Modern seismologists are presented with increasing amounts of data that may help them better understand the Earth's structure and systems. However: 1) they have to access these data from globally distributed sites via different transfer protocols and security mechanisms; 2) to analyse these data they need to access remote powerful computing facilities; 3) their experiments result in yet more data that need to be shared with scientific communities around the world.
In the vast majority of cases, the labourious tasks of data management, transfer and execution of scientific codes is handled manually by the scientist and on an ad hoc basis. This hinders seismologists from making full use of the data and tools they have at their disposal for scientific discovery.
The VERCE project is designing and developing a research platform to deliver a seismology community e-Infrastructure, an integrated computational and data environment that presents a coherent virtual environment in which to conduct research.
Actions and deliverables in VERCE are driven by two broad seismology use-cases, selected for being representative of resource usage in the designed infrastructure: 1) ambient noise cross-correlation and 2) forward modelling and inversion. Use-case 1 has inherent data-intensive characteristics, as it requires access to and orchestration of multiple, diverse data sources, combining files, web services, etc. Use-case 2 is less data-intensive but it requires combining data management and signal processing with processing on remote clusters and HPCs.
VERCE solutions are designed around a workflow representation paradigm, employing the stream-oriented Dispel workflow specification language. A VERCE-wide registry will provide specifications of Dispel programming and other research components throughout the infrastructure, while also accommodating research collaborations. Depending on the needs and specifications of the participating sites, VERCE will aim to support different execution engines, such as OGSA-DAI. All of the above will be made available to researchers in a transparent and unified way, through a Science Gateway backed up by data and resource discovery, meta-data and searching functionalities.
In order to meet its goals and objectives, while also creating a sustainable infrastructure that may eventually be part of EPOS - the European Plate Observing System, VERCE is actively collaborating with a number of initiatives and projects. As VERCE spans high-performance and high-throughput computing, represented by PRACE and EGI respectively, as well as it has demanding data management and discovery requirements, addressed by EUDAT, we are participating in a number of pilot case-studies within an EGI-PRACE-EUDAT synergy. In addition, we are collaborating with the SCI-BUS project, in order to analyse and meet our Science Gateway requirements while staying as flexible as possible with regards to middleware interoperability and workflow frameworks.