SURAgrid "All Hands" Meeting Notes

SURA DC Office, Conference Rooms A/B
1201 New York Ave., NW
* Washington, DC 20005
Conference Call attendance: 800-377-8846, Conf #69072307


Wednesday, March 14

  • UAB: John-Paul Robinson
  • GMU: Jibo Xie, Phil Yan, Bin Zhou
  • GSU: Art Vandenberg
  • UKY: Vikram Gazula
  • LSU: Steve Brandt, Archit Kulshrestha, Ole Weidner
  • UMD: Anthony Conto, David McNabb
  • UMich: Shawn McKee
  • ODU: Mahantesh Halappanavar, Mike Sachon
  • RENCI: Howard Lander
  • SURA: Linda Akli, Gary Crane, Sue Fratkin, Don Riley, Mary Fran Yafchak
  • TAMU: Steve Johnson
  • TU: Jerry Perez
  • UVA: Jim Jokl
  • Via phone: Victor Bolet/GSU, Nicole Geiger/GSU, Alan Sill/TTU

SAGA Tutorial
Ole Christian Weidner of LSU provided an overview of SAGA (Simple API for Grid Applications) as a concept and standard emerging from the OGF and also some hands-on exercises for downloading and installing a C++ reference implementation that is under development by LSU. The current reference implementation is functional for use at a local level, with Globus extensions actively underway. SAGA aims to provide a layer of abstraction to ease the development and deployment of grid applications, isolating the application developer and researcher from having to know details of the underlying grid middleware in order to make effective use of grid resources. It was noted that a SAGA tutorial could be a good addition to a future SURA grid workshop, particularly towards the end of this year and beyond as both the standard and implementations mature.


Thursday, March 15

SURAgrid governance & steps to implementation

Gary Crane and Art Vandenberg represented the SURAgrid Project Planning Working Group and summarized the development process and content for the current proposal: “A Proposal for SURAgrid Governance & Decision-Making Structure,” as distributed to the full SURAgrid community via the SURAgrid list on March 1. The upcoming voting/approval process was highlighted in particular, with discussion leading to additional clarifications that will be included in the document when sent for final approval the week following this All-Hands meeting. There was also some brief discussion about extending the date for the approval process but we ended up keeping it the same (voting deadline March 31) since the group has had multiple opportunities for feedback as the proposal was developed and will also have had the final version for a month prior.


SURAgrid Accounting


    • Map current processes & identify where the gaps are in tech and policy
    • Ask each site to provide accounting records in XML schema compliant with OGF Usage Record? (pull & convert data from local scheduler – many conversion utilities are already written)
    • Select accounting “package” (how to centrally ingest & serve XML data) for SURAgrid
    • [From PKI discussion on Friday: Supplement our understanding through a mini-survey of SURAgridr’s use of/interest in alternative authN/Z, such as Shibboleth, VOMS, MyVocs, others


SURA stack v3

We began working through the list of issues gathered since finalizing the current version of the stack, to determine if a next revision is needed sooner than later. This included a presentation from Jerry P and Alan Sill about the status of the TIGRE project, with specific focus on their stack and packaging, and how their work might be leveraged for SURAgrid. It was decided that we would at least add the TIGRE installer to the list of packages that are mentioned in SURAgrid user documentation as being successfully used to set up a resource compatible with SURAgrid. In addition, TTU offered their assistance if we have anyone who could work with them, to follow the process they went through with TIGRE and develop a packaged installer for SURAgrid. Nicole Geiger and Bin Zhou offered to work with Jerry; John-Paul and Archit offered to comment and test the installer once it’s available. We also agreed on some proposed adjustments to the initial requirements in the current stack but did not make it through all of the issues (see notes reference below). It was decided that the discussion would continue through a full group SURAgrid call as soon as fits in the overall call schedule. References:

SURAgrid Applications

Mary Fran explained the status of the various applications that are deployed or in the deployment pipeline. This was followed by demos of live applications. What we do for future applications support was not discussed due to lack of time. This will be scheduled for a future SURAgrid call.



