It was an unusually sunny New England morning as I walked down the street Monday morning. I was on my way to this year's Open Science Grid All-Hands Meeting, and I hoped the sun would set the tone for the week-long meeting.
This year, the meeting is hosted by the Structural Biology Grid Virtual Organization, based out of Harvard Medical School. That's exciting for two reasons. First, because I see it as a milestone for a biology-focused VO to be big enough to host the meeting. And second, because I'm really enjoying the lovely architecture of the Harvard Medical campus!
I caught up with Piotrek Sliz, SBGrid's principal investigator, during a coffee break. I asked him what he was most looking forward to about the conference
"The most exciting thing is bridging the communities – physicists and biologists in the same building in the Boston medical area, something that maybe two years ago wouldn't be possible," he answered.
According to Sliz, many biology and medical researchers have never even heard of grid computing. That's why when they need computational power, they tend to turn to commercial providers such as Amazon's EC2 cloud. SBGrid regularly engages in outreach to those researchers.
As for the impact of hosting the AHM, the hope is that Thursday's five-hour workshop on using OSG for biologists will entice some new researchers to learn about grid computing.
The day's proceedings concluded with a security round-table moderated by Mine Altunay. Despite it's timing (5:30-6:30 p.m. on a day that began at 8:30 a.m.), the session drew an audience that filled up the room, according to Altunay.
"I'm really happy that the discussion was really genuine. People really talked and told us what their concerns are; they were really open about it," Altunay told me afterwards.
One of the major concerns that emerged during the round-table was the issue of site reputation. Site administrators, Altunay explained to me, often fear that if they report a security incident, it will damage their site's reputation. But without reported incidents, sites cannot learn from each others' experiences.
Stay tuned for tomorrows update -- and please feel free to comment with your thoughts about what was most interesting on Day 1, or post a link to slides from Day 1 presentations.