As the scale of data and complexity of processing capabilities needed for scientific research grow, cloud computing is becoming the go-to technology to be able to handle the data and deploy scientific software pipelines. Research is also a global enterprise with large projects accumulating tens, sometimes hundreds of collaborators worldwide. It is therefore natural to seek to integrate the large IT infrastructures that underpin modern research.
This is what brought IDIA together with the EGI Foundation, an EU-based international e-Infrastructure set up to provide advanced computing and data analytics services for research and innovation. Under the new agreement, EGI and IDIA will collaborate on three main aspects:
- Integrate cloud resources through identification (logins)
- Ensure that radio astronomy applications such as the IDIA pipeline are deployable on EGI cloud resources
- Initiate collaborations that will lead to joint publications and presentations, and scientific visits.
This type of work presents interesting challenges as each cloud infrastructure is slightly different and ensuring that scientific results can be obtained with the same data and software is key to reproducibility of scientific results. At IDIA we use containerisation techniques, but the underlying cloud needs to be able to support the containers. The data also need to be accessible, and therefore some work needs to be done on data sharing and accessibility, while complying to applicable policies.
The research collaborations are expected to yield great results as they open opportunity for our researchers and our students to broaden their scientific horizons.