Science Gateways, Scientific Workflows and Open Community Software

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Marlon Edwin Pierce and Suresh Marru, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN, United States
Science gateways and scientific workflows occupy different ends of the spectrum of user-focused cyberinfrastructure. Gateways, sometimes called science portals, provide a way for enabling large numbers of users to take advantage of advanced computing resources (supercomputers, advanced storage systems, science clouds) by providing Web and desktop interfaces and supporting services. Scientific workflows, at the other end of the spectrum, support advanced usage of cyberinfrastructure that enable “power users” to undertake computational experiments that are not easily done through the usual mechanisms (managing simulations across multiple sites, for example). Despite these different target communities, gateways and workflows share many similarities and can potentially be accommodated by the same software system. For example, pipelines to process InSAR imagery sets or to datamine GPS time series data are workflows. The results and the ability to make downstream products may be made available through a gateway, and power users may want to provide their own custom pipelines.

In this abstract, we discuss our efforts to build an open source software system, Apache Airavata, that can accommodate both gateway and workflow use cases. Our approach is general, and we have applied the software to problems in a number of scientific domains. In this talk, we discuss our applications to usage scenarios specific to earth science, focusing on earthquake physics examples drawn from the and efforts. We also examine the role of the Apache Software Foundation's open community model as a way to build up common commmunity codes that do not depend upon a single "owner" to sustain.

Pushing beyond open source software, we also see the need to provide gateways and workflow systems as cloud services. These services centralize operations, provide well-defined programming interfaces, scale elastically, and have global-scale fault tolerance. We discuss our work providing Apache Airavata as a hosted service to provide these features.