Scientific Cloud Computing Center of Excellence
Cloud computing provides a High Performance Computing (HPC) environment for running computation-intensive applications. This would help researchers conduct research in a fraction of time needed on a single computer. The cloud also provides platforms and software applications including these needed to process big data. These resources are provided on-demand as configurable elastic physical or virtual services matching the need of different users. The cloud, thus, provides a method for expensive resource sharing so as not to be doubled and allows researchers to pay per use. Meanwhile it is capable of isolating different workloads.
The High Performance Computing team at ERI would like to establish a scientific cloud computing center of excellence. The goals of this center is to enhance the expertise of the research team in cloud computing. The team members would study and explore the suitability of different HPC infrastructure.
Several scientific research problems would be tackled by the cloud. Further, research studies would be conducted aiming at developing a commercial software middleware prototype with enhanced features and capabilities suitable for different communities. The expertise gained by the team members would allow the center of excellence to be ultimately capable of serving the scientific community at different research centers and universities in Egypt.
The growing demand for computing power is accelerating the need for High Performance Computing (HPC) and Cloud Computing as some of the scientific applications involve the construction of mathematical models and numerical solution techniques to solve scientific, social scientific and engineering problems. These models often require a huge number of computing resources to perform large scale experiments or to cut down the computational complexity into a reasonable time frame. Examples of these applications include Health applications (Liver diseases, Cardiac diseases, Renal diseases, Cancer, Stem Cell and Human Genetics research), Industry applications (Textile, Biotechnology and metallurgical industries), Pharmaceutical Industries (Bioactive substances, Drug discovery, Preclinical and Clinical trials), Theoretical physics, Mathematics, Space, Water desalination and Solid waste management.
The scientific cloud computing center of excellence will offer the Egyptian researchers a variety of services covering the entire computing stack, from the hardware to the application level, by charging them on a pay per use basis. Another important feature, from which scientists can benefit, is the ability to scale up and down the computing infrastructure according to the application requirements and the budget of users. By using Cloud based technologies scientists can have easy access to large distributed infrastructures and completely customize their execution environment, thus providing the perfect setup for their experiments.
ERI is committed to provide the Scientific Cloud Computing Center, funded by STDF, with all the needed facilities, administrative support, infrastructure and accessibility to all central core facilities available at the host institution, and whenever possible monetary support, to enable the center to implement its unique role as a leading national center of excellence in the field. The ERI is also committed to make the central core research facilities of this center accessible to all Egyptian researchers in governmental research institutions and universities for free or with minimal costs only, as needed for maintenance and keeping the equipment in good operating conditions.
Applied research, knowledge transfer, National and international cooperation partners:
The Scientific Cloud Computing Center is the first of kind that explores the cooperation between two major Egyptian scientific research centers to serve the Egyptian community. The Electronics Research Institute (ERI) cooperates with Scientific City for Researches in Burj Al-Arab (SRTA) to introduce the scientific cloud computing center to serve the research community in Egypt. We have two identical centers in ERI and Scientific City for Researches to introduce a disaster recovery. The disaster recovery idea will depend on operating the two centers and not to set one of them as an idle center. The two centers will backup each other. This idea will save money for the Egyptian Government by presenting a sharing infrastructure, platform and software and their backup.
The scientific cloud computing center can be used for the applied research with many ways. This center can provide many services to the scientists such as a) virtual machines with different operating systems needed by scientists for their research; b) tools and compilers such as: MATLAB, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft office, MPI, OpenMPI, Mathematica, C++, Java, Python, Fortran, and Cuda; c) installing packages or tools needed by served community; and d) providing the served community with Mail Servers and Data Centers.
Moreover, the scientific cloud computing center can offer different HPC infrastructure such as Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and cluster nodes for intensive data scientific problems.