Rion Dooley [email protected] (Principal Investigator)
In today’s data-driven research environment, the ability to easily and reliably access compute, storage, and derived data sources is as much a necessity as the algorithms used to make the actual discoveries. The earth is not shrinking, it is digitizing, and the ability for US researchers to stay competitive in the global research community will increasingly be determined by their ability to reduce the time from theory to discovery. Over the last 5 years, the open source commercial sector has greatly outpaced the academic research world in its growth and adoption of programming languages, infrastructure design, and interface development. Problems that were primarily academic in nature several years ago are now common in the commercial world. Terms like big data, business intelligence, remote visualization, and streaming event processing, have moved from the classroom to the board room. However, academic projects are largely unable to take advantage of many today’s most popular and widely used open source technologies within the context of their campus and shared research infrastructure. The recently completed, NSF funded, Science Gateway Institute planning project revealed just how far behind many communities are. In a survey of over 26,000 NSF-funded PIs, science gateway developers, and leaders in higher education (i.e., CIOs, CTOs, and others), over 85% of respondents said they needed help adapting existing technologies to realize the needs of their gateway. Another 80% said they needed help simply understanding what technologies were available to them. The research community doesn’t just see the gap, they live it. This project seeks to quickly close the capability gap between academic and commercial infrastructure by extending and making robust the Agave Platform, an open, Science-as-a-Service cloud platform for reproducible science. Essentially, this project will allow scientists to focus their energies on their science rather than so much on the computing technologies they use.
This Agave Platform will build upon the success of the existing Agave Developer APIs which currently serve over 20,000 users in the plant biology community. This project includes three well-defined efforts which will synergistically evolve the current technology into a sustainable Science-as-a-Service platform for the national research community. First,it will extend the Agave Developer APIs with additional services and management interfaces to create a cohesive, self-provisioning Agave Platform which will enable Science-as-a-Service to the developer community. Second, the project team will partner with commercial and academic institutions to create a community driven Application Exchange (AX) based on Docker container technology to facilitate application transparency, portability, attribution, and reproducibility. Third, the project will consolidate existing open source contributions from projects already with the Agave ecosystem into Agave ToGo, a collection of reference science gateways in multiple languages and web frameworks. The Agave Platform will democratize access to software and infrastructure across all areas of science and engineering by modernizing the mechanisms with which the research community can utilize and access academic research infrastructure. This will bridge the gap between industrial and academic research infrastructure and allow researchers to use a new generation of open source software and technologies. The AX will enable greater interoperability and accountability in the way computational science results are published and reviewed. Through the matching investment of industrial partners, reproducibility, best practices, and rigorous scientific review will be brought to the mainstream and promoted as a fundamental aspect of the scientific process in an open, sustainable way. Agave ToGo will make custom gateways readily available to end users and developers alike. For end users, it will empower them to focus on domain science rather than computer science. For developers, it will stimulate innovation and increase the opportunity for discovery. When combined with the Agave Platform and Application Exchange, Agave ToGo will enable novice users to create scalable, reproducible, digital labs that span their office, commercial cloud, and national data centers in a matter of minutes.