

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SDSC Team Visits UTEP and Arizona State

A small delegation from the SDSC GEON team visited the University of Texas, El Paso and Arizona State University campuses, as part of the continuing interactions on software systems development, and also to upgrade GEON machines at those locations with the newest version of the GEON software stack (version 1.0). This was an extremely productive trip. While there, the team was able to upgrade the GEON machines to version 1.0, that includes the UTEP portal; configure the GAMA security services; and provide tutorials on the setup and configuration of the machines and the ROCKS software. They were also able to help staff at UTEP develop Rocks "rolls" for GMT. The visit included discussions with research collaborators in the Geosciences Department (Prof. Randy Keller, Raed Aldouri, and others) as well as in the Computer Science Department (Prof. Ann Gates and her group).

Bhatia, Chandra, and Memon also visited ASU, along with Ashraf Memon. As in UTEP, they helped with the upgrade of the systems at ASU to the new GEON software stack release, which is based on Redhat Enterprise Linux 3.0, and includes INCA, Network Weather Service (NWS) and other middleware monitoring software, GridSphere with GAMA preinstalled, and the Web services libraries used for development. The cluster (i.e. the frontend plus 3 compute nodes) were configured, and one compute node was setup for testing purposes. They were also able to successfully deploy ASU's satellite portal, and connect this to the GEON GAMA server and the main SDSC portal.

Specific short term challenges were addressed at both sites, including providing standard APIs for data management (metadata search, data registration and ingestion) for the partner site; integrating with cluster infrastructures (including GEON clusters, local campus clusters, and large-scale clusters such as Teragrid); integrating site-developed applications into the geon framework (site specific portals as well as custom rolls). Ongoing, regular collaboration between the SDSC and partner sites to resolve these and future problems will occur.

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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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