Services for the European Open Science Cloud

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In the spotlight: use cases from EOSC-hub’s Competence Centres

Competence Centres are a model of engagement and support for research communities, based on distributed centres where research infrastructures, experts of relevant e-infrastructures and technology developers join forces to mobilise common resources from the EOSC-hub service catalogue to set up community-specific services. 

Therefore, in EOSC-hub we have been working with Competence Centres – or CCs for short. The EOSC-hub CCs cover a variety of scientific disciplines, from life science to psychics, astronomy, earth and environmental sciences and throughout the project they have been bringing researchers closer to services and resources from the European Open Science Cloud.

Below are several practical examples of the Competence Centres’ work and their achievements during the lifetime of EOSC-hub. 

LOFAR and the radio astronomy community 

  • Societal challenges

The basic technology of radio telescopes has not changed since the 1960's: large mechanical dish antennas collect signals before a receiver detects and analyses them. Half the cost of these telescopes lies in the steel and moving structure. A telescope 100x larger than existing instruments would therefore be unaffordable. New technology is required to make the next step in sensitivity needed to unravel the secrets of the early universe and the physical processes in the centers of active galactic nuclei. LOFAR is the first telescope of this new sort, using an array of simple omni-directional antennas instead of mechanical signal processing with a dish antenna. To make radio pictures of the sky with adequate sharpness, these antennas are to be arranged in clusters that are spread out over an area of 100 km in diameter within the Netherlands and over 1500 km throughout Europe.

  • Technical challenges

The Radio Astronomy Competence Centre of EOSC-hub’s project has been supporting the radio astronomical community to find, access, manage, and process data produced by the LOFAR telescope. The CC directly addresses the community’s technology needs – such as computing infrastructure and storage – by offering resources and services from European e-Infrastructures through the European Open Science Cloud.

  • How EOSC adds value

EOSC can add value by providing a compute and storage infrastructure where LOFAR data can be pushed for analysis. In particular, the aspects addressed are federated single sign-on access in a distributed environment and support for data-intensive processing workflows - for example having access to user workspace connected to high-throughput processing systems, offer portable application deployment, and provide integrated access to a FAIR science data repository.

The radio astronomical community is therefore empowered to profit from these resources and increase the science outputs from multi-petabyte radio astronomical data archives of current and future instruments.

Euro-Argo and the marine community 

  • Societal challenges

Oceanographers work to analyse and interpret measurements of different physical and chemical parameters (temperature, salinity) in order to understand the effects of global warming in marine environments. These parameters are collected by large sea observation consortiums, such as Euro-Argo. To improve their understanding of ocean circulation and climate machinery, oceanographers need to access original observations from diverse sources.

  • Technical challenges

EOSC-hub’s Marine Competence Centre has been working on deploying ocean observations on the EOSC infrastructure for data analytics. One of the focuses is to make Euro-Argo (The European research infrastructure for ocean observation) data more easily accessible for online processing and subsetting.

  • How EOSC adds value

The EOSC-hub project has been bringing together services and tools from the European Open Science Cloud to support the Euro-Argo Data Discovery Platform and integrate the Argo research community with the EOSC. These services include compute cloud environments for hosting of the ARGO data and the data visualization environments, as well as data transfer services. 

EISCAT_3D and the EO community

  • Societal challenges

 EISCAT_3D will be the world’s leading facility to explore and study the Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere, including phenomena such as the aurora borealis (northern lights) and noctilucent clouds. Construction kicked off in September 2017, with the first stage of the radar system expected to become operational in 2021. Using separate stations in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, based on phased array technology, EISCAT_3D will be able to make three-dimensional measurements of the plasma densities and temperatures and the direction of motion of that plasma, among other things. This will provide scientists a more comprehensive view of the important physical processes. 

  • Technical challenges

EISCAT_3D has opened up new opportunities for physicists to explore a variety of research fields, but it comes with significant challenges in handling large-scale experimental data. The EISCAT_3D Competence Centre worked on developing a web portal for researchers to access and analyse the data generated by EISCAT_3D. 

  • How EOSC adds value

The EOSC-hub team has been building on the existing portal prototype and enriched it with EOSC services made available via the project. These services include EGI Check-In (for user single sign-on in the portal), EGI Clouds (for user data analysis from the portal), EGI Workload Manager (to provide the portal graphical environment and for managing complex set of jobs across multiple, federated clouds). 

The Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) research community 

  • Societal challenges

Supporting high-quality climate change research is a huge challenge. This is why ICOS gathers over 100 greenhouse gas measuring stations and 12 member countries - to better quantify and understand the greenhouse gas balance of the European and neighbouring regions.

  • Technical challenges

The Carbon Portal is the ICOS data portal where users can find and download ICOS data. The Carbon Portal provides virtual research environments where users can apply models, combined with ICOS and other data and publish the results again through the data portal. The Carbon Portal requires trusted long-term storage and distributed computing facilities to enable the portal functionality and to provide the virtual research environments with enough resources for the potential growing needs from its users. 

  • How EOSC adds value

To address the above challenge, ICOS has been leveraging cloud compute resources, as well as data staging and preservation services from e-Infrastructures through EOSC-hub. The ICOS group now integrates EOSC services with the ICOS Carbon Portal to provide a scalable environment for researchers wishing to monitor and analyse carbon processes.

Have a look at the full EOSC-hub CC representation on the project’s website.

More EOSC-hub use cases are available on the EOSC Portal



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