Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Citing the use of NGS Resources

Are you using NGS resources and looking for a way to cite the NGS? If so then please use the latest publication featuring the NGS. The book “Grid Computing” by Lizhe Wang, Wei Jie and Jinjun Chen was published recently and features a chapter on the NGS by NGS Director Andrew Richards and NGS Liaison Officer Gillian Sinclair. The chapter also features work from the Genius project at UCL and the MoSeS project at the University of Leeds.
Of course the book is also available from Amazon :-)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

BlueBEAR in Birmingham

This morning I was at the University of Birmingham attending their Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR) User Forum. Organised by Paul Hatton who is Service Manager for the University BEAR environment, these user forums bring together users of Birminghams BlueBEAR resource.

The NGS were co-sponsor of the meeting along with Microsoft and David Wallom, Technical Director of the NGS, kicked off proceedings by giving the first presentation on the NGS. Also giving presentations were representatives from NAG, the new STFC Hartree Centre, Microsoft, IBM, Clustervision and the BEAR User Group.

It was a good meeting with some very interesting talks and a lot of good discussion over lunch.
Birmingham is a NGS affiliate and currently contributes resources from two of its clusters in the Particle Physics group. It is hoped that the Blue Bear cluster will soon contribute resources to the NGS.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Planning ahead

As I type, several NGS staff are currently hosting a NGS roadshow at the University of Bath. This roadshow was particularly popular with approximately 40 people registered with the majority being from Bath. This roadshow is just an "over lunch" event unlike the event last week at Aston which also combined a training event on the second day. Remember if you are interested in having the NGS come to your institution to give a roadshow then please contact me (gillian.sinclair(at)manchester(dot)ac.uk) for further details.

Many of you may have recently recieved an email from the NGS asking you to confirm your requirement for NGS resources. This is basically a piece of housekeeping from the NGS to ensure that our records are up to date and to help us understand the current size of the NGS user base and yearly load on the NGS. Please follow the instructions contained in the email but if you do have any questions about your account then please contact the NGS helpdesk (support(at)grid-support.ac.uk).

Planning is underway for the upcoming conference seasons in June and September so if you know of any conferences which would be relevant for the NGS to attend and have an exhibition area (or opportunity for us to present) then please let me know at the email above.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

NGS on the Road!

Earlier this week the NGS roadshow team travelled to Aston University to host a roadshow event for staff and students. The event was well attended with 25 people in attendance ranging from PhD students to ITS staff.

The talks covered topic such as what is the NGS?, getting started with the NGS and the NGS portal and job submission. There was also a presentation from one of our users – Jonathan Mitchell from the University of Leeds bravely stepped in after our original presenter couldn’t make it at the last minute. Jonathan talked about using NGS resources to understand the folding of DNA and showed some rather impressive animations.

The presentations created a great deal of discussion which carried over into lunch. There was plenty of NGS associated staff on hand to answer questions including David Wallom (NGS technical director), David Fergusson (NeSC Deputy Director of Training, Outreach and Education) and Hamza Mehammed (NeSC Senior Trainer). I was also there in my role as NGS Liaison Officer.

The feedback collected from the day was very positive with the majority of people planning on using NGS resources in the future as well as the majority of people planning on telling their colleagues etc about the NGS.

The NGS roadshow events are free to host as the NGS covers the cost of catering and staff travel. All the local institution has to do is book a room and help to advertise the event locally. The roadshows can be held just for the host institute or people from surrounding institutes can be invited as well. If you’d like to know more about the roadshows then please see the website or contact Gillian Sinclair, the NGS Liaison Officer (Gillian.sinclair(at)manchester.ac.uk).

Monday, 6 April 2009

Help shape the future of e-research!

Our colleagues at OMII-UK are organising a two-day Collaborations Workshop at NeSC in Edinburgh, starting on 30 April 2009.

Unlike most workshops, the agenda for this event is very flexible with attendees being able to suggest topics for discussion so that you can raise issues important to you and your research area.

On the day, break out groups will be scheduled to come up with solutions for topics through discussions in groups, the writing of new software or by getting existing components to work together. Topics will be examined for as long as required within the duration of the meeting (or beyond) - it is up to the group members to judge when an adequate conclusions has been drawn. The workshop will bring together OMII-UK staff, software developers, architects and users.

There will be regular reporting to the other attendees summarising what has been achieved, what is to be done next or whether a topic has been exhausted. Once a topic has been discussed, the group will migrate to a new topic or disband and join other groups after writing up a set of summary slides enumerating outcomes and possible future work.

For more information, registration and to register topics for discussion visit the event website.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Are you in the South West?

The NGS is holding a NGS roadshow event at the University of Bath on the 15th of April and this event is now open to everyone from any institution.

So if you are a PhD student looking for a way to speed up your research, a group leader with a research team looking for extra compute and data resources or someone who wants to know what on earth this "grid" thing is all about then come along!

The event lasts for a few hours including lunch and features presentations introducing the NGS and the services it provides including training. We are also pleased to say that 2 NGS users are also presenting at the event -

  • Narcis Fernandez-Fuentes also from the University of Leeds will present his work on in-silico drug screening on the NGS.
The event is free to attend but registration is required on the NGS website. Registration closes on Monday 6th May.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

No it's not an April Fool!

The more eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a change to our logo on our blog page. The NGS logo has been updated to coincide with our new funding allocation which officially started today (1st of April).

Over the forthcoming weeks you will see the new logo being implemented on all the NGS outreach mechanisms such as our Facebook group, Flickr account, Twitter etc not to mention NGS literature which is also undergoing a revamp. The NGS website has already been updated with our new banner logo.

The NGS will also be phasing out use of our full title (National Grid Service) so you will see the acronym used more and more over the forthcoming months.

If you need the new logo for use in presentations, posters etc then please visit the logo webpage where you can find all versions of the new logo. We hope you like the new logo – feedback is welcome!