We did not cover next steps with metascheduling for SURAgrid overall due to lack of time and also recognition that other topics that had been discussed thus far would keep us busy for the next few months (!). However, John-Paul did provide an overview of GridWay as a promising choice for metacheduler since it is now listed as “a Globus project, adhering to Globus philosophy and guidelines for collaborative development .” UAB has been previewing Gridway since the last SURAgrid All-Hands meeting (Sept. 06) and is currently using it to schedule resources for the Distributed BLAST application. SURAgrid resources that support Distributed BLAST (just ODU’s Mileva so far) are being scheduled alongside UAB resources using Gridway. John-Paul has also been doing some system administration of UAB resources via Gridway to see if it is robust enough for ongoing and broader use. We will plan for an update from him in early summer on Gridway’s potential utility for both local and SURAgrid use.


Friday, March 16

Perspectives on SURAgrid Within the National CI

Ed Seidel, Director, Center for Computation and Technology at LSU presented via video conference to provide some informed perspective on the role and positioning of SURAgrid within the national cyberinfrastructure. Highlights included: SURAgrid as a foundation for proposal development (similar to LONI), emphasis on the collaborative spirit of SURAgrid being a valuable asset, ability to leveraging network infrastructure in the region to build and extend SURAgrid, emphasis on finding niche application space for SURAgrid, e.g., event-driven applications such as within SCOOP, also grid-based collaborative education/instruction. References:

Next Steps in Two-tiered PKI

Jim Jokl brought the group up-to-date on the results of the PKI survey and plans based on that for what we might be able to do with limited funding while we seek more comprehensive support for a full-fledged tiered PKI. (“Two-tiered” shifting to just “Tiered” as we see that multiple levels of security could be supported.) Highlights of the discussion included:


SURAgrid Communications Planning

Linda Akli, new Application & Outreach Specialist for SURA, led the group through a review of the various communications tools that are currently in use across SURAgrid. Changes and suggestions were solicited in order to increase the efficiency of communications, ensure all of the right people are involved in discussions, and to identify ways to reduce the number of calls.

After discussing the use of listservs, it was agreed that Linda will do an analysis of the Resource Deployment and Applications Deployment listserv see if the same people are consistently participating in the discussions on both lists and see if the lists should be collapsed. Linda will present her findings and make a recommendation at the fall All Hands Meeting. In the interim, Linda and Mary Fran will add any missing participants to the lists.

The frequency of conference calls was discussed. It was agreed to try a monthly schedule for the SURAgrid project call on the condition that status updates were available twice a month via a “SURAgrid” newsletter that will be posted on the SURAgrid website. Linda will generate reminders for status from working group chairs, resource providers, applications contributors and others actively involved. The status updates will not be pushed to the community, but a notice when new status is posted will be sent out to the SURAgrid project listserv. A date was not set for transitioning to the monthly call with the bimonthly online status report. Working groups will continue to have calls as the work requires.

The frequency and timing of the face-to-face meetings was discussed. Some participants indicated that they needed to manage their travel budgets and if the schedule were known it would be easier to plan to attend. Meeting at other conferences was considered. There were drawbacks to adding additional days to other conferences that were already a week long. Additionally, not all SURAgrid members attend the same meetings. However, BOFs should be considered for these other meetings. Other meetings that can be leveraged with BOFs and other smaller gatherings are I2, Educause, OGG, and Supercomputing. Based on group consensus it was agreed that a fall meeting will be held in September and the spring meeting will be held in March. Though alternate locations were discussed, the anticipated meeting location will be the SURA offices in Washington, DC.

Discussion of coordinating participation of SURAgrid at SCO7 was facilitated by Sue Fratkin. Overall, the group was positive towards the idea of a SURAgrid organized co-promotion effort at SC07 to increase the visibility of SURAgrid and SURAgrid participants. Demos, presentations, and co-branding were discussed. (a) SURAgrid staff will develop an 8.5x11” brand that can be added exhibits to identify them as SURAgrid participants, similar to the branding I2 does with their members. (b) Presentation/demo times will be coordinated for inclusion of a SURAgrid presentation. It was debated whether this should be done at the same time in every booth or different times. The timing was left unresolved and will be explored further to identify what will have the maximum impact. A template or standard presentation needs to be developed. (c) Handouts that could be put at each booth include the application summaries and the SURAgrid one pager. Additional items discussed included having some type of cute give-away such as hats, magnets, or pens. It was agreed that Linda and Sue will take on the action items including follow-up via the SURAgrid listserv to obtain additional input.

Linda requests that any additional comments or suggestions on SURAgrid communications be sent to her at This discussion will be continued in a future call, tentatively scheduled for the April 9 call agenda.

© Copyright 2007 Southeastern Universities Research Association. All Rights Reserved.