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Rapid: Giving Computational Science a Friendly Face

Rapid is a cost-effective and efficient way of designing and delivering portal interfaces to tasks that require remote compute resources. The aim of Rapid is to make completing these tasks as simple as purchasing a book or booking a flight on the web.

The philosophy of Rapid is to deliver customised graphical user interfaces that enable domain specialists to achieve their tasks. These tasks make use of domain-specific applications that run on remote compute resources; a requirement which is satisfied by translating the task into one or several computational jobs to be performed on Grid and Cloud Computing infrastructures, and High-Performance Computing facilities.

Customised interfaces allow tasks to be performed without referring to terminology about the underlying computational infrastructure. Moreover, the system allows to expose particular features of applications as not to overwhelm the user.

Where to start
Have a look at what Rapid can produce in the form of a video. If you like it, then have a look at a short video that explains how to install Rapid and deliver your first portal. Move on to the basic tutorial and finally, consult the manual to unlock advanced features.

Relevant files and media

Funding and support
The development and application of Rapid is funded by EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC, JISC, ENGAGE (JISC) and OMII-UK (EPSRC)

Rapid News

Screencast: Rapid Portals for Seismological Waveform Data

Welcome to the RapidSeis demo. This portal was created using Rapid and enables the use of Seismic Data eXplorer within the web portal of the Network of Research Infrastructures for European Seismology.

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Rapid chemistry portals through engaging researchers

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talk

In this study, we apply a methodology for rapid development of portlets for scientific computing to the domain of computational chemistry. We report results in terms of the portals delivered, the changes made to our methodology and the experience gained in terms of interaction with domain-specialists.

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Thursday, 10 December, 2009 - 11:00
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IEEE e-Science 2009, Oxford, UK
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Tutorial for Rapid

This brief tutorial covers the installation of Rapid and the components it depends on. It explains how to get a simple portlet running and then increases the complexity of this portlet to include more functionality by exploiting Rapid's features.

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RapidSeis Workshop

At the meeting we will present the result of the RapidSeis project, a collaboration between ORFEUS, the UK National e-Science Centre and the University of Liverpool. Over the past six months, this project has created a system that facilitates running waveform analysis on data from ORFEUS where the computation is performed on remote compute resources provided by the University of Liverpool.

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Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK
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12 Nov 2009 to 13 Nov 2009
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Rapid portals improve teaching in practical sessions

Written by Nick Funnel (2nd year PhD in the School of Chemistry).

The lab has been much easier to teach this year.

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Apache's Virtual File system is part of Rapid's architecture

Apache's Virtual File system helped us to access different file systems transparently. The Rapid project implemented a new 'GSIFTP' (Grid Security Infrastructure File Transfer Protocol) module, which adds Grid connectivity to the set of supported file systems. This sub-project of Rapid, spawned the commons-vfs-grid module (http://sourceforge.net/projects/commonsvfsgrid/) which now supports GSIFTP, SRB (Storage Resource Broker) and iRods (https://www.irods.org).

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Unit-testing code is especially important in code-generating projects

The use of testing frameworks, such as Junit is extremely valuable. It takes quite a bit of discipline to write new unit tests for each new piece of 'real' code that is written, but the benefits in the end in terms of stability, confidence and debugging make the extra overhead more than worth it. This is especially useful in a project such as Rapid, where code is being generated. Testing in the 'traditional' way, by examining or running generated code is extremely difficult and by using testing frameworks we can actually determine correctness of Rapid, before running any generated code.

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Apache's Maven for management of code structure?

Apache's Maven project management tool (http://www.apache.org) helped the Rapid team structure code modules in a 'standardised' way. It helps managing dependencies and facilitates distributing the final product as dependencies are automatically downloaded and do not need to be packaged separately. However, the learning curve is rather steep and even now we sometimes have to go back to ANT (http://ant.apache.org/) to accomplish certain tasks.

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Rapid prevents a disaster in the classroom

For the first time, chemists at the University of Edinburgh are using a portal developed with Rapid to teach 140 undergraduates computational chemistry.

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Flyer for Rapid

Download the flyer for Rapid, which explains in brief and non-technical terms how it works.

